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Golden Tigers split games with Hamilton Aggies

By Brannon King for the FCT

The Russellville Golden Tigers took on the Hamilton Aggies Jan. 3 at RHS and came away with a split in the boys’ and girls’ games. The two games were the only ones played by Russellville during the week since expected winter weather caused the postponement of the scheduled contests at East Limestone and Central of Florence.

The Russellville boys came away with a 73-67 win and improved their record to 10-3 on the season.

The Aggies jumped out to a 13-10 lead in the first quarter, and the two teams scored evenly in the second period to give Hamilton a 29-26 lead at the half. The Golden Tigers outscored the Aggies 19-15 in the third quarter and held on in the fourth quarter by sinking 22 free-throws to account for all but six of their fourth quarter points. Looking to get back into the game, Hamilton chose to go with a foul-often strategy early in the final period to extend the game and slow the pace.

“I thought we had some guys come up and make some great defensive energy plays tonight in a time, especially in the third quarter, that we were needing to make a run and take control,” Russellville Head Coach Patrick Odom said. “Tonight was one of those nights where we kind of had to grind it out, but good teams are able to do that. It wasn’t pretty, but I like how we were able to keep playing. We won the game with defensive stops, which created opportunities, and we were able to take control because we played to who we are.”

Six Golden Tigers scored in the game, with four players having double-digit point totals. Bailey Motes led the way with 22 points for RHS. Taylor Vincent had 13, while Lucas McNutt added 11 and Devin Buckhalter scored ten. Austin Stidham had nine points, and Judd Ward pitched in five.

Earlier in the night, Hamilton took the girls’ game by a 41-26 score over a Russellville team that is playing short-handed because of a couple of key injuries. Already missing Madison Murray, RHS suffered another injury when scoring-threat Kallie Allen was helped off the floor to the bench early in the third quarter, and she never returned to the game.

“Injuries definitely hurt us a little bit tonight without Madison Murray, who’s missed three games in a row, and then losing Kallie Allen part of the way through the game,” Russellville Head Coach Corey Thomaston said. “It really depletes what we’re trying to do offensively. We’ve got some young ladies that are going to have to step up, and to this point, they haven’t been comfortable carrying the bulk of the load, so we put them in roles that they maybe weren’t as comfortable with, but it’s a great opportunity for them to grow.”

The Aggies held a slim 9-4 lead after the first quarter and led 21-10 at the half. Both teams struggled to get things going offensively in the third period, with Hamilton outscoring RHS 5-1 in the quarter. The Lady Golden Tigers (2-14) finished the game by scoring 15 points in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough to get the win.

KK Harvey led Russellville with 9 points. She was followed by Treyvia Pruitt (6), Autumn Logan (5), AJ Taylor (3), Jamie Hill (2) and Makayla Phifer (1). Haley King led Hamilton with 18 points in the game.