Hatch last of local teams still playing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

“You ain’t coming home.”

That was Frankie Sullivan’s reply when asked last week about the expectations that R.C. Hatch will win a 2A state championship this year.

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The people in Uniontown are crazy about their basketball, and rightfully so.

The Bobcats are trying to win their second consecutive title and ninth in school history.

But something odd happened on the way to Birmingham. Some worthy teams in the region fell unexpectedly.

Hatch doesn’t mind being the last man standing, but it’s a bit of an odd feeling.

“I feel proud we’re going on,” Sullivan said. “Wilcox-Central beat us twice this year, and Southside is so good. I could have sworn those other teams were going to make it because they were all doing so well. I know all those guys, and I root for all of them.

“I wish they could have made it.”

Almost 24 hours after both Southside teams lost in the regional semifinals, the Bobcats were one of just two teams remaining along with the Selma girls.

The Lady Saints lost the day after Hatch won the Central Regional final, and the Bobcats are now carrying the flag into Birmingham.

A state title would be the fourth in five years for Hatch and the second under coach Homer Davis.

He knows that for all the talent and experience his team has, it is fortunate to be in this position.

“A lot of good teams have fallen by the wayside,” Davis said. “I know it’s a blessing we’re here. I give God all the praise and glory. We don’t take any team for granted – we respect everybody. Every game is a championship game for us. The guys understand that.”

Hatch’s first matchup in the Final Four is against Tanner Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. The Rattlers beat West Morgan 67-58 in the Northwest Regional at Wallace-Hanceville last week.

Hatch has to be looked at as favorites to come out on top of the Final Four.

But the team isn’t taking a false sense of security into the games this week. The Bobcats are planning to take the same workman-like attitude to the floor they always have.

“Every man is a man,” Sullivan said. “No man is a beast. Nobody can just intimidate other people. But if you stand up and fight, you’ve got a chance.”