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Senators’ 3-pointers stop Hillcrest


Hillcrest’s D.J. Johnson (22) shoots past Sparkman’s Devin Hankins. Johnson finished with 10 points. (Photo by Robert Sutton)


HANCEVILLE | The Hillcrest boys basketball team fared much better than its girls counterparts, but in the end Sparkman picked up another win against the school, this time by a final of 48-41.

The Senators had the lead throughout Wednesday’s Class 6A Northwest Regional game, but never by more than 13 points.

Hillcrest’s girls lost 55-25 earlier in the day.

"We have made it to Hanceville seven of the past eight years," Hillcrest coach Scott Suttles said. "We knew coming in that we couldn’t play up and down the court with Sparkman. We made our first 3-pointer, and we only trailed 10-5 at the end of the first."

The Senators went up 12-8 in the first few minutes of the second quarter, but a 3-pointer by Jaren Turner got Hillcrest within one.

Sparkman finished the quarter on an 11-6 run, giving the Senators a 23-17 lead at halftime.

The game was still either team’s to win at that point, but the Senators maintained discipline and hit more shots outside the arc than the Patriots.

Both teams were 15 of 36 shooting, but Sparkman hit seven 3-pointers compared to Hillcrest’s one.

"I’m disappointed that we didn’t shoot better, but sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other team," Suttles said.

Both teams continued hitting shots in the third quarter, and the Patriots (23-9) whittled the gap down to 28-24 midway through the third quarter.

That was when the Senators hit one of their 3s, putting them up 31-24 and deflating the Patriots’ sails.

"When they started making 3s, our guys put their heads down," Hillcrest senior La’Marcus Matthews said. "All we could do was get back on defense."

The Senators (27-7) ended the third with a 37-24 lead. The Patriots battled back in the final eight minutes but had too large a hole to dig out of.

Hillcrest made it 42-37 halfway through the fourth, but the Senators made a couple of stops on defense and hit their free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

"Fifty-five days ago, we lost a game by 35 points," Suttles said. "To say we have progressed since then would be the understatement of the century."

D.J. Johnson led Hillcrest in scoring with 10 points and also had five rebounds. Also scoring for the Patriots were James Thomas (9 points), Rayshawn Tubbs (8), Turner (8) and Matthews (6).