HARTSELLE — Both teams jumped into the game at full speed, but scoring was the difference that put Decatur High over the top in the 67-55 win over Hartselle.
Kaleb Smith dominated an early eight-point run with two 3-pointers for Decatur (10-13) to lead all scorers with 25 points.
Plagued by poor shooting, Hartselle (5-16) was not as lucky. Good looks to the basket rolled around the rim but seldom found the net, leaving the Tigers trailing early and shooting 30 percent (16-for-54) for the game.
“We go through stretches where we absolutely cannot get the ball to go in,” Hartselle coach Keith Wright said. “They played as hard as they can play. They just can’t get the shots to go down for some reason.”
Decatur held a 29-17 lead at half, but expected Hartselle to heat up in the second half.
Chandler Boy, who added 18 points, kept Decatur in the lead.
“They adjusted in the second half and started to make shots. We blew rebounds, and they made us struggle,” Boy said. “We were trying to rebound the ball. They were crashing the glass really hard, and we had to block them out to secure this win.”
Decatur coach Jamie Lee noted that with Boy on the same page, the team was able to work together to get a complete win.
“We have a lot of quiet kids, and Chandler is the talker,” he said. “He’s the guy that keeps them motivated and keeps them going.”
Decatur shot 55 percent, and went 7-for-10 from the 3-point line.
Despite Hartselle’s poor shooting, the Tigers topped Decatur on the boards, with 32 rebounds. Jamal Jackson led Hartselle scorers with 17 points, followed by Timbo Slayton with 15 points and 11 boards. Preston Adams added 10 points in the loss.
Hartselle girls 50, Decatur 38: The Tigers opened strong, going on a 14-point run before Taneshia Johnson found the basket for Decatur at the end of the first period.
Riley Terry, who led all scorers with 15 points, helping Hartselle improve to 15-9 for the season, said the strong start was, in part, a response to the previous loss to Brewer in the Morgan County tournament.
After the halftime mark, where Decatur trailed 24-8, the Red Raiders outscored Hartselle 30-26 to come within 10 points, but could not catch the lead.
Terry scored eight points in the fourth quarter, with two 3-pointers, to help Hartselle finish strong.
“I was trying to pick up the pace so we could get the ball rolling and get a few baskets so we could get the lead back, and maybe just pump up our team a little bit,” she said.
Quanesha Burks added 11 points for the Tigers, while Allie Roden and Melissa Paul Hill recorded eight each.
Decatur (6-20) was led by Taneisha Johnson, who scored 11 points, while Constance Steele added nine.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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