Tigers battle from behind to get area win over Decatur

HARTSELLE – Ryan Dunn scored a career-high 26 points and led the Tigers to a fourth-quarter rally that turned Decatur’s eight-point lead into a nine-point victory for Hartselle.

“I am extremely proud of the effort of our guys,” Hartselle coach Faron Key said. “We didn’t play great tonight but we have some guys who want to be champions in that locker room. They have big hearts and were able to dig deep and find it tonight. We didn’t close the deal on Friday night but tonight was kind of flipped-flopped and reversed.”

Dunn and Smothers each scored two baskets in the game’s first three and a half minutes to give the Tigers an 8-2 lead. However, Decatur responded with a 13-3 run to close the first quarter. The Red Raiders to a 15-11 lead into the second quarter.

After Decatur extended their lead to 17-11 to start the quarter, Dunn scored four points to cut the deficit to 17-15. The Red Raiders reeled off six straight points to push their lead to 23-15 with 2:27 left before halftime. Kohl Key’s basket ended the Decatur run and made the score 23-17. Decatur responded with a three-pointer, taking a 26-17 lead into halftime.

Smothers opened the third quarter with a bucket to cut the lead to 26-19 just 15 seconds into the third quarter. Decatur controlled the pace throughout the game, especially at the start of the third quarter. Key cut the Red Raiders’ lead to 26-22 with a deep three-pointer midway through the quarter. Decatur extended their lead to 29-24 over the next couple of minutes before a Dunn basket cut the lead back to three, 29-26. The Red Raiders outscored Hartselle 7-5 over the final couple of minutes of the third quarter to take a 36-31 lead into the fourth quarter.

Decatur opened the final quarter with a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 43-35 with 4:42 remaining. Key ended the Red Raiders’ run with a three-pointer that started the Tigers’ fourth-quarter comeback. Dunn then added a basket and a free throw to cut the Decatur lead to 43-41 with 2:43 left. After a missed front end of a one & one by Decatur, Dunn responded with the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer from about 23 feet, to give the Tigers their first lead since early in the first quarter. Thomas Itsede made a steal near mid-court and drove for a basket, and he was fouled. His free throw extended the Hartselle lead to 47-43 with 1:45 left. Key then made three of four free throws to push the lead to 50-43, the Tigers’ largest lead of the game. After a Decatur basket cut the lead to 50-45 with 30.8 left, Dunn and Key, each hit two free throws to make the final score 54-45.

“I challenged the team at halftime to play better in the second half,” Key said. “They showed in the fourth quarter what they are capable of, and that got us the win.”

Dunn finished with 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line to lead Hartselle (11-9, 1-1).

“I tried to do what I needed to do tonight to help my team win. But I could not have done this without them,” Dunn said. “We were tough enough and did enough to get the win.”

Kohl Key added 14 points and four rebounds, while Smothers had six points. Kiah Key had six rebounds and two blocks. Markus Tapscott added three points and two blocks.

Ellis Dickman led Decatur (9-9, 0-1) with 16 points and Jayden Brown added nine.

Hartselle 80, East Limestone 56

The Tigers (12-9) used a third-quarter run to break open a close game in their 80-56 win over East Limestone.

Hartselle led 35-31 at halftime but outscored the Indians 25-8 in the third quarter to take a 60-39 lead into the final quarter.

Kiah Key finished with 16 points and eight rebounds to lead five Hartselle players who scored in double digits. Rylan Smothers and Ty Odom added 14 points each, while Kohl Key and Ryan Dunn had 12 points each. Smothers and Dunn each had five rebounds. Dawson seal added seven points.

Muscle Shoals 71, Hartselle 56

Hartselle dropped a 71-56 game on the road at Muscle Shoals to close the week. The Trojans outscored the Tigers, who led 14-11 after the first quarter, 22-10 in the second to take a 33-24 lead into halftime.

Ryan Dunn finished with 13 points and three assists to lead Hartselle. Rylan Smothers and Ty Odom each added 12 points, while Kiah Key had nine points. Smothers added eight rebounds while Kohl Key pulled down six..

Luke Mosley led Muscle Shoals with 14 points. Jamir Goodloe scored 12, while Cedric Summerhill added 11.

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