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Bays’ three-pointer sends Red Bay to regionals

The Red Bay Tigers survived a “dog fight,” beating the Sheffield Bulldogs 55-52 on a three-pointer at the buzzer by Hunter Bays, to advance to the Northwest Regionals to play Vincent.

Sheffield had just tied the game on a Devin Doss jumper with with 12 seconds to go in the game. Red Bay inbounded the ball, and Braden Ray went the length of the court and dished the ball to Bays, all alone on the left wing, who knocked down the game-winner.

“I knew there wasn’t much time on the clock, so it was just catch and shoot,” said the senior guard. “And it went in.”

With the game tied 42-42 with 3:43 to go in the game, another Red Bay senior took charge. Gath Weatherford scored 10 of the Tigers’ last 13 points.

“Gath has been a go-to guy all year, and tonight he stepped up for us in a big way in the fourth quarter,” said Red Bay coach John Torisky. “They came out and punched us in the mouth at the beginning of the game, and we had to settle down. We shot well from the free-throw line and finally started hitting some shots in the fourth quarter.”

The difference-maker in the game was one of the most basic parts of the game: free throws. Red Bay went 21-for-31 from the free-throw line, while Sheffield was three-for-17. Weatherford was 12-for-14 from the line himself.

The Tigers also hit four three-pointers in the fourth quarter: Weatherford (2), Clay Allison (1) and Bay (1).

“We knew it was going to be a dog fight,” said Weatherford.  “But we were not about to let them win on our home court.”

Sheffield’s full-court pressure gave Red Bay fits in the first few minutes of the game. The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on Tiger turnovers. Red Bay would turn the ball over 12 times in the first quarter alone, leading Sheffield to a 14-10 lead.

The Tigers regained their composure and slowed the game down, forcing some turnovers of their own. The Tigers were able to claw their way back and tie the game 20-20 on two free throws by Lane Shewbart with 2:15 to go in the first half.

The game was tied 22-22 at halftime.

Red Bay scored the first four points of the second half to take a 26-22 lead, but Sheffield wouldn’t relent. The Bulldogs hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game 34-34 at the end of the third quarter.

Weatherford ended the game with 25 points, leading the way for Red Bay.

Colton Corum added seven points and Braden Ray five points. Allison, Bays, Shewbart and Tanner Hamilton scored four points each. Noah Brewer contributed two points to the win.

The win came after area tournament action.

Red Bays wins area championship and sets school record for wins

This has been a season of many milestones for the Red Bay Tigers, and Friday night they added two more: an area championship and a school record for wins in a season.

After struggling in the first half to put the Sulligent Blue Devils away, Red Bay found its groove in the second half to pull away with the 47-29 win. The Tigers earned the right to host Sheffield in their subregion game Tuesday night.

“This was a big deal for us,” said Red Bay coach John Torisky.  “We get to host the sub-regional game, and that’s very important to us. We have great community support at our home games, so we need to use it to our advantage Tuesday night. I suspect we will have a great crowd.”

The win also broke a school record for wins that has held for 24 years since 1995. The Tigers were 26-5 on the season.

“For us to break the school record for wins is a testament to the kids and how far along they have come in the past four years,” said Torisky. “They have laid a great foundation for the upcoming players in terms of success as well as being fully committed to the program and each other.”

Senior guard Colton Corum said he was glad all the hard work and patience paid off.

“I remember when Coach Torisky was hired four years ago, when I was a freshman,” said Corum.  “We (seniors Corum, Gath Weatherford, Hunter Bays and Noah Brewer) didn’t know where the program was going. We knew where we wanted it to go, but we also knew it was going to take tons of hard work. We won seven games those first two years, but things started to turn, and we kept working harder.

“We made it to Wallace last year for the first time in 23 years, but we were not satisfied. Winning area and setting this school record were two of our goals, but we still are not satisfied. The only way we will be satisfied is with a state championship.”

Red Bay led Sulligent by a field goal in the first quarter, 9-7. The Blue Devils cut the Tigers’ lead to one point in the second quarter, 18-17. Red Bay was finally able to put some space between themselves and Sulligent, outscoring the Blue Devils 15-7, in the third quarter to give the Tigers a 33-24 lead.  

Red Bay outpaced Sulligent 9-5 in the fourth quarter to hold onto the lead and get the win.

The Tigers were 18-of-24 from the free-throw line for the game and 12-of-16 in the second half.

As usual, Red Bay led with defense and a balanced scoring, attack led by nine points from Lane Shewbart. He was followed by Clay Allison with eight points, Corum with six points, Braden Ray with six points, Weatherford with five points, Tanner Hamilton with three points, Jalen Vinson with two points, Arden Hamilton with two points and Hunters Bays with one point.

Semifinals: Red Bay 75, Addison 27

The Red Bay Tigers had no problems putting away the Addison Bulldogs in the semifinals of the Class 2A, Area 13 tournament, winning 75-27.

Red Bay used a pair of three-pointers by Weatherford to take a 19-9 lead over Addison in the first quarter. The Tigers kept to their hot-shooting ways in the second quarter, with Ray leading the way, scoring nine points and extending the Tigers’ lead to 41-17 at halftime.  

The Tigers led 60-25 at the end of the third quarter, cruising to the easy win.

Ray led Red Bay with 13 points.  Weatherford and Vinson followed with 11 points and 10 points respectively. Allison and Brewer added nine points each. Arden Hamilton scored six points, Shewbert five points, Gage Bays four points, Alex Kennedy three points, Tanner Hamilton three points and Corum two points.