Simmons makes five 3s, Hornets win season series with Keith

Published 11:23 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2017

PLANTERSVILLE — Dallas County took advantage of turnovers and rode the hot hand of Mario Simmons to a 64-43 win over county rival Keith on Wednesday night.

Simmons knocked down five 3-pointers and scored 18 points as the Hornets pulled away from Keith (7-11) to win the season series between the two schools. Dallas County (10-4) won the first game in Orrville, but Keith had won the second matchup at Wallace Community College Selma.

On Wednesday, the Hornets left no doubt who the better team was.

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“They are a really solid defensive team and for us to be able to get some easy baskets tonight in the fourth quarter was huge for us,” said Dallas County coach Willie Moore.

Simmons knocked down a deep 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter and to put Dallas County up 43-32. The Hornets slowed the pace in the fourth quarter, putting the ball in point guard Andre Hall’s hands and letting him run the offense.

Keith put several defenders on Hall, trying to slow the Hornets, but Dallas County continued to get easy buckets and build its lead.

“We got ourselves in a bad situation,” said Keith coach Tommy Tisdale. “Our job was to stay within striking distance. Hats off to them.”

The Hornets led 12-10 after the first quarter and built a 34-22 lead at halftime. Simmons made four 3-pointers in the second quarter to give the Hornets’ some momentum.

“He played the best game he’s played of the season,” Moore said of Simmons.

“The way he shot the ball tonight is what we see at practice.”

Keith pulled within six after a dunk by Jimmie Powell, but the Hornets went on a 9-4 run to end the quarter. During the run, Kedrick Wilson had a dunk and Josh Benford made a jump shot to put the Hornets up 40-30. Simmons’ buzzer beating three came next and likely put the game away for good.

Keith didn’t get closer than 11 the rest of the way.

The game was originally scheduled for Monday, but was moved because of the College Football Playoff Championship game between Alabama and Clemson. Moving the game means both teams will have short rest before big games on Friday night.

Dallas County will host Calera in an area game the Hornets must win if they hope to host the class 5A, area 6 tournamnet, while Keith will play at Francis Marion.

“This was probably everything we can out of an area tournament or area game without playing an area game,” Tisdale said. “We are auditioning for February so when it comes down to a one day season, we want to be able to win that one.”

Hall had 15 points for Dallas County and Benford joined him in double figures with 12. Mark Young led the Bears with 11 points, including two 3-pointers.

Powell and Tyre Webster also had 10 points apiece for Keith.