NORTH COURTLAND — Shoals Christian players were flying high after a stunning upset over No. 3-ranked Covenant Christian in the Class 1A, Area 16 tournament semifinals Thursday. But it didn’t take long for R.A. Hubbard to smack the Flame back down to earth.
The Chiefs held Shoals Christian to just 10 points through three quarters in romping to a 50-26 victory in the tournament championship game.
Hubbard (21-5) will host Belgreen in a sub-regional game Thursday while Shoals Christian (11-13) will travel to play Tharptown in its sub-regional contest.
“We read our headlines (after the upset),” Shoals Christian coach Carl Bullard said. “We weren’t ready to play tonight. We were still thinking about the game Thursday. One of the most difficult things to do is win a game like that and then get back up to play a team like Hubbard. We didn’t play well at all, but luckily we’ve got another chance to play.”
Grace Matthews and Lacey Lindley combined for 32 points in the Flame’s win over Covenant, but a tenacious R.A. Hubbard defense held the two players to a combined 17 points, with Lindley accounting for 12 of those.
The outside shots that were falling for Shoals Chistian on Thursday night clanged off the rim against the Chiefs.
“We had a terrible shooting night,” Bullard said. “I don’t know what the percentage was, but it had to be close to single digits. We just couldn’t get anything going as far as shooting was concerned.”
R.A. Hubbard had a lot to do with that, using its quickness to force contested shots, and selectively using the press to force turnovers that led to easy baskets.
“I’m proud of the way we played defense,” R.A. Hubbard coach Nicholas Vinson said. “It’s a great credit to the players, they really worked hard. We wanted to speed (Shoals Christian) up and make them do things they were uncomfortable doing.”
Hubbard led 25-9 at halftime, then outscored Shoals Christian 15-1 in the third quarter to take a 40-10 lead before Vinson emptied the bench in the final eight minutes.
Alexandria Mason led Hubbard with 13 points while Alex Gholston and Oresha Sherrod each had nine.
“I felt it was important for us to get off to a fast start and make them chase us,” Vinson said. “They were able to get off to a fast start Thursday and make Covenant chase them, and we wanted to reverse that. We started the game with a lot of energy and didn’t get caught off guard.”
And having seen the Flame knock off the Eagles on Thursday, Vinson and the Chiefs knew what they were capable of.
“Shoals Christian is steadily improving and we knew they had a good team,” Vinson said.
“You never know what’s going to happen in tournament basketball. The game isn’t played on paper. I’m glad we came out focused tonight and stepped up and played well.”
Red Bay, Tharptown claim area titles
Red Bay 42, Phil Campbell 19: Red Bay held Phil Campbell to five points or less in all four periods to claim the Class 2A, Area 16 championship with a 42-19 victory.
The Tigers led 11-5 after one period and 27-10 at halftime. Phil Campbell was unable to get back in it in the second half.
“We didn’t shoot it well tonight,” Red Bay coach Donnie Roberts said. “We got in some early foul trouble that hurt us, but the girls played good defense.”
Kasey Sparks and Lexi Lindsey scored seven points each to lead the Tigers (26-3).
Red Bay will host Lexington in a sub-regional game Thursday. Phil Campbell (16-14) travels to Tanner for its sub-regional game.
Tharptown 67, Belgreen 36: Danielle Creasy scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter, and Tharptown shot well from the 3-point line, cruising to a win in the Class 1A, Area 15 tournament championship game.
The Wildcats will host Shoals Christian in a sub-regional game Thursday, while Belgreen will travel to No. 2 R.A. Hubbard.
Tharptown (19-7) sank 10 3-pointers in all, led 27-8 after the first quarter and expanded it to 43-18 by halftime.
Kamri Sears added 15 points for the Wildcats.
Allyson Bragwell and Lexie Bragwell scored 11 points each to lead the Bulldogs (9-14).
Four Trojans qualify for state: Chandler Sartain placed second in the 152-pound weight division to lead four Muscle Shoals wrestlers into this week’s state meet in Huntsville.
Also qualifying were fourth-place finishers Joseph Green (106 pounds), Cody Koch (145) and Raheem Harris (160).
Greyson Beaver, Jeremy Thigpen and Jacob Hardin finished fifth but failed to advance to the state meet.
As a team, the Trojans finished in seventh place at the sectional tournament.