Russellville teams open basketball season with success
The 2019-20 varsity basketball season got underway for the Russellville Golden Tigers with a couple of wins over the Colbert County Indians Nov. 21 in Leighton.
First-year head coach Jermaine Groce led his Lady Golden Tigers into action and got a 39-34 win on opening night. Both teams combined for a large number of fouls in the game, especially early: RHS totaled 15 in the first half, while the Indians had 13 at the break.
“It was the longest game of my life,” Groce said after the win. “We played great in spurts. Early on in the first half, we were able to control the boards. We dominated on the glass, and as the first half progressed, we got into a little bit of foul trouble, and it took away our advantage.
“They were able to mount a comeback, and turnovers assisted with that.”
Madison Murray led Russellville with 18 points. The senior guard toughed it out after falling to the floor during the fourth quarter, causing a hard bump to the back of her head.
Murray had 11 points during that final quarter, and six of those came after returning to the game despite her fall.
After the Indians got to within a point of RHS on a three-pointer with 18.9 seconds remaining in
the game, Murray then went four for four at the free-throw line and added a key steal.
“She’s a warrior,” Groce said. “She’s one of the toughest kids we have, probably, in the school system. I’m just excited she keeps battling and battling and leads our girls, especially in late-game situations.”
Krista Sikes and Lexie Glass had seven points apiece for Russellville in the contest. AJ Taylor added three, while Fallin Cox and Autumn Logan each had two.
In the boys’ game, Russellville out-muscled Colbert County and grabbed a 57-53 victory to start the season off in winning fashion.
The Golden Tigers jumped out to a 14-12 first-quarter lead, and RHS held a 28-20 advantage at the halftime break. CCHS got hot down the stretch and outscored Russellville 23-17 in the game’s final period.
Chandler Dyas led the scoring with 23 for RHS. Jeb Bishop finished with nine points, and Brooks Scott had eight. Levi Gist, Boots McCulloch and Sam Pace all had 4 points each, while Jamaal Hubbard finished with three, and Nathaniel Trussell had two.
“We came out and controlled the second half,” said Russellville head coach Patrick Odom. “I think we got up 15 or 16 at one point.
“We showed some inexperience on how we finished the gam,” Odom added, “and we’ve got to do a better job of that.
“For the most part, I thought our guys played exceptionally hard. We played tough, we played physical, and we did a lot of things tonight that begin to grow the identity of this group.
“We’ve got to clean up some of the mistakes, but that’s first-night basketball, so I’m proud of our guys.”
Russellville was back in action Friday night for the home-opener versus the Central-Florence Wildcats.
The Lady Golden Tigers struggled on the offensive end and fell to Central by a 48-22 final score. In the boys’ game, Central made 12 three-pointers, but Russellville got double-figure scoring from four different players to get the 63-60 win over the Wildcats.
The RHS girls (1-1) scored one point in the game’s second quarter and three in the third before finishing the contest with 11 in the fourth.
Madison Murray was Russellville’s top scorer with seven points.
As for the boys, Chandler Dyas was clutch down the stretch, making five of six late-game free throws, including two to put his team up by three points with 1.4 seconds remaining. Central attempted a long shot at the buzzer to tie the score, but it wasn’t close, and Russellville improved to 2-0 on the season.
Dyas led RHS with 15 points. Other top scorers were Scott with 14, Bishop with 12 and McCulloch pitched with 10.