Golden Tiger triumph
Russellville stymies slow-down tactics, beats Pleasant Grove 40-29 in WQSB finals
Franklin County Times
BOAZ – Despite several Pleasant Grove possessions that lasted as long as five minutes, the Russellville varsity boys didn't let the Spartans' stalling tactics deter them from winning the 10th Annual WQSB Holiday Classic at Snead State last Saturday.
"It wasn't frustrating because we had an eight-point lead," said Russellville senior guard Cory Trapp, who was named the tournament MVP. "As long as we had the lead, we didn't care how long they held the ball."
Russellville (13-0) was held to its lowest point output of the season after averaging over 70 points during its previous three tournament games. But the Golden Tigers used a stingy zone defense to contain Pleasant Grove's Cory Smith, a 6-7 senior who averaged nearly 25 points per game during the tournament.
In the first period Russellville broke a 6-6 tie with a 11-6 run that included two treys from Cory Trapp and a 3-pointer by Jordan Hammond.
With the Golden Tigers leading 19-12 in the second quarter, Pleasant Grove slowed down the game by holding the ball. The Spartans didn't score in the quarter until Smith hit two free throws with 3:13 left. But Siran Winston, who scored all five of Russellville's second-quarter points, hit a free throw and sank a driving layup over Smith to put the Golden Tigers ahead 22-14 at halftime.
Pleasant Grove continued to stall in the second half and cut the lead to 31-29 with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Russellville answered with seven straight points to put away the Spartans.
Terence Smith led Russellville with 12 points, while Hammond and Jermaine Bates each had eight. Trapp added seven points and Winston finished with five. Smith and Winston were also named to the All-Tournament team.
Smith led Pleasant Grove with 20 of the Spartans' 29 points.
"Sometimes when you win by 20 or 30 points, you don't know how you'll respond in a close game," Russellville coach Michael Smith said. "But I thought we responded well – we did a better job in this tournament of blocking out, and we shot free throws well."
The Golden Tigers will begin area play at home against Muscle Shoals Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Trojans lost to Russellville in the TimesDaily Classic championship game Dec. 21, but they have already beaten Athens and Decatur in Class 5A, Area 16 play this season.