Golden Tigers fall to Falcons
By Brannon King
For the FCT
The 2015-16 basketball season came to a close for the Russellville boys because of a 55-36 home loss to the St. John Paul II Catholic Falcons in the Class 5A, sub-regional game.
The Falcons were on fire, shooting from long-distance, making nine three-pointers in the game. All 12 of their first quarter points came from shots taken beyond the three-point line. Russellville managed to stay within striking distance through three quarters, but the Falcons pulled away during the final period, running their offensive sets well and outscoring the Golden Tigers 18-8 in the fourth quarter.
Russellville trailed 24-17 at the half and 37-28 at the end of the third quarter.
“I’m very proud of my guys,” Russellville head Coach Patrick Odom said. “We’ve come so far, and to see our guys continue to fight and play the way they did tonight, even down to the bitter end, I can’t say enough of the progress we’ve made and just the character our guys have shown down the stretch of this season.”
“What was fun was to bring a sub-state game back home, and it’s been several years since that’s happened. I’m proud of our guys for bringing that back – that’s an expectation that we want to create every year,” Odom added. “I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made. We’re not satisfied, but at the same time, we’ve got to take time to be proud of the guys on this particular team for how hard they’ve worked and how far they’ve come.”
Russellville’s Austin Stidham led the team in scoring with ten points in the game. He was followed by Joshua Seal (9), Avery Sears (9), Adonnis Bailey (6) and Taylor Vincent (2).
The large Russellville home crowd applauded the efforts of the starters who were substituted for near the end of the game. The Golden Tigers are sure to miss the contributions of seniors and leading scorers Joshua Seal and Adonnis Bailey next season. However, big man Austin Stidham will return, along with guard Avery Sears. Starter Taylor Vincent and experienced Nate Franklin should be back, along with Devin Buckhalter and Lucas McNutt, who both made big contributions off the bench and improved while gaining a lot of playing time and experience throughout the year.