Area play heats up for Russellville teams

Jan. 6 the Russellville High School varsity basketball teams entered an important stretch of the season, in which area games will be coming in bunches. The Golden Tigers hosted the West Point Warriors in both boys’ and girls’ action in Class 5A, Area 15, play for the first of five area dates scheduled in January. The boys got an 80-64 victory, and the girls fell 71-47.

BOYS

Russellville’s boys improved to 2-0 on the season in the area and 9-8 overall with the win over West Point.

Four Golden Tigers scored in double figures, with Malachi Duncan leading the way with 19 points. EJ King was next in the scoring column with 16, Amir Williams added 14, and Gavin Hyde had 11. KJ Murray added eight, and Bralynn Vincent and Conner Warhurst scored four apiece. Rounding out the scoring were Malachi Gholston and Tilmon Baker with two points each.

Russellville jumped out to a 23-13 first quarter lead and held a 38-33 advantage at the half. The Golden Tigers would grow the lead to 11 after three quarters of play before outdoing the Warriors by a 22-17 total in the game’s final period.

“Anytime we get a chance to get another area win, it’s good,” said Russellville head coach Patrick Odom. “I thought we got off to a really good start. Got to credit their No. 23 tonight; he was unbelievable. I think he hit nine three’s in the game and really kept them in it in the middle part of the game.”

Odom added the depth of his team was a contributing factor in getting the victory.

“When we start making shots by different guys, we get dangerous,” he said. “I thought it was a good team win for us. I think there’s a lot of things that we can do better, which is good. At the same time, you’re always satisfied with a good home area win.”

Jay Lamar for West Point led all scorers with 31 points.

GIRLS

The RHS girls struggled shooting from the outside, while West Point was on fire from beyond the three-point line. The Lady Golden Tigers (7-10, 0-2) made their only three-point bucket of the game in the fourth quarter, while West Point connected on 14 shots from beyond the arc during the contest, including six in the first quarter, accounting for all of the Lady Warriors’ points in the opening period.

WPHS held a 30-18 lead at the half and used a 22-9 third quarter to all but put the game away early. The Lady Tigers battled to the end, outscoring the Warriors 20-19 in the fourth quarter.

“We’re struggling from the perimeter,” said Russellville head coach Jermaine Groce. “We’ve got to figure out how to get our shot back. For the past four games, we’ve kind of been in a shooting funk.”

Groce said he feels the intensity of his team in spurts looks really good. “Our girls just have to keep fighting,” he added. “We’ve got to figure out how to defend in critical moments and get more aggressive on the boards.”

Jacey Moore led RHS with 16 points. Laila Hill scored 12, and Ella Copeland added nine. Jenna Whitfield scored four, Desiree Medina added three, Anna Beth Oliver had two, and Alexia Groce made a free throw.

HOLIDAY ACTION

The Russellville varsity basketball teams took the court for holiday hoops action between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Russellville’s boys split four games in the annual Bracy Invitational hosted by Deshler High School, and the Lady Golden Tigers went to West Morgan High to play in the West Morgan Holiday Classic.

BOYS

Russellville 65, Priceville 53

In the first game of the Bracy Invitational for RHS Dec. 26, the Golden Tigers defeated Priceville. Russellville got off to a hot start, outscoring the opponent 32-9 in the first quarter.

Bralynn Vincent led RHS with 15 points. Conner Warhurst added 10, and KJ Murray had eight. EJ King and Malachi Duncan scored seven each, and Tilmon Baker scored six. Mike Young and Jah Williams had four apiece, while Amir Williams and Gavin Hyde scored two points apiece.

Russellville 61, Albertville 55

The Golden Tigers took down Albertville the following day in winner’s bracket action. Russellville used a 17-5 fourth quarter to earn the victory.

Amir Williams led the Golden Tigers with 19 points, and King added 14. Vincent and Warhurst had nine points each. Murray and Duncan followed with three apiece, while Young and Hyde each scored two points.

Mars Hill 68, Russellville 65

In the second game of the day for RHS, the Golden Tigers held a 41-23 halftime lead over Mars Hill in the semi-finals but couldn’t hold off the eventual tournament champion Panthers.

Gavin Hyde was top scorer for Russellville with 23 points. Amir Williams added nine, and Vincent scored six. Young, Murray, King and Warhurst scored five each. Baker added three, and Jah Williams scored two.

Lauderdale County 65, Russellville 57

The Golden Tigers and LCHS faced off in the third-place game of the Bracy Invitational Wednesday night.

Russellville (8-8) trailed 28-27 at the half and by eight after three quarters. The Golden Tigers got within three on a Warhurst three-pointer with 19.9 seconds remaining, but Lauderdale County sealed the victory with 15 made free throws in the game’s final quarter.

Vincent had the most points for RHS with 16. King also scored in double figures with 13. Warhurst added nine, Amir Williams added six, Murray had five, and Hyde and Malachi Gholston scored three each. Baker chipped in two.

GIRLS

Falkville 65, Russellville 42

The Lady Golden Tigers opened play in the West Morgan Holiday Classic by taking on Falkville. RHS got scoring from five different players in the loss.

Laila Hill led the team with 20 points. Ella Copeland added nine, Avery Watts six, Jenna Whitfield four and Anna Beth Oliver three.

Addison 65, Russellville 63

Russellville and Addison battled in a close contest the following day, and the Lady Golden Tigers came up two points short of victory.

Copeland was top scorer for RHS with 20 points. Whitfield had 14, and Watts also scored in double figures with 12. Jacey Moore and Hill added eight apiece, and Hope Bonman scored one.

Russellville 46, Danville 33

The Golden Tigers wrapped up play in the Holiday Classic with a win Dec. 29 over the Danville Hawks.

Russellville (7-9) got 13 points from Watts and 12 each from Copeland and Moore.

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