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The Keith Bears celebrate after beating the Autaugaville Eagles 70-49 to win the Class 1A Area 5 championship in Orrville on Monday. -- Robert Hudson

Keith tops Autaugaville, wins area tournament

Published 11:27pm Monday, February 11, 2013

ORRVILLE — A big second quarter set the tone the rest of the way for the No. 4 Keith Bears, as they defeated the Autaugaville Eagles 70-49 to win the Class 1A Area 5 championship.

Tommy Tisdale, head boys basketball coach of Keith (19-10, ranked No. 4 in Class 1A), said the Bears did a better job of hustling and fighting for loose balls in Monday’s win.

“At the end of the first, we changed up and did some things that we hadn’t done in the last two times we played this particular ball club. So we’ve been watching film, and I’ve told my guys that the only thing I could see is that we were getting outhustled,” Tisdale said. “We got outhustled at Autaugaville, we got outhustled here. I think Autaugaville is a well-coached team. I challenged my guys all week in practice about hustling and intensity, and tonight everybody stepped up.”

Keith led 14-10 after the first, but Anfernee Simmons opened the second with a fast-break layup that extended the Bears’ lead to 16-10.

Autaugaville responded with a shot by Dillon Howard and a 3-pointer by Dewayne Smith, but Keith then scored the next 13 points, including eight points by John Pettway and five by Rodney Ellis to help make it a 29-15 game with 1:22 left in the first half.

Xavier Robinson scored in the paint for Autaugaville to stop the run, but Demond Holmes and Simmons each scored baskets in the finals seconds of the quarter to help send Keith into the half leading 33-19.

Keith outscored Autaugaville 24-19 in the third to take a 57-38 lead into the final quarter.

Pettway led the Bears with 21 points, while Ellis had 14 points and Simmons had 12 points.

Ellis earned tournament most valuable player honors for the Bears.

Robinson and Devonte Wells each had 12 points for the Eagles, while Howard added 12 points.

Keith will host Holy Spirit in the sub-regionals on Friday at 7 p.m.

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