RHS boys, girls take down East Limestone
By Brannon King for the FCT
Russellville 80, East Limestone 58
The Russellville Golden Tigers wrapped up first place in regular season Class 5A, Area 16 play with a big home victory over the East Limestone Indians Friday night.
Bailey Motes continued his outstanding season by leading the Golden Tigers with 32 points. Motes helped get RHS off to a quick start by scoring 22 in the first half. Russellville led 27-14 at the end of the first quarter and held a 14-point advantage at the half. The lead then grew to 20 going into the final period.
By finishing first in area play, the Golden Tigers accomplished one of many goals set by the team and second-year RHS Head Coach Patrick Odom. “That’s step one,” Odom said. “That gives you an opportunity to play at home, which is always a great advantage. When you see what we did here tonight, we feel good when we have opposing teams come in here. East Limestone is a great basketball team. We controlled the game, but they never quit. Our defense was just phenomenal early in the game.”
“When we play like that, we feel good about ourselves,” Odom added. “We’re a confident bunch, and we’re looking forward to staying sharp for two weeks and getting ready for tournament time.” By going 6-0 in league play, the Golden Tigers know that they will host the area tournament.
Austin Stidham scored 14 points for RHS, while Lucas McNutt had 13 and Devin Buckhalter added ten points. Judd Ward (5), Caden Parker (4) and Nate Franklin (2) also had points for Russellville.
Russellville 77, Central-Florence 44
Russellville continued its recent hot streak by dominating the Central Wildcats Monday night. The Golden Tigers improved their record to 15-4 on the season and have now won seven of their last eight games.
The RHS speed in transition was a clear advantage in the game. Motes bested his previous high-point total of 32 in the last game by scoring 34 this time in the home win. Motes picked up 20 points in the second half as the Golden Tigers pulled away.
Central started the second half on a 7-0 run, but the momentum didn’t last. Russellville turned defense into offense and went on to outscore the Wildcats by a 16-5 total in the fourth quarter.
Devin Buckhalter scored 14 for RHS and was joined by Stidham (10), McNutt (7), Taylor Vincent (6), Ward (4) and Parker (2) in the scoring column.
Russellville 38, East Limestone 34
The Lady Golden Tigers used a good second half performance to overcome a three-point halftime deficit to grab a thrilling area game victory over the Indians at RHS.
Russellville played hard throughout the game, and it paid dividends on the defensive end as the team held their opponent to only four points in the fourth quarter. With the win, RHS improved their record in Class 5A, Area 16 play to 3-3 and have won four of their last seven games this season.
The extremely young team is definitely showing improvement as the season goes along under first-year Head Coach Corey Thomaston.
“I was extremely proud of our girls and the way they stuck to the game-plan in the second half,” Thomaston said. “I thought we made some good adjustments at halftime after they went on a pretty good run in the second quarter. I felt like we really locked down and did a really good job defensively in the second half and executed our offense as well in the second half as I thought we have at any point this year.”
Thomaston was proud of the effort of his team in the game. “They are tough-minded. They’re tough kids, and they want to be successful. We’re going to keep giving them opportunities to come out on top, and they’re going to keep executing the game-plan.”
Madison Murray led Russellville with 15 points. Treyvia Pruitt (7), Kallie Allen (5), Jamie Hill (4), Lexie Glass (3), Krista Sikes (2) and Autumn Logan (2) all scored for RHS.
Central-Florence 44, Russellville 30
A tough pressure defense from Central created many RHS turnovers, and the Lady Golden Tigers fell to the Wildcats on Monday night at home.
Russellville made seven shots from the field in the game, and four were three-pointers. Meanwhile, Central only hit one shot from beyond the arc but did their damage in the paint under the basket.
Murray had 11 points for RHS. She was followed by Logan (8), Pruitt (7), KK Harvey (2), Hill (1) and Sikes (1).