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Priceville overcomes foul trouble to beat Hartselle

Priceville coach Darrell Haynes wasn’t sure how his team would respond on Saturday against Hartselle.

His team had just earned two tough wins to clinch home court advantage in the area tournament and was playing its third game in five days.

However, his Bulldog team showed that focus and toughness down the stretch as Priceville (17-2, 5-0) pulled away from Hartselle to win 66-47 Saturday night.

“I was really pleased with the way we played tonight,” Haynes said. “It was a big week for us having two area games. I didn’t know what to expect, but our guys were focused and really played well. It’s always good to beat Hartselle and it’s a good win for us.”

The key moment of the game occurred early in the third quarter, when center Michael Varner had to sit with four fouls. The Bulldogs led 29-24. When Varner picked up two fouls in the first half and headed to the bench, Hartselle went on a 10-1 run to open the second quarter. The Bulldogs were held to just one field goal and 5 points in the second stanza.

This time, John Hawkins took over the game, scoring 25 of his 28 points in the second half. He hit 5 of 6 3-pointers and 7 of 9 from the free throw line.

“John Hawkins really stepped it up in the second half especially when Michael Varner got in foul trouble,” Haynes said. “The main difference between the first half and second half is that we just settled down and took care of the basketball. We wanted to limit the number of possessions and shorten the game. We really played well from that point on.”

Despite only playing 14 minutes, Varner scored 17 points and collected 8 rebounds. Matt Teague added 7 points and four assists followed by Tyler Hinkle with 4, Cody Gibbs with 4, Chance Ellsworth with 2 and Chris McNutt with 2. The Bulldogs shot almost 60 percent for the game.

Hartselle was led by Preston Adams with 17 points followed by Aaron Wooley with 10, Timbo Slaten with 10, Phillip Summerford with 7, Alex Pettey with 2 and Thomas Flieschman with 1.

Priceville 49, Fairview 47

The Bulldogs edged the home-standing Aggies to clinch home court advantage in the area tournament.

Hawkins led the team with 17 points followed by Hinkle with 10, Varner with 10, Ellsworth with 5, Derrick Couch with 4 and Teague with 3.

The Bulldogs will try to finish area play undefeated with a road game at Good Hope on Friday.

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