Tigers fall in overtime; Rodgers injures ankle
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
By game's end, even the opposing student sections had run out of lines to shout back and forth at each other.
The Cullman Bearcats came in to the Pettey Center and stole a win from Hartselle Tuesday night, beating the Tigers 56-54 in double overtime.
But, it was much more than just a loss for Hartselle, as leading scorer and rebounder Keith Rodgers sprained – and possibly tore a ligament – in the fourth quarter after hitting a lay up. Rodgers even remembered the player's name his ankle rolled on.
"I just went up for the shot and came down on (Cullman's) Zayne Smith," Rodgers said. The junior watched overtime from the front row of the Hartselle student section. "I just wanted to be out there to help my team."
Rodgers led Hartselle in points with 19, while Samuel Massey, who averages 17 points per outing, struggled to just four points.
It was Massey's two free throws, though, that gave Hartselle a 43-39 advantage with 1:59 remaining in the contest. However, Cullman's Joseph McPhillips and Ben Nobrega hit four free throws down the stretch to knot the contest at 43-all at the end of regulation.
Hartselle's Adam Cryer had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but his floater rolled off the front edge of the rim.
In the first overtime, Hartselle led by two with 13.8 seconds remaining when Massey stepped to the line to possibly ice the game for the Tigers. Both of his free throws were off the mark, though, and McPhillips hit a jumper as time expired to send the contest into double overtime.
Turnovers proved costly in the double overtime, as Hartselle twice had chances to tie the game late in 2OT but turned it over both times.
Eric Norwood scored 11 points for the Tigers, while senior Adam Cryer added nine.
For the game, Hartselle was 14 of 24 on free throws, while Cullman hit 17 of 37.
It's Hartselle's fouth consecutive loss, as the Tigers fell Bradshaw and Muscle Shoals last week after being knocked out of the SportsMed Shootout the week before. Hartselle is 5-6 and 1-1 in Area 15.