Strong start sends Belgreen past Tharptown
Mike Self, FCT Sports Editor
THARPTOWN – Jason Bolton is officially listed on Belgreen's basketball roster as team manager, but after Friday night's game at Tharptown he may have earned himself a new title: Designated sharpshooter.
Bolton came off the bench late in the fourth quarter and nailed a pair of three-pointers, whipping his teammates and the Bulldog fans into a frenzy while providing the perfect capper to a 79-54 win over the county rival Wildcats.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Tharptown raced out to a 14-2 lead before Belgreen rallied to get the win. Friday night, it was the Bulldogs (4-3) who came out blazing as they jumped out in front 14-1 and never looked back.
"We were much more focused tonight," Belgreen coach Wes Hester said. "We didn't make nearly as many mistakes. We turned the ball over too much the first time we played them, but we took good care of the ball tonight. We knew what we wanted to do, and we came out and executed."
Brent Newell led Belgreen with 21 points, including 17 in the first half as the Bulldogs took a 38-25 lead into the lockerroom.
"That was another big key to our good start," Hester said. "We worked the ball inside to our post players, and we were able to get high-percentage shots. That's the second big game in a row for Brent. He's really coming on strong. He's been playing like that in practice all year, and now it's starting to show in the games."
Apart from Newell's big night, the Bulldogs had a balanced scoring attack. Michael Wilson had 10 points, and Marty Britton added nine. Lucas Albert finished with eight, and Bolton, Kyle Warren, Shane Fretwell and Taylor Hester each had six.
Justin Gardner added four, and Jacob Green had one.
Wilson had eight points in the third quarter as Belgreen out-scored Tharptown 17-12 to extend the lead to 55-37.
Jacob Parker led the Wildcats with 17 points. Justin Graves and Tyler Cagle each added nine, and Mackinley Flannagin had eight.
In other recent action:
Shoals Christian 61 Phil Campbell 55
Jay Steward led all scorers with 22 points on Thursday, but it wasn't enough as the Bobcats (3-3) fell to Shoals Christian in their home opener.
Daniel Almon had 21 points and Ben Kahler added 20 for the Flame, who led 32-24 at the half.
Tanner Maddox added 11 points for Phil Campbell, and Chase Hutcheson had nine.