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Russellville boys claim No. 1 in area

The Russellville boy basketball team clinched a spot in the Class 5A state playoffs for the fifth time in six years – and also the top seed in the upcoming area tournament – with an 84-71 win at West Point Jan. 22.

With Class 5A, Area 15, consisting of three teams this season, the Golden Tigers (12-4, 3-0) will receive a bye in the opening round of the area tournament. With both the winner and runner-up of that tourney advancing to the state playoffs, RHS has already punched its ticket to sub-region play.

“For us, we’re a step ahead. We’re already in the area championship game, and we get to host that in a three-team area,” said head coach Patrick Odom. “Tonight was just a huge night for us, and now we’ve got to use the next couple of weeks just to keep fine-tuning. Our guys are playing great basketball, and we’re looking forward to getting to those games.”

In a high-scoring first quarter, West Point jumped out to a 28-24 lead. The Golden Tigers managed to get the score evened at the half at 40-40 before exploding in the third period, during which RHS outscored the Warriors by a 29-11 total.

Chandler Dyas led Russellville with 24 points. Boots McCulloch and Jeb Bishop finished with 18 apiece, and Eli Gipson had 17. Brooks Scott was strong in the paint, and he scored seven points for the ninth-ranked in Class 5A Golden Tigers.

Jan. 19 Athens came to Russellville, and the Golden Tigers got the win by an 84-71 score. It was the first of two consecutive wins for RHS by that total within the week.

Seven players got into the scoring column for Russellville. Gipson led the way with 21, Scott had 18, Dyas had 17, and Bishop scored 15. Conner Warhurst had eight, and he was followed by Ashton Boyd and McCulloch with two points each.

In varsity girls’ action, the fourth-ranked in Class 6A Athens team defeated the Russellville Lady Golden Tigers 54-36.

RHS trailed 26-17 at the half, and the Lady Golden Eagles outscored Russellville by a 28-19 second half total.

Jenna Whitfield led RHS with 11 points. Jayna Poss had nine, while Fallin Cox and Anna Beth Oliver finished with five apiece. Avery Watts, Leah Rushing and Jacey Moore rounded out the scoring with two points each.

The West Point Lady Warriors were too much for RHS Friday night, getting a 56-29 win. Russellville fell to 0-3 in the area and dropped to 2-14 on the season with the loss.

Whitfield, Watts and Cox all scored six points each. Moore had four, Oliver had three and the duo of Rushing and Poss finished with two points apiece.

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