Brody Peebles scores 46 in Tigers’ 76-71 comeback victory over Athens

ATHENS – Brody Peebles took matters in his own hands in the Tigers 76-71 comeback victory in overtime at Athens.

With the Tigers trailing 57-52 with less than four minutes to go, Peebles accounted for the final 24 Hartselle points. He scored 21 of his game-high 46 points and assisted on Kiah Key’s three-pointer to start overtime.

The first half was all Hartselle as they led 40-24 going into halftime.

The Tigers broke open the game in the first quarter with a 17-0 run that gave them a 24-7 lead with two minutes left. Athens held Hartselle scoreless over the final two minutes but could only manage to cut the lead to 24-9 at the end of the quarter.

The Tigers maintained their lead through the second. They extended it 20 points on three different occasions before ending the half up by 16.

Athens dominated the third quarter on both ends of the floor. They outscored the Tigers 24-6 to take a 47-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Golden Eagles kept the pressure on Hartselle early in the fourth as they built a five-point lead, 57-52, with about four minutes to go.

Hartselle coach Faron Key called a timeout to calm his team down. Coming out of the timeout, Peebles took the game over. He scored two quick points on a drive to the basket but Athens answered with a three-pointer to increase the lead the six, their largest lead of the game at 60-54.

The Hartselle defense stepped up with steals on the next two possessions that led to easy layups by Peebles. Following a free throw on the second layup, the Tigers had cut the lead to one, 60-59.

The Tigers would keep the pressure one and eventually retake the lead. They extended it to three a couple of times but would see Athens come back to tie the game.

The final three-point lead for the Tigers came with under 30 seconds to go in regulation at 67-64. Following a timeout, the Tigers were inbounding the ball near half-court. On the pass, the ball bounced off an official and was picked up by an Athens defender who raced to the basket for two points to cut the lead to one, 67-66.

Following the turnover and made basket, coach Key was questioning the call and was hit with a technical foul which gave Athens two foul shots and the ball. Braden Gross stepped to the line with the chance to give the Golden Eagles the lead. He missed the first one and made the second to tie the game at 67-67.

Both teams missed shots at the end of regulation that would have won the game for their teams.

Hartselle won the tip to start overtime as Tad Sivley tipped the ball to Peebles. He quickly passed it up the court to a wide-open Kiah Key who calmly knocked down a three-pointer to give the Tigers a 70-67 lead. The Tigers would go on to outscore Athens 9-4 to secure the victory.

Peebles tied a career-best with 46 points to lead the Tigers. He finished with 15 made baskets for 34 points and was 12 of 14 at the free-throw line. He also had four steals.

Also standing out for Hartselle was Sivley, who finished with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, nine steals, and one block. Trent Wright added five points, six rebounds, three assists, and four steals, while Kiah Key finished with seven points, but none bigger than the three to start overtime. Jackson Raley dished out six assists.

Athens was led by Gross, who finished with 25 points, and Kerron Hambrick, who added 16.

COACH KEY’S THOUGHTS: I love the resiliency of my team. They did a really good job of fighting through adversity. This was a tremendous team effort tonight. Brody did a great job leading our team in the closing minutes of the game.

UP NEXT: 6A #3 Hartselle (19-4) will play at Decatur on Friday night.

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