HANCEVILLE — Hatton’s boys basketball hadn’t been to a Northwest Regional tournament since 2004. The Hornets liked Tuesday’s trip so much they decided to hang around for another game.
Hatton scored 40 points in the second half to break away from Cold Springs for a 62-41 victory in the opening round of the Class 2A boys Northwest Regional tournament at Wallace State-Hanceville on Tuesday.
The prize for advancing will be a fourth meeting with top-ranked Tanner on Friday. The Hornets (19-8) are 0-3 against the Rattlers. But that’s for another day. On Tuesday, it was about Ty Terry and Laron Cooper combining for 43 points, most coming in the paint, as Hatton hit 14 of 16 shots in the second half to pull away.
“Obviously it was a big game for Hatton. We haven’t been here since 2004,” coach Rusty Murks said. “The plan coming in was to contain No. 1 (Chayse Elliott) and No. 3 (Triston Chambers). Defense and rebounding have kind of been the focal point of our team all year. Jake Bradford did a great job on No. 1 and (Cooper, Terry) kind of take care of the boards and do most of the scoring for us.”
Cooper hit 8 of 10 shots and scored nine points in each half to finish with 18. Terry got cranked up in the second half, scoring 22 of his game-high 25 points. He added 12 rebounds.
Hatton fell behind 8-2 in the first quarter before answering with a 9-0 run to take the lead. But it wasn’t until the third quarter they found their rhythm. Terry scored 13 points as Hatton outscored Cold Springs 20-5 to take a 42-27 lead.
Terry converted only 1 of 6 shots in the first half, but hit all seven field goal attempts after halftime.
“We didn’t feel like they had anyone who could match up with (Terry, Cooper) and we told our guards to be patient and eventually we’d get the look we wanted,” Murks said.
Terry was unstoppable after halftime.
“I just had to find my shot because it wasn’t falling in the first half,” Terry said. “I found it and it turned out for the best.”
Cold Springs coach Tim Burleson’s worst fears were confirmed when Hatton started going inside.
“I knew that was going to be a difficult situation,” he said. (Cooper) is such a high-energy guy and he works hard. The plan was to double him once it went to the low block. He pretty much carried them in the first quarter.
“(Terry) plays out on the perimeter some and we thought we could match up some with him on the perimeter and we’d have more problems with (Cooper) on the block.”
Burleson also said Hatton’s defense was better than he anticipated.
“The games I saw they played a sagging man defense,” he said. “They came out and got up in us and created some problems for us. They frustrated us.”
Bradford keyed the defensive effort that held Cold Springs to 33 percent shooting. Elliott, a UAH signee, scored 15 points on 19 shots. Layne Rice added 13 points. Cold Springs was outrebounded 34-20 by the Hornets.
“They are real sound on the defensive end,” Elliott said. “They caused us a lot of trouble bringing the ball up the floor. They played awfully hard, too. They made us work hard for shots.”
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