R.C. Hatch defeats Red Level, 75-45

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Boone Newspapers

With a potential 1-vs.-2 matchup against top-ranked Altamont lurking Friday, R.C. Hatch didn’t want to have to work too hard against overmatched Red Level in Tuesday morning’s Regional semifinal. Fortunately for them, they didn’t have to.

Frankie Sullivan scored a game-high 15 points and added 9 assists as the No. 2 Bobcats cruised to a 75-45 win over the Red Level Tigers. Hatch scored 25 first quarter points, led 36-16 at the half, and saw all 13 players on the roster score and earn at least 5 minutes on the floor.

“I’m very happy with the way we played,” said Hatch head coach Homer Davis. “We wanted to come out in the first quarter and take (Red Level) out, and they did exactly what we wanted them to do, exactly what we had worked on for several days. We wanted to make sure we didn’t get in early foul trouble and let teammates help out on defense. We didn’t want them to gain any kind of confidence.”

Hatch was in control from the opening tip, as a Calvin Pope basket less than two minutes in capped a 9-0 game-opening run. The Bobcats went on to finish the first quarter with a 25-10 lead thanks to eight points from Lorenzo Jones and the unselfish play of star guard Frankie Sullivan, whose first-quarter assist total – four – was more than any Red Level player finished with.

“My teammates came through,” Sullivan said. “Sometimes I look for my shot, but they told me before the game to pass the ball, and they took over the game.”

Hatch’s first-half lead eventually ballooned to 23 points on a Sullivan jumper with 5:22 to play in the second quarter. With things well in hand Davis substituted liberally, but it made little difference for the Tigers as they scored only six second-quarter points and trailed 36-16 at the break.

After a relatively quiet second period, the Hatch offense turned it back on in the third to the tune of 24 more points and a 60-30 lead. A De’Marcus Porter jumper in the final ten- seconds re-established the 30-point margin at the buzzer.

The Bobcats finished the game a sizzling 32-of-60 from the floor for 53.3 percent shooting to Red Level’s 28.1 percent. Four different Bobcats finished in double figures: Sullivan with 15, Pope with 14, and Phillip Johnson and Jones with 12 each. They were followed on the scoresheet by Hugh Turner with 5, Willie Coleman with 4, Antwain Starks with 3, Nicholas Johnson, Kejuan Brooks, Eric Sullivan, and Porter with 2 each, and Samuel Brown and Kelvin Dudley with 1 each.

Malcolm Lawson led the Tigers with 12 points.

Davis said it wasn’t all that tough to keep his team focused despite their second straight blowout win.

“It’s not hard to motivate them,” he said. “We tell them, practice is going to be hard, the game’s going to be easy. They play in practice just like they do in the game, so the game is easy … every game for us is a championship game.”

This Friday, Hatch will play in an actual championship game against Altamont, 61-39 semifinal winners over Leroy. The Knights were the team that ended the Bobcats’ 2005 playoff run in the Sub-regionals while Pope was out injured, but Sullivan says payback isn’t a factor.

“Not too much,” he says. “We don’t look for revenge. We’re the same against anybody we play.”

R.C.Hatch, 47

Washington County, 43

As usual, the R.C. Hatch Lady Bobcats got their opponents’ best shot at Tuesday’s Southwest Regionals. As usual, the game came down to the fourth quarter. And as usual, the Lady Bobcats pulled through in the end.

Five days after surviving a stiff sub-regional challenge from Shades Mountain Christian, Hatch used a big four-point possession to break a fourth-quarter tie and defeat Washington County 47-43. With the win, Hatch advances to face Calera in the Regional championship for the second consecutive year

“We didn’t come out here to lose,” said Hatch coach Walter Abrahams. “We had some early foul trouble but other than that I thought we played pretty well.”

Hatch entered the fourth quarter with a 37-30 lead and with 6:34 to play still led by six, 41-35, after a Vinecia Dudley jumper. But Washington County went on a 6-0 run, capped by an Amber Speights basket with 4:34 to play, to tie the game at 41.

The Lady Bobcats responded with the biggest play of the game. Dudley connected on a six-foot jumper with 3:32 to play and drew a foul. The senior missed the free throw, but Hatch’s La’Toria Paige grabbed the rebound and scored the putback for a four-point lead.