Itsede’s Buzzer-beater leads Hartselle to area championship game

Sophomore Thomas Itsede hit the biggest shot of his career in the Tigers’ 51-50 win over Muscle Shoals to start the area tournament. He hit a 30-foot three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give Hartselle the come-from-behind win.

The Tigers fell behind 12-2 to start the game and trailed 19-7 following the first quarter; however, Hartselle started a comeback by outscoring the Trojans 13-8 in the second quarter to trail 27-20 at halftime.

The Hartselle defense held Muscle Shoals to two points in the third quarter, as the Tigers offense put up 15 points to grab a 35-29 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The teams battled back and forth in the final quarter, with the Trojans grabbing a 48-46 lead with less than a minute to go. After the Tigers tied the game at 48-48, Muscle Shoals retook the lead at 50-48 following a Hartselle turnover. Just 10 seconds remained in the game.

The Tigers inbounded the ball to Ryan Dunn, who dribbled up the sideline as time was running out. The Trojans double-teamed him as he got the ball in front of the Hartselle bench. He found the wide-open Itsede with a pass in the middle of the court.

Itsede released the ball and found nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, with the Tigers getting the 51-50 win.

Dunn finished with 13 points and three assists to lead Hartselle (17-14). Luke Ward added 11 points, while Kiah Key had nine points, nine rebounds and four assists. Itsede finished with seven points.

AREA CHAMPIONSHIP

Cullman 64, Hartselle 48

The Tigers came up short in the area championship game, falling 64-48 to Cullman.

Kiah Key hit four three-pointers in the first half and finished with 15 points in helping the Tigers stay close to the Bearcats. Hartselle trailed 38-37 at halftime. Kohl Key hit two three-pointers.

The Cullman defense stiffened up in the second half, and the Bearcats held Hartselle to 11 points, pulling away for the 64-48 win. The Tigers scored five in the third and six in the fourth.

Kiah Key finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals to lead Hartselle (17-15). Kohl Key added nine points and three steals. Dunn had five points and four assists. Itsede and Dominic Simmons added five points each.

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