It was a battle between two of the top teams in Class 6A this afternoon in Rainsville as @AlaHoops #1 Hartselle faced off with #7 Mountain Brook.
Mountain Brook moved down to 6A this season after finishing runner-up in 7A last season and winning the previous three state championships.
The Tigers were coming off their first loss of the season less than 24 hours earlier on the road at Austin.
The Hartselle defense picked up three quick steals that led to buckets by Brody Peebles and Kiah Key to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead. The Spartans tied the game at 6-6 with two three-points. A Peebles’ 5-2 run gave the Tigers an 11-8 lead and forced Mountain Brook to call a timeout at the 4:16 mark of the first quarter. The Spartans answered with their own 5-2 run to tie the game 13-13. An Elijah Kellick basket gave the Tigers a 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Hartselle extended their lead to 26-19 with an 11-6 run midway through the second quarter. Key had five of the Tigers’ points in the run. Following a Tigers’ timeout with 3:35 left in the second, Hartselle went on a quick 6-0 run to push the lead to 32-19. The Spartans battled back with an 8-2 run to cut the Tigers’ lead to 34-27 heading into halftime.
Peebles finished with 15 points in the first half to lead Hartselle, while Key added 9 points. Mac Swoger had seven points to lead the Spartans.
Mountain Brook opened the third quarter on a 7-3 run to cut the Tigers’ lead to 37-34. Following a technical foul on the Spartans’ head coach, Hartselle went on a 14-0 run that included 11 points from Peebles to extend their lead to 51-34. Mountain Brook answered with a 14-7 run to close the quarter to cut the Tigers’ lead to 58-48. Peebles had 19 points in the quarter to keep the Tigers in the lead.
The Tigers opened the fourth quarter 6-0 run to push the lead to 64-48. The Spartans cut the lead to 67-57 with a 9-3 run that ended with a Hartselle timeout with 3:25 remaining in the fourth. Mountain Brook continued their comeback with a 7-2 run to get within five points with less than a minute remaining. The Tigers scored five points in the final minute to help push the lead to 74-67. A Paulson Wright three-pointer at the buzzer made the final score 74-70.
Hartselle finished the game with 14 points off turnovers and hit 16 of 21 foul shots.
Peebles finished with 43 points to lead Hartselle (9-1). This was the third time this season that Peebles has scored 40+ points. He had 45 in the win over McGill-Toolen and 41 in the win over Austin.
Key, who fouled out late in the third quarter, had 11 points for the Tigers, while Trent Wright added nine points and Luke Ward scored eight.
Mountain Brook (9-4) was led by Wright’s 18 points, all from three-pointers, while Mac Swoger added 17 points.