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Keith defeats Hatch

ORRVILLE — For the tip-off the crowd in Keith’s High School arena was in loud and their Bears were just as loud on the court as the got by R.C. Hatch 56-52 in an area region game.

“Our fans got in there,” said Keith coach Tommy Tisdale. “Well they did and they stayed loud the entire game and really helped us out.”

The Bears (19-7) were able to ride an early lead and some good free throw shooting at the end for the victory.

“I give it all to these guys, they went out there and played their hearts out,” said Tisdale.

Keith was able to jump out off 10 quick points from Gerald Mathews and Terry Jones Jr., who finished with a double-double, to take a 14-11 lead by the end of the first quarter.

But it was the second where the Bears pulled ahead.

With stifling defense and even production from nearly everyone on their squad, Keith was able to move unto halftime with a comfortable 31-19 lead.

However, Hatch (11-7) was not able to go down quietly.

The Bobcats turned up the pressure in the third and starting hitting shots.

Devantae Paige was able to get two key 3-pointers to pull with in one midway through the third quarter.

However Keith was able to weather the storm and lead by to eight by the end.

“We were able to absorb that run there in the third, that was key,” said Tisdale.

The fourth went back and forth between the two but the Bobcats could not seem to catch up, as every comeback attempt had an answer.

In the end it was the Bears ability to hit free throws that put them over the top.

“They made their free throws and we didn’t,” said R.C. Hatch coach Homer Davis.

“We played with heart, it just doesn’t always go your way.”

Keith went 5 for 9 at the line, but Dashaun Lewis hit the back end of a one and one to put Keith up 4 with just 25.3 seconds to play, after that time ran out and Keith earned the right host the regional tournament next week.

“This has been a long time coming, the boys deserved this.” said Tisdale.

Both Keith and R.C. Hatch will have seniors’ nights tomorrow night at their respective gyms.

Keith will take on Akron and Hatch play 3A Sumter County.