Another day of survive and advance basketball wrapped up in Cullman Wednesday night.
All day at Wallace State, teams fought to punch their tickets to Birmingham for the state semi-finals.
Hazel Green and Hartselle’s girl’s teams were the first to take the court. Points would be hard to come by in this one, even for the back-to-back-to-back state champion Trojans.
Strong outings from Samiya Steele (12 points and nine rebounds) and Kyra Long (11 points), helped Hazel Green build an early lead.
Hartselle would fight back in the first half, hitting all three of the team’s deep balls during the first two quarters -- they’d finish the game 3 of 17 from behind the arc. Though the team would take a lead, it would soon give it back.
The second half was a completely different story. The Trojans took over defensively, allowing only four points in the final 16 minutes of play, holding all Hartselle players under seven points to win the game 32-25.
After the win, coach Tim Miller said his team is going to need to improve offensively before the next round.
“I hope we score more than -- what did we score? 31 points? 32 points? I hope we score more than 32 points. I don’t think 32 points is going to win a final four or state championship game so, hopefully, we can score better,” Miller said.
Up next was the 6A Regional Final (boy’s) between Scottsboro and Clay-Chalkville. Scottsboro caught fire early, with strong defense and some early buckets leading them on an 8-0 run. But Chalkville also had a run up its sleeve. Holding the Wildcats scoreless to end the first quarter, the Cougars would keep things close as they drained seven unanswered.
The back and forth affair continued as the teams went shot for shot, with the Cougs eventually rallying to tie things up at 33 in the third.
The Cougars would briefly grab a late lead on a Skyler Smith three-pointer (one of two shots he sunk), giving them a 41-40 lead, but those would be the final points for Chalkville as the Wildcats defense would hold them off -- moving on to the final four with a 48-41 victory.
BJ Harris led all scorers with 15 points.
Head coach Jason Bell said all the praise goes to his guys.
“They’re the ones that make the shots, they’re the ones that defend the good guards, the strong post inside. I’m proud of them, proud as I can be because I think they’re getting what they deserve, as hard as they work and I’m just glad to be along for the ride,” Bell said.
This will be Scottsboro’s first-ever trip to the state final four.
The girl’s action continued with Lauderdale County and Susan Moore for the 3A regional title.
A punch for punch game in the first half, the teams exchanged a consistent flow of three-pointers. Lauderdale’s Shila Marks would go three for three in the first half, eventually finishing four of five.
On the other end, Hallie Holmes and Kaitlyn Hill were draining them, too. Each finished with three.
Lauderdale County held a lead until the final second of the first half, when Lacey Floyd drained a buzzer-beater. The second half was not as kind to deep shooters. The Tigers, who had shot four of six in the first half, finished 6 of 15.
The team struggled to hit the important shots down the stretch and the Bulldogs were able to hold them off, advancing with a 63-54 win.
In the final game of the day, between Winfield and Danville (boy’s) for the 3A regional title, things started rough for Danville and stayed that way. The team trailed 21-10 after the first quarter.
Kohl Randolph was the only Danville player with more than 5 points -- he finished the game with 14.
Though things were close for parts of the first quarter, Winfield took off running and held a 20-point lead as the teams hit the locker rooms for the half. In the third, Danville was held to a single point and the Pirates -- with three players recording at least 15 points -- easily took this one 60 to 28, steamrolling their way into the final four.
Moving on to the final four, Hazel Green will face McGill-Toolen, Scottsboro will play Spanish Fort, Susan Moore will take on Prattville Christian Academy and Winfield will square off with Montgomery Catholic -- all of these games will be played on Mar. 1.