Recaps of early-round action
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Friday night games:
Brewer girls 59
Priceville girls 42
Nichole Hayes had 18 points to lead Brewer (15-10) as they advanced to the final game of the Morgan County Basketball Tournament with a dominating win over Priceville Friday night.
Andrea Crawford added 16 points for Brewer and Meagen Hormel finished with a double-double after scoring 13 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.
The Lady Patriots have historically dominated the Morgan County Basketball Tournament, winning eight of the last nine championship trophies.
Brewer and Hartselle split their regular season matches, with each team winning at home.
Jessi Smith led Priceville (15-7) with 10 points in a losing effort.
West Morgan boys 52
Danville boys 47
Dan Seibert scored 13 points to lead West Morgan past Danville and into the finals of the boys varsity division of the Morgan County Basketball Tournament.
The Rebels trailed 20-16 at halftime but came back to knock the Hawks out of the tournament.
Stratton Garner led Danville (11-10) with 14 points. Chris Vest finished with 10 points and Zack Orr added nine for the Hawks.
Thursday night games:
Hartselle girls 64
Danville girls 38
Four Hartselle players broke double figures as the Lady Tigers disposed of Danville Thursday night at the Morgan County Tournament.
Mary Virginia Reeves led the Lady Tigers with 14 points, Shan Jones had 13 and Anna Reeves and Lauren Drake each finished with 10 points each.
Hartselle, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, showed why it is worthy of its ranking with a dominating performance. After being tied 6-6 late in the first quarter, the Lady Tigers charged ahead with a 6-0 run to close out the final minute and never again trailed.
Hartselle (19-5) led 34-19 at halftime and 49-27 after three quarters.
Alaina Fitzgerald had 12 points for Danville (12-10) and Bethany Evans finished with 10 for the Lady Hawks.
Brewer boys 71
Falkville boys 46
Brewer (14-10) showed it was more than a one-man team Thursday night as the Patriots cruised to a 71-46 win over Falkville in second-round action at the Morgan County Tournament.
Matt Neilsen, who came into the game as the Patriots' leading scorer, was held to seven points but his teammates picked up the scoring duties. Four Patriots scored in double figures – Rusty Boyd with 14, Tyler Shelton with 13, Alex Brown with 12 and Brandon Franks with 11.
"We had other guys step up and hit shots and make plays for us," Brewer coach Sam Brown said. "That's really the beauty of how we're playing right now; it's not a one-man team. We're really doing a good job of distributing the ball lately."
Brewer, the defending Morgan County champion, led Falkville 13-11 after one quarter before opening the second quarter on a 7-0 run. Nielsen hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Patriots an eight-point lead at the half.
The defense stepped up in the second half of the game, holding the Blue Devils to 18 points in the last 16 minutes of play. Heath Alford, who led Falkville with 17 points, scored just four in the second half.
"I think the key in what we tried to do was make (Falkville) shoot over the top of us," Brown said. "We're long and we're tall and we were letting them get around us a bunch in the first half. We tried to contain them more in the second half and force them to shoot over us and it worked well."
Thomas Holt added 14 points in the loss for Falkville (13-7).
Tuesday night games:
Brewer boys 75
Priceville boys 59
When the game was over, the student section started chanting "three-peat" to signify Brewer's third victory over Priceville this season. They'd love to chant "repeat," as well, if the Patriots make it all the way to the county championship once again.
Brewer's Matt Nielsen led the way with 29 points, including 23 in the first half, as the Patriots took advantage a raucous home crowd to move past the first round of the Morgan County Basketball Tournament Tuesday night. The Patriots are the defending boys county champion.
"We're playing a lot better the last six or seven games," Brewer coach Sam Brown said. "Obviously as Matt Neilsen goes, so we go, but we played really good around him. Everybody played solid tonight.
"Priceville's difficult to defend and I think we did a pretty good job there."
The Bulldogs' Josh Bedwell had a game-high 37 points in the loss, a game in which Priceville found itself down 38-24 at halftime.
Nielsen was deadly from the three-point line in the first half, finishing 5-of-8 including a three-pointer right at the buzzer before halftime. He was slowed considerably in the second half of play, but other Patriots stepped up. Brandon Franks nailed two three-pointers in a row in the third quarter to give Brewer a 53-32 lead, its largest lead of the game.
"One thing that we do have is other guys that can make shots and score if teams are keying on Matt," Brown said.
Priceville never could get the lead below 14 points in the second half as the Bulldogs were eliminated from the tournament. Alex Cannon added 10 points for Priceville and the Patriots' Rusty Boyd finished with 12, including a dunk in the fourth quarter that energized the Brewer faithful.
West Morgan boys 40
Hartselle boys 38 (OT)
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 responsibility 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.
Monday night games:
Danville girls 36
Falkville girls 35
Lauren Simmons scored eight points and collected eight rebounds to lead the Lady Hawks to a 36-35 win over Falkville in first-round action at the Morgan County Basketball Tournament Monday night.
Alaina Fitzgerald had seven points and pulled down eight rebounds for Danville (12-9). Kristen Sparkman had six rebounds and Bethany Evans finished with five assists.
Emily Dabbs scored a game-high 11 points in a losing effort for Falkville (11-7).
Brewer girls 82
West Morgan girls 28
Three players had at least 17 points as Brewer rocked West Morgan in a first-round game at the Morgan County Basketball Tournament Monday night.
Andrea Crawford scored 18 for the Lady Patriots and both Genie Browning and Nichole Hayes finished with 17.
Meagan Hormel led Brewer (14-10) with 11 rebounds followed by Nicole Lavender with 10 boards.
Shay Johnson scored eight points to lead West Morgan.