Danville boys and girls sweep Priceville in close games
Justin Schuver and Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Danville High School's Hawks and Lady Hawks fought off stiff competition from Priceville's Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs on the road Thursday, Nov. 17, to get their seasons off to a successful start.
The Hawks prevailed 52-47 thanks to clutch free throw shooting in the fourth quarter. They were ahead 13-7 after one period, 26-25 at the half and 39-37 after three periods.
The Lady Hawks overcame an eight-point third quarter deficit to pick up their first win of the season, 58-55. They were tied 15-all after one period, down 28-32 at halftime and 37-45 after three quarters.
Danville's scheduled season-opening games against Hatton Nov. 15 were cancelled because of threatening weather conditions.
"We were glad to get the win," Hawks head coach Robert Pope said. "They're one of our rivals and it's always tough to go on the roads to play them."
"We got a lead at the end, held the ball and put the game on the foul line," he stated. "Our ability to take advantage of that was the difference in the game.
"I thought we played hard on defense.
"We're playing different people in different positions and trying to come together as a team. Hopefully, we have made a step in that direction."
Danville and Priceville played neck and neck to the very end, when Tyree Murphy went to the free-throw line with a one-and-one situation and the Hawks leading 49-47 with a minute left. Murphy missed the front end of the one-and-one, but made a hustle play to get to the loose rebound.
The Hawks' point guard was fouled once again, putting Danville in the double bonus where Murphy made one-of-two free throws. A late three-pointer by Priceville's Josh Bedwell rattled off the rim and Danville hung on for the victory.
"That play was huge," Pope said of Murphy's rebound of his missed free throw. "Tyree is a hustler. He's an athlete. He'll go after it and keep going."
Senior forward/guard Chris Vest led the Hawks in scoring with 20 points. Stratton Orr added 11 points and led his team in rebounds with seven. Drew Osborne added eight points and Murphy had five assists to lead his team in that category.
Priceville's Bedwell led all scorers with 27 points including five three-pointers. Marco Benetti, an exchange student from Italy and a varsity newcomer, scored 10 points.
Lady Hawks head coach Robbie Smith, who was ejected from the game six minutes into the second half for arguing with officials, described her team's performance as "a super win over a very good ball team."
The Lady Hawks grabbed its first lead of the second half with about two minutes showing on the scoreboard clock and sealed the win on a lay-up with one second left.
"It was a tremendous defensive effort," Smith said, "and our post players did a good job of rebounding.
"We need to work at being more patient on offense and handling other teams' full-court pressure."
The Lady Hawks trailed 40-29 with six minutes left in the game after Priceville sunk a technical free throw after Smith was ejected from the game.
The ejection seemed to spark Danville's team, as the Lady Hawks came back and held on for the close victory.
Danville led just 53-51 with 40 seconds left, but the Lady Hawks managed a steal and Alaina Fitzgerald was fouled. Fitzgerald knocked down both free throws to help put the game out of reach.
Bethany Evans paced the Lady Hawks in scoring with 22 points. She also had four assists.
Fitzgerald followed with nine points and had five rebounds, Magen Linderman scored seven points and pulled down five rebounds and Lauren Simmons had six points and seven rebounds.
Jessie Smith led Priceville with 19 points.
Sumer Boyd and Adrianna Delatorre had nine and seven points, respectively.