Phil Campbell, Red Bay split
PHIL CAMPBELL — When the Phil Campbell Bobcats and Red Bay Tigers face each other in an athletic competition, anything can happen.
Last year the Tigers surprised many people by defeating the Bobcats in the area tournament tile game after losing to their county rival in other meetings.
This year, going into the two team’ second match of the season, Phil Campbell had a double-digit total for number of wins while Red Bay had five or six less.
But anything can happen in a rivalry game, especially between Phil Campbell and Red Bay, and the boys’ varsity basketball game proved that Friday night.
Despite going through some tough times this season so far, the Tigers hung with the Bobcats every step of the way, and the game came down to the final second which ticked away with Phil Campbell on top 56-55.
“I’m glad to get a win,” Phil Campbell head coach Will Copeland said. “After losing four-in-a-row, an area game is what you want to win. I’m glad our guys didn’t give up.”
This game between the county opponents remained close from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
The Bobcats scooted out to an 8-2 lead early in the first but Red Bay came back and tied the match at 15-15 near the end of the quarter.
It was the Tigers that had an 18-16 lead when the first period ended, but the Bobcats took back the advantage with their next field goal at the start of the second.
The gap in the second quarter never grew larger than five as Red Bay and Phil Campbell traded blows like it was a heavyweight prizefight.
Red Bay took back the lead at 22-20 after the first few minutes of the period and managed a 30-25 advantage as the quarter wound down.
A 3-pointer got Phil Campbell back within two late, but Red Bay entered the locker room at halftime with a 32-28 lead.
Phil Campbell started to turn things around after intermission.
The Bobcats went up 36-34 with the fourth combined field goal of the third quarter.
Phil Campbell managed to keep the lead from that point through the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Bobcats led by as much as six in the third before the period ended with the team on top 47-43.
The game featured eight total lead changes, and half of that number occurred in the fourth quarter of play.
Red Bay wasted no time tying the match at 47-47 before going ahead on its next two-point shot.
Phil Campbell tied the game again at 51-51 before going ahead 53-51.
That did not last, as Red Bay tied the match at 53 all then went up by a point.
The Tigers kept this lead for a short time before the Bobcats tied the contest up once again, this time at 55-55.
The two teams traded a few possessions before a foul sent Phil Campbell’s Skeeter Benford to the line with less than a minute left on the clock.
The first foul shot bricked off of the front of the rim but the second fell through the net, putting the Bobcats up by a single point at 56-55.
The Tigers had the final possession of the game and seemed poised to run the clock down before taking one last shot, but two Bobcat defenders repelled an early attempt at a drive.
The ball was lobbed up, and it bounced harmlessly off the backboard. Red Bay managed to get two more touches on the ball for two desperation putback attempts, but neither would fall for Red Bay as the clock ran out, and Phil Campbell preserved the close win.
“We gave it away at the end,” Red Bay head coach Greg Cash said. “We were up by two, we gave the ball away at half court and they tied the game. On the last drive we went in too early, and if we’re going to win kids have to listen and make plays. We didn’t listen at the end of the game.”
“After our loss to Danville and losing to Belgreen I’m just glad to get a win,” Copeland said. “We’re 5-0 in the area, and if Red Bay or Phil Campbell beats Colbert Heights we will host the area tournament. If Colbert Heights wins out it will come down to a coin flip.”
Benford led Phil Campbell in points with 16. Colton Vickery had 12 points and Cameron Harris totaled 10. Also scoring for the Bobcats were: Craig Saint (6), Austin Jones (6), Jamie Dorroh (4) and Hayden Bell (2).
Levi Humphres led Red Bay and the game in scoring with 22 points on the night. Michael Ramirez had 14 points, Tra Elliott added 9, Austin Thorn totaled 5 and Barry Reach contributed 4.
Red Bay 45, Phil Campbell 31
The Red Bay Lady Tigers continued their winning ways against the Phil Campbell Lady Bobcats Friday night.
The Lady Tigers had a 25-4 lead by the end of the first and a 37-9 advantage at halftime.
None of Red Bay’s starters touched the court in the second half, as the Lady Tigers’ second team held Phil Campbell off to pick up the region win.
“We were trying to get our subs a little extra work tonight,” Red Bay head coach Donnie Roberts said. “We wanted to get our starters some rest. We have games against two Mississippi teams in the Belmont tournament coming up, and we’re improving every game.”
“Red Bay is a good team,” Phil Campbell head coach Darit Riddle said. “They have eight or nine girls that can play, they’re tough and they give constant pressure all night long. Coach Roberts does a good job.”
Alaina Hester led Red Bay in scoring with 9 points on the night. Elizabeth Wooten, Morgan Pierce and Kasey Sparks each had 7, Carlee Berry came in with 6, Lexy Lindsey totaled 5 points and Allie Kennedy contributed 4.
Tori Pace, Hope Cook and Vickie McAlister each had 6 points for the Lady Bobcats on the night. Autumn Thomas had 5, Madison Hardy added 4 and Aubrey Hargett and Courtney Baker totaled 2 points each.