Ellwood’s Jalen Furlow, left, tries to defend R.C. Hatch’s Bakauri Jackson during Saturday’s game at Ellwood. Hatch trailed late in the fourth quarter before coming back for a 67-59 win. -- Robert Hudson

No. 5 R.C. Hatch needs comeback to overcome Ellwood

Published 11:09pm Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles were on the verge of an upset late, but a fourth-quarter comeback led the No. 5 R.C. Hatch Bobcats to a 67-59 win on Saturday at Ellwood.

Homer Davis, head boys basketball coach of R.C. Hatch (12-5, ranked No. 5 in Class 2A), said his team never gave up in a game where they faced some adversity.

“We always fight to the end and we never quit. We got off to a slow start and it was a hostile environment, and our players just kept playing and never quit,” Davis said. “There’s no quit in them. They always play hard. I’m so proud of them because they could’ve just quit at any time, but they just kept fighting. That’s what we’re all about. Ellwood’s got a real good team and the coach is doing a good job with the players because they don’t back down.”

Steven Hendrieth, head boys basketball coach of Ellwood (4-12), said his team made some key mistakes down the stretch, but despite the loss, he’s continued to see improvement from the Eagles in their first year as a member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

“We had a few mental mistakes, they sped us up a little bit and put a little pressure on us,” Hendrieth said. “We couldn’t hit shots. But I’ve seen a big improvement the last few games from my team, so I’m still remaining positive.”

The Eagles took a slim 47-46 lead into the fourth quarter, but opened the period with a shot in the paint by Bennett Harris that extended their lead to 49-46.

But the Bobcats reeled off four straight points, with Tramarcus Gipson and Jesse Goldsby each hitting a free throw and Ellwood getting called for goaltending to give R.C. Hatch a 50-49 lead with 6:17 left to play.

Ellwood took the lead right back, as Jalen Furlow and Amari Spencer scored on consecutive possessions to make it a 53-50 game with 5:17 left.

The Bobcats closed the gap to 55-54 before Bakauri Jackson hit a layup and the free throw after being fouled to give Hatch the lead at 57-55 with 2:58 left.

Goldsby hit a pair of free throws before Ellwood’s Michael Smith scored on a runner to make it 59-57 in Hatch’s favor with 2:32 left.

Goldsby added two more free throws to extend the lead to 61-57, but Ellwood’s Leon Sanders hit two free throws after being fouled in the bonus to make it 61-59 with 1:48 left.

The Eagles got the ball back with a chance to tie it after a Hatch turnover, but Goldsby got a steal after the ball was deflected off of Spencer’s leg, as he finished the fast break with a layup to extend the Bobcats’ lead to 63-59 with 52 seconds left.

Sanders got the ball for Ellwood on the next possession and hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left, but he was called out of bounds as he stepped out just before hitting the shot.

The Eagles were forced to foul to try and extend the game, as Goldsby hit two more clutch free throws and Deizman Ellis hit the game’s final basket for the Bobcats.

The game went back and forth, as there were four ties and 13 lead changes on the night.

Jackson led Hatch with 19 points, while Goldsby had 18 points and Brandon Jones had 10 points for the Bobcats.

Spencer led the Eagles with 16 points, while Furlow had 14 points and Sanders had 9 points.

Ellwood will take the floor again on Tuesday at home against Keith starting at 5 p.m., while Hatch will play again at Choctaw County on Tuesday at 5 p.m.


Hatch 58, ECA 8

The R.C. Hatch Lady Bobcats defeated the Ellwood Christian Academy Lady Eagles 58-8 on Saturday at Ellwood.

The Lady Bobcats held the Lady Eagles scoreless in the second half, as Hatch took a 28-8 lead into halftime.

Narcissie Howard led the Lady Bobcats with 11 points, while Jiamond Mines had 9 points, Trinity Chandler had 8 points and Erica Bennett had 7 points for Hatch.

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