After a scoreless two minutes, Huntsville coach Eddie Groves called out to his team, “Just be patient, guys, just be patient.”
The Panthers had come out jumping, but Groves’ words would be telling, as Decatur topped Huntsville in overtime 70-66.
Decatur (8-12, 1-3 in Class 6A, Area 16) led the early game from the free-throw line, but was matched in the second quarter when a rebound from Justin Alexander resulted in Jordan Perry’s 3-pointer from the top of the key, evening the score at 11.
At half, the score was tied twice more, but a free throw from Alexander gave Huntsville the lead 22-21.
“They really came out physical, because they were getting a lot of offensive rebounds in the beginning, so they just came out tough and pressured us hard,” said leading scorer Na’Vante Williams, who marked a double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds in the game.
The teams would tie the score five more times in the second half, topped off by Ronnie Eady, who drove down the lane for a buzzer-beating jumper, tying the score at 58 to push the game into overtime.
In overtime, Marquise Grays, Eady and Zac Neumann helped Huntsville keep a tight game, but Williams went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line to push the Red Raiders to the win, closing the heated duel.
“Our key word for the night was ‘toughness,’ so we just got through it and crunched it out,” Williams said.
Matthew Papich totaled 15 points for the Decatur, while Cameron Twitty added 14 points. The Red Raiders shot 36.2 percent (17-for-47) for the game, but went 65.4 percent (34-for-52) from the free-throw line.
“They’re really competitive,” Decatur coach Jamie Lee said of the Huntsville (4-18, 4-2 in Class 6A, Area 10).
“They pressure so hard, and we were able to throw it on the side and get the ball in the lane and obviously get the ball to the line, and that had a lot to do with our ability to win,” he continued.
Groves, Lee’s brother, said the game was characteristic of his team’s performance all season.
“All season, we’ve been sticking it out,” Groves said after the game. “We’ll hang tough until the final horn blows.”
Huntsville girls 39, Decatur 22: The Lady Panthers led a decisive win against Decatur, started by Alaina Strong, who set the pace with two early 3-pointers.
Huntsville’s early eight point run kept Decatur (6-17, 0-4 in Class 6A, Area 16) running.
The Lady Raiders found an edge in the second quarter with a six point run, started with a jumper from Oniesha Hampton, but it did not contain the Panthers, who led 22-13 at halftime.
For Huntsville (20-4, 5-1 in Class 6A, Area 10), Ta’Naisha Hill led all scorers with 11 points along with five assists and seven steals. Strong totaled 10 points, followed by Lindsey Douglas with six and Saquera Wade with four. Anna Dennis added six boards for the Lady Panthers, who shot 33.3 percent (14-for-42) with 15 turnovers.
Decatur shot 30.8 percent (8-for-26), led by Taneisha Johnson, who totaled nine points and five rebounds, while Hampton added four points. For the game, the Lady Raiders turned the ball over 23 times.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or email@example.com.
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|