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franklin county times

Golden Tigers claim Winfield tourney title

By Staff
Mike Self FCT Sports Editor
Despite their hot start, the Russellville Golden Tigers were still searching for a signature early-season win heading into Thursday's showdown with Winfield.
They may have found it.
Rodney Suggs scored 18 points and made four consecutive three-pointers during a critical stretch midway through the second half as Russellville knocked off the host Pirates 51-47 to win the Winfield Christmas Invitational.
The Golden Tigers (4-1) already had three wins under their belt, but beating Winfield (3-2) on their home floor may prove to be the type of springboard victory that can set the tone for the rest of the season.
"Oh yeah. Anytime you can beat Winfield at their place, it's a big win," Russellville coach Tony Seals said. "Beating Winfield anywhere is quite an accomplishment. They're a really good basketball team. I'm excited for our guys, but we're still a long way from where we need to be."
The win had even more significance for Seals, whose older brother Dale coaches the Pirates.
"It was kind of bittersweet, to tell you the truth," Seals said. "My family said that it was the worst feeling they've ever had during a game. When we were behind, they hated it for me, and when [Winfield] was behind, they hated it for Dale.
The Pirates were clinging to a slim lead late in the third quarter when Suggs caught fire.
The junior forward drained three straight treys to close out the quarter, and he nailed another to open the fourth as Russellville surged into the lead.
Suggs' outburst also forced the Pirates to abandon their zone defense and match up with the quicker and more athletic Golden Tigers.
Jarrell Nesmith added 12 points for Russellville, and Siran Winston had eight. Corey Trapp finished with five points, and LaFayette Tiggs and Geoffrey Nelson each chipped in with four.
The Golden Tigers are hoping to ride the momentum from their 3-0 showing at the Winfield tournament into the meat of their regular season schedule.
Russellville was slated to open area play on Tuesday with a trip to Athens, where Alabama commitment Richard Hendrix and the Golden Eagles awaited.

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