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Tubbs, defense lead Hillcrest to area crown

Rayshawn Tubbs (15) made 7 of 8 3-pointers and scored 34 points for Hillcrest in a 68-46 win against Tuscaloosa County on Monday night. (Photo by Jason Harless)

TUSCALOOSA | Rayshawn Tubbs might have had nights like this, but not in such an important game.

Tubbs, a junior guard, went 7 for 8 on 3-pointers and scored 34 points as the Hillcrest Patriots beat the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats 68-46 for the Class 6A, Area 13 championship Monday night.

"What can you say about Rayshawn?" Hillcrest coach Scott Suttles said. "He hasn’t shot that well before in his sleep."

Hillcrest (22-8) dominated throughout, outscoring the Wildcats (22-7) in every quarter. The Patriots started the game on an 8-0 run. The Wildcats didn’t score until four minutes had elapsed.

Tuscaloosa County climbed back into the game, though, and Hillcrest took an 11-8 lead into the second quarter. From there, the Patriots exploded offensively, scoring 17, 20 and 21 points in the second, third and fourth quarters, respectively.

The Patriots also performed well defensively, outrebounding the Wildcats and limiting the number of second-chance points for Tuscaloosa County.

Suttles said he was proud of his team’s offense, but said it was defense that won the game.

"Scoring’s been a premium for us this entire year," Suttles said. "I thought defensively was where our bread and butter was."

Still, the Patriots weren’t without star power on offense. Tuscaloosa County coach Curt Weeks said Tubbs was the difference for the Patriots. Weeks had his defense key on Tubbs, contesting almost all his shots, yet he came up big time after time.

"We came in ready to play," Weeks said. "We knew we had to key in on No. 15, Tubbs. Give him credit. He stepped up and made tough shot after tough shot after tough shot."

Sophomore Justin Guy led the Wildcats with 10 points, while Justice Green and Que Hall followed up with nine points each.

Weeks said he was proud of the way his team played, but that it’ll have to rebound quickly for the subregional round.

The Wildcats will play Area 14 champion Hoover, while Hillcrest will play Minor.

"It’s do-or-die time now," Weeks said. "We live to fight another day."