Kiah Key dribbles by Austin's Cam Collins in the Tigers' 60-55 win over Austin. Photo by Jim Meadows. Kiah Key dribbles by Austin’s Cam Collins in the Tigers’ 60-55 win over Austin. Photo by Jim Meadows.

DECATUR – The Hartselle Tigers held off an Austin fourth-quarter rally to pick up a 60-55 win over the host Black Bears on opening night for both teams.

The Tigers led 12-8 at the end of the first, 32-27 at halftime and 49-41 at the end of the third.
They increased their lead to 10 points in the fourth quarter before Austin made a run to cut the lead to one.

“I liked our kids’ toughness in the victory,” said coach Faron Key. “We were able to do some things tonight that we were unable to do last year when we lost numerous close games.”

Kohl Key led the Tigers (1-0) with 14 points while hitting four three-pointers. Ryan Dunn added 12 points and five assists. Rylan Smothers had 11 points and nine rebounds, while Kiah Key had 10 points and six assists.

“We got off to a bad start but stayed in the game with our effort on the defensive end,” Key said. “We started to heat up in the second quarter from outside the arc and continued into the third. This is an area where we needed to improve from last season, and we did that tonight.”

Harry Malone led Austin (0-1) with 15, while Jordan Johnson and Isaiah Fuller each had 13.