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RHS basketball ends with loss to Mae Jemison

The 2020-21 varsity basketball season came to an end for the Russellville Golden Tigers with an 84-57 home loss to the Mae Jemison Jaguars in the sub-regional round of the boys’ Class 5A playoffs.

Winter weather postponed the game, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 16, to Saturday.

The obvious talent of the Jaguars team, mixed with a lack of team practice time – and a lingering ankle injury for senior starter and key contributor Brooks Scott, who only was able to play sparingly Saturday – made for a tough afternoon for RHS.

Add in the fact that another senior top-scorer, Chandler Dyas, was clearly hobbled throughout the contest because of a fall on a drive to the basket in the game’s first couple of minutes, and one can see how things got away from Russellville.

“What a crazy week on a year when we’ve dealt with COVID and everything else to try to go play a game when you haven’t seen your guys since the Sunday afternoon practice,” said Russellville head coach Patrick Odom. “I thought it affected us today. Not taking anything away from them, I think we’ve got to play perfect probably to beat these guys.”

Mae Jemison outscored RHS 20-9 in the first quarter of the game. A fast-paced second period followed, in which the Jags scored 25 points to Russellville’s 19, leading to a 45-28 halftime score.

Mae Jemison was able to completely put the game out of reach in the second half, which featured a few highlight-reel dunks from Jemison.

Dyas showed his toughness and led Russellville with 19 points. Jeb Bishop finished his RHS career with 12, and Conner Warhurst got his second-straight start in place of the injured Scott, scoring 10.

Eli Gipson scored six on two fourth-quarter three-pointers, and Boots McCulloch added five. Scott scored four, and Ashton Boyd rounded out the scoring column with one.

The game was the last in an RHS uniform for a successful trio of seniors. “I love every one of them,” Odom shared. “They are great kids, great young men. They’ve played a lot of fun games over four years. Brooks and Chandler have been with me since ninth grade and Jeb since 10th grade, so it’s special, the contributions they’ve made.

“That is the type of kids and young men they are, and that’s what makes our job fun.”