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Golden Tigers advance to basketball subregion

The Russellville Golden Tigers won one of their two games in the boys Class 5A, Area 14 tournament, held in Hamilton, to advance to sub-regional play.

Feb. 4 RHS traveled to Hamilton to take on the top-seeded Aggies, and the Golden Tigers got the thrilling victory by a 65-61 score. The win secured a berth in the sub-region and advanced the team into the finals of the area tournament against Lawrence County, which defeated West Point in the opening round.

Russellville got double-figure scoring from four different players in the win over Hamilton: Chandler Dyas led the way with 17 points, while Jeb Bishop scored 12, Brooks Scott added 11 and Boots McCulloch finished with 10.

Levi Gist had seven points, Samuel Pace added six, and Eli Gipson pitched in with two.

Caleb Weeks of Hamilton led all scorers with 27 points.

The two teams played an even first quarter before Hamilton took a 39-34 lead into halftime. RHS came on in the third quarter and outscored the Aggies by an 18-14 total.

Bishop had a key basket and a free throw after a rebound late in the game, and Dyas made clutch free throws in the game’s final seconds.

“January was not kind to us, but I’ve been preaching to our guys that we’re close,” said Russellville head coach Patrick Odom. “We’re there, and to see the resiliency of our guys to be able to go through some of the adversity we’ve gone through and just lay it on the line the way that they did tonight – we had multiple guys stepping up and making shots.

“Really, in the fourth quarter, it was just about toughness, and it was about getting the loose balls.”

Odom is no stranger to success in area tournament play. “In our locker room we talked about this is the week. This is what we do,” Odom added. “Since I’ve been at Russellville, we’ve been very successful in the area tournament, so we believe, and you saw our kids playing like they believed tonight.”

In the area championship game Feb. 7, Russellville (11-15) fell to the Lawrence County Red Devils 66-56 in Hamilton.

The two teams got off to a fast start, with LCHS holding an 18-17 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Red Devils took a 32-31 lead into the halftime break before outscoring RHS by a 22-12 third period total.

Russellville outscored Lawrence County 13-12 in the game’s final quarter, but it wasn’t enough.

Both teams advance to sub-regional play. RHS will travel to take on the East Limestone Indians in the next round, while the Red Devils will host Madison Academy.

Dyas and Bishop led RHS in scoring with 13 points each. Scott added 12, and Gipson scored seven, while McCulloch had six. Pace scored three, and Hubbard had two.