Hornets escape Devils

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2007

Maplesville almost pulls off upset

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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PLANTERSVILLE – Dallas County narrowly escaped what would have been a major upset Friday night.

The Hornets, ranked No. 7 in 5A, almost suffered their second loss of the week to an opponent in a smaller class.

But Josh Spears and Andrae Nelson combined for 27 points to help lead DCHS to a 70-61 win over 1A Maplesville.

The Hornets (24-3) were just days removed from a loss on the road to Southside, the No.1 team in 4A.

Although DCHS got the win, it had no answer for Nick Andrews. Andrews led all scorers in the game with 25 points, including key jumpers down the stretch that kept Maplesville in the contest.

The Red Devils (10-9) took the lead four times in the fourth quarter, and three of those came courtesy of Andrews. His layup with 2:23 left in the game put Maplesville ahead 61-60.

But it was Spears who would have the final say in matters. He led the Hornets with 14 points and gave them the lead for good on a 3-pointer that made it 63-61 with 1:32 left. He added to that seconds later on an old fashioned 3-point play, making it 66-61.

Showing they cared nothing about records or rank, the Devils opened the game on an 8-2 run and didn’t allow DCHS to pull away until the final seconds of the night.

The Hornets ended the first quarter on a 10-4 run and held a 16-14 lead.

It was Maplesville that began with the hot hand once again in the second, scoring the first six points and taking over the lead 20-16. The Devils ended the first half on a 7-2 stretch over the final 1:32 to go into the locker room with a 34-33 edge. An identical scoring run to end the third allowed Maplesville to take a 49-47 lead going into the fourth.

Percy Harrell, who scored 11, gave DCHS its first lead of the fourth quarter with a layup nearly three minutes in, making it 56-54. From that point on, the lead changed four more times, and there were a total of 18 lead changes in the game.

John Andrews added 10 points for Maplesville, and Brian Bailey had eight.

Nelson scored 13 for DCHS, and both Thomas King and Felix Baker had eight.

Dallas County gave away leads and eventually a win in the first meeting of the season with Maplesville.

Kim Ross wasn’t content to let that happen again. Completing her shots with fist-pumping enthusiasm, Ross scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the fourth and led the Hornets (5-19) to a 54-52 win.

Although Ross didn’t hit the game-winning shot, she had a part in the play.

Ross took advantage of a ball thrown away by Maplesville and hit a wide-open Bianca Heard, who put in the game-winning layup with 5.7 seconds left.

Ross’ four-point play, coming after she was fouled on a 3-point shot, was the signature point of a 15-4 run that gave the Hornets a 44-42 lead with 5:21 to go in the fourth. They took a four-point lead shortly thereafter and had control most of the latter half of the fourth quarter.

Morgan Hamner led Maplesville (12-7) with 18 points, but was held to one shot from the field in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by as much as nine, DCHS began to climb back into the game with a 6-0 run late in the third. That cut Maplesville’s lead to 36-31. The Hornets scored nine of the first 11 points to start the fourth and tied the game on a Jessica Spears layup.

The Devils, who were ahead at the end of each of the first three quarters, took their final lead on a Tanisha Bailey layup that made it 52-51 with 3:01 to play.

Kassandra Bell had 12 points for Maplesville, and Kelsey Langston had eight.

Asherica Heard added seven for DCHS.