West Morgan boys 40, Hartselle boys 38 (OT)
Berry: "Hurt" after overtime loss to West Morgan
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
For whatever reason, wins have been hard to come by this season for the Hartselle Tigers.
The Tigers fell in overtime to West Morgan 40-38 Tuesday night in the first round of the Morgan County Basketball Tournament at Brewer High School. Hartselle (2-21) held the Rebels to just nine points in the second half, but could not muster the offense needed to win the game.
A visibly sullen Hartselle coach Johnny Berry summed up the team's feelings in one word.
"Hurt. We're just hurt," he said. "I see the pain on these guys' faces and I know how hard they work and I know that they never quit. I hurt for them; I want them to win so bad and I want to do everything in my power to help them get that winning feeling."
The Tigers led 11-9 after one quarter and held a one-point lead at the halftime break. Hartselle held West Morgan to only four points in the third quarter, but managed just six points of its own in that same quarter.
Hartselle maintained a one-point lead with 2:30 remaining in the game when West Morgan's Rod Goodlow hit one-of-two free throws. The Rebels took their first lead of the contest on a field goal by Andrew Elliott with 1:59 remaining that made the score 33-32.
Jackson Holmes connected on two free throws to put Hartselle back in front 34-33 and West Morgan's Dan Seibert hit one of two free throws with 1:25 left to tie the game at 34.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Hartselle dribbled the ball out of bounds and possession returned to West Morgan. The Rebels failed to score, sending the game into overtime.
Two Holmes free throws gave Hartselle an early 36-34 lead in the extra period, but West Morgan rattled off six unanswered points to take a 40-36 lead with 41.7 seconds remaining.
The Tigers had a chance late, after Victor Stansberry hit a field goal with 10 seconds remaining to bring Hartselle within two. West Morgan's Blake Blacklidge missed two free throws and Hartselle collected the rebound with a chance to tie the game or win it with a three-pointer.
But Justin Billings missed on a leaning jump shot and Johnny Jones failed in his put-back attempt at the buzzer as West Morgan held on for the victory.
"Defensively I can't ask for anything better than what I got tonight," Berry said. "But for whatever reason we've had trouble scoring all season. I take full responsibilty for the offensive end of the floor and it's obvious that we're struggling, but I'm not going to blame our kids – it goes back to me."
Tyler Young led Hartselle with 13 points. Stansberry and Holmes finished with six each.
West Morgan advances to face Danville Friday at 7:30 p.m.