Red Bay sweeps county
BELGREEN — The Red Bay Tigers varsity boys team came into the 2013 Franklin County Tournament with only six wins on the season.
When the county basketball tournament comes up each year, however, the records go out the window.
Despite being the No. 4 seed and a tourney underdog, the Tigers upset No. 1 Belgreen and defeated No. 2 seed Phil Campbell 56-48 in the tournament final to not only take home the hardware, but complete Red Bay’s sweep of the contest.
The Red Bay Lady Tigers defeated the Tharptown Lady Wildcats 64-41 in the previous game and the Tigers’ B-team boys bested Phil Campbell 54-50 during the first match of Saturday night in Belgreen.
“I’m sure the kids feel pretty good about sweeping the tournament,” Red Bay principal Kenny Sparks said. “It’s hard to sweep the county, and our teams played hard.”
Both of the boys’ matchups proved to be exciting games, but none more so than the varsity boys final.
Phil Campbell had several leads during the up and down match, but Red Bay always managed to make a comeback before the end of each quarter.
The Tigers led 16-15 at the end of the first quarter and made a 10-point comeback to take a 29-27 advantage at the break.
“These kids started out 0-5,” Red Bay head coach Greg Cash said. “People don’t understand that these kids come in after football season and they are beat up. I told our guys before the tournament and before this game that the best team will win, and we won. This is something that these kids will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Both teams came out swinging in the third quarter, and if Red Bay’s match against Belgreen was like going 10 rounds in a heavyweight prizefight, then the game between the Tigers and Bobcats was like going 15 rounds with the world champ.
Red Bay was ahead 42-35 by the end of the third period, but the game was far from over.
The teams went back and fourth throughout the fourth and final quarter, but it was Red Bay that had the advantage once again late in the game.
Phil Campbell could never close the gap all the way, and the Tigers made their free throws to ensure they held out for the victory.
“No one gave us much hope in this tournament,” Cash said. “Phil Campbell beat us last week, but we played poorly. We started making plays in the game, but we got in some foul trouble. Bradley Brooks has been struggling some this season but he finally started knocking them down. Zach Garrett stepped up for us and played well.”
Levi Humphres led Red Bay and the game in points with 22. Barry Reach picked up 11 and Brooks totaled 8.
Also scoring for the Tigers were: Austin Thorn (5), Michael Ramirez (4), Kyle Fuller (4) and Tra Elliott (2).
Skeeter Benford and Colton Vickery tied with 17 points apiece for Phil Campbell on the night.
Also scoring for the Bobcats were: Cameron Harris (7), Austin Jones (3), Craig Saint (2) and Hayden Bell (2).
The Tigers, fresh off a 3-0 performance in the tourney, now can look forward to the area tournament coming up in a few weeks.
“We’ve got to take advantage of these wins,” Cash said.
Red Bay Lady Tigers 64, Tharptown 41
There was never much doubt which team would win this year’s girls varsity bracket at the county tournament, as the Lady Tigers have now won something akin to 14 of the last 15 of the contests.
The Tharptown Lady Wildcats are an exceptional team and undefeated in their area, but Red Bay has continued to prove too much for anyone else in the county to handle.
“It feels good to win the tournament,” Red Bay head coach Donnie Roberts said. “It always does.”
Red Bay had an amazing first quarter on both offense and defense, finishing the quarter with a 28-9 lead. At that point the Lady Tigers were on pace to score 112 points in the game, even though that was pretty unlikely given the team’s defensive nature and the level of competition put forth by Tharptown.
It was 44-17 by halftime and 62-32 at the end of the third period, meaning that the entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock as per the new AHSAA rules.
By the end the Lady Tigers had captured yet another first place trophy with the 23-point victory.
“Again our press was good tonight,” Roberts said. We were able to force turnovers and make some easy baskets.
“We were able to give our subs some work, and when the playoffs get here the more work they have had the better.
“We’ve got three eighth graders, so experience is a tremendous asset. Having good playing time helps keep the girls who don’t start from getting jittery when they get on the court.”
Allie Kennedy, Lexy Lindsey and Kasey Sparks each had 11 points for Red Bay.
Also scoring for the Lady Tigers were: Morgan Pierce (9), Elizabeth Wooten (8), Alaina Hester (7), Darby Madden (3), Hannah McKinney (2) and Carlee Berry (2).
Kamri Sears led the Lady Wildcats and the game in points with 15.
Also scoring for Tharptown were: Danielle Creasy (9), Kassy Baker (7), Kathy Alfaro (5), Brooke Daniel (3) and Jessica Wilson (2).
Red Bay B-team boys 54, Phil Campbell 50
While the nightcap between the Tigers and Bobcats may have been the most contested match of the evening, the closest was the opener and B-team boys championship.
The teams battled back and forth to see who would take home the hardware, but Red Bay held onto the small lead until the final buzzer.
It was Phil Campbell that had the advantage by the end of the first period to the tune of 15-13.
Red Bay starting firing on all cylinders and went on a 16-7 run to close out the first half on top 31-20.
The Bobcats were far from done, however, and went on a 17-8 run of their own, yet the Tigers were still up 39-37 going into the final eight minutes of the contest.
Despite Phil Campbell’s best efforts to regain the lead, it was the Tigers that pulled out the close 4-point victory.
Austin Milam, Nick Thorn and Dylan Gresham each had 12 points for Red Bay in the game.
Also scoring for the Tigers were: Jade Pounds (7), Buddy Kuykendall (6), Tyler Reach (3) and Reed Holt (2).
Bailey Motes led Phil Campbell and the contest in points with 19. Ryan Saint had 10 and Eric Odell added 9.
Also scoring for the Bobcats were: Skyler Tackett (5), Noah Williams (5) and Austin McAfee (2).