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Golden Tigers compete in Bracy Invitational to close 2021

The Russellville varsity boys recently continued a long-running basketball tradition of participating in the Bracy Invitational, held at Deshler High School Dec. 27-29.

The Golden Tigers opened bracket play with a matchup against the Mars Hill Panthers on the opening day of the tourney. RHS fell by a 77-74 final score.

Mars Hill opened the game by outscoring Russellville 13-8 in the first quarter and held a 34-26 advantage at the half. RHS was able to battle back in the second half, outscoring the opponent by five points, but the Panthers held on for the victory.

The round one loss sent the Golden Tigers to the consolation bracket for the remaining two days of the tournament.

Eli Gipson led Russellville in scoring with 19 points. He was followed in double figures by Amir Williams with 14, Conner Warhurst with 13 and Boots McCulloch with 11 points. Bralynn Vincent added eight, Nathan Brockway scored five, and Ashton Boyd finished the game with four points.

RHS came back to the Deshler Dome the following day and defeated the Central-Florence Wildcats by a 67-59 total. It was Russellville’s second win of the season so far over Central, and the two schools were scheduled to meet again Jan. 4 at RHS.

Russellville jumped out to a large first-half lead, outscoring Central 18-11 in the first quarter and 17-12 in the second for a 35-23 halftime score. A 21-14 scoring total in the third period in favor of Russellville grew the lead to 56-37 before Central outscored RHS 22-11 in the fourth.

“I thought overall we played pretty well in the game,” said Russellville head coach Patrick Odom. “We had a good run and took control of the game at the half. I thought we played well but didn’t finish. I thought we were a little sloppy in the finish – but you get that sometimes in these types of games.”

Top-scoring honors in the contest went to Gipson with 24 points for Russellville. Brockway had a big game with 17, and Warhurst scored six first-quarter points on his way to a 10-point performance. Boyd helped the cause with eight, Williams added six, and McCulloch and Baker scored two points apiece.

The Golden Tigers wrapped up play in the tourney with a 69-52 win over the Rogers Pirates Dec. 29. The victory improved Russellville’s record on the season to 7-5.