Finishing the job
Hartselle wins River City Classic after falling in the title game last year
Justin Schuver and Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
DECATUR – Not even David had to slay two Goliaths on the same day.
Hartselle (14-4) defeated Vestavia Hills 60-46 Thursday night to win the Decatur River City Classic. The Lady Tigers knocked off Clay-Chalkville 41-40 earlier that day to advance to the final game.
Hartselle defeated Bradley Central (Tenn.) and Tanner in earlier round games.
With the victory in the 16-team tournament, the Lady Tigers proved they can compete with anybody in the state. Vestavia Hills entered the tournament as the No. 5 team in Class 6A, while Clay-Chalkville was No. 4 in Class 6A – Hartselle entered the tournament unranked, though that will probably change.
"There aren't too many times you get the chance to knock off two ranked teams in Class 6A on the same day," Hartselle coach Greg Adams said. "I thought we really played extremely good defense in both games. We've made it our priority that defense is where we're going to get it done."
In the championship game, Hartselle's defense held the Lady Rebels to just 26.3 percent shooting from the field, negating the fact that Vestavia Hills attempted 20 more shots than the Lady Tigers. Hartselle shot 51.4 percent from the field.
"We had better shot attempts than them, and we executed better when we had to," Adams said. "We knew who their scorers were and who we had to defend, and I think we did a good job of that. There was really only one time tonight where I thought we let up on the defensive effort."
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 27-19 lead at halftime and opened up the third quarter with a 5-0 run before Vestavia Hills started to roar back. With 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, Jordan McDonald hit a shot to pull the Lady Rebels to within four.
Hartselle proved its mettle down the stretch, outscoring Vestavia Hills 14-4 in the remainder of the game. The Lady Tigers were 10-of-14 from the free-throw line in that time span.
Shan Jones, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, led the team with 17 points including 14 in the first half. She also led the Lady Tigers with eight rebounds and played in all 32 minutes of the contest.
"I have great teammates. We're never too keyed in on who's scoring or who's shooting," Jones said. "We have the same reaction when we win, no matter who's the high scorer.
"I really think anybody on our team could have gotten the MVP tonight, because we played like a team and everyone played their hearts out."
The game was also a personal retribution for Jones, who injured her ACL in the final game of last year's River City Classic and missed the remainder of the 2004-05 season.
Mary Virginia Reeves and Jessica Andrews each scored 13 points for Hartselle, while Lauren Drake added 11.
Andrea Taylor scored 12 points to lead Vestavia Hills, which lost just its second game of the year. Elizabeth Robertson had 11 points for the Lady Rebels.
Jones, Drake and Reeves were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Hartselle girls 41
Clay-Chalkville girls 40
The Lady Tigers trailed 33-27 after three quarters before rallying for a victory in the semifinals of the Decatur River City Classic Thursday morning.
Shan Jones scored 15 points to lead Hartselle and added 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double.
Mary Virginia Reeves added 14 points for the Lady Tigers.
Siera Dority's 16 points led Clay-Chalkville, who fell to 14-3.
Hartselle girls 62
Bradley Central (Tenn.) girls 54
The Lady Tigers shot 50 percent from the three-point line as they cruised to victory in the second round of the River City Classic Dec. 28. Hartselle attempted 18 shots from behind the arc and made nine of them.
Shan Jones had 20 points to lead Hartselle, followed by Lauren Drake with 15 and Anna Reeves with 12. Mary Virginia Reeves had 13 rebounds to lead the Lady Tigers.
Hartselle improved to 12-4 and moved on to face Clay-Chalkville in the semifinals of the Classic.
Hartselle girls 51
Tanner girls 44
Hartselle's Lady Tigers advanced to the second round of the River City Classic by defeating Tanner's Lady Rattlers 51-44 in an opening round game Dec. 27.
Hartselle (11-4) led 10-5 midway in the first period and held a 10-8 edge after one period. Tanner (11-3) prevailed in the second period and held a 24-22 advantage at halftime.
Lauren Drake put Hartselle up for good with a lay-up as time in the third period expired.
"We scored early and got ahead then we went seven minutes without scoring," Adams said. "We knew going in that we could get inside but it took awhile for us to get the timing down on passes from the perimeter.
"We did what we had to do to win but we sure didn't play well."
Drake paced the Lady Tigers by scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Shan Jones followed with 17 points and seven rebounds and Mary Virginia Reeves added nine points.
Whitney Mayberry paced Tanner with 17 points while Cecily Woods added 11 points.