By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Hardin County Tigers led by Brian Brown are fundamentally sound.
Brown leads both the Tigers and Lady Tigers during District 13-3A doubleheaders. The task for the Tigers Friday night in the Brighton Gymnasium was to spoil the Senior Night of Cardinals Anthony Smith, Sherrick Malone and Jabari Weathers.
“To get two wins in one night against two well coached teams, I have to give him credit because he does a great job with his guys at Hardin County,” Brighton Head Coach Stan Gatlin said. “Both the girls and the guys, the Hardin County girls were the No. 1 seed coming in at 6-1 in the league. We made it interesting now. We put something in their minds for next week.”
The Brighton girls outlasted the Lady Tigers 43-33 in the first game. The nightcap was an overtime thriller with Smith hitting the game-winning shot to prevail the Cardinals to a 66-64 victory.
The Cardinals and Tigers were in a seesaw battle with Brighton players like Kyron Middlebrooks, Kejuan Dyson and DeMaryo Gatlin making clutch plays down the stretch of regulation.
Brighton erased a 51-44 deficit in the fourth quarter with a pair of Dyson foul shots and a Smith triple.
Down the stretch Smith proved he was a senior leader with 5 points. Dyson hitting a couple of foul shots helped Brighton deadlock the game at 56-56.
In overtime the Cardinals broke a 59-59 tie when Weathers hit a three-pointer to give Brighton a 62-59 advantage. Hardin County hit a triple of its own to deadlock the game at 62 all.
Smith regain the lead for the Cardinals with a basket. Once again the Tigers tied the game with a bucket.
With less than 15 seconds on the clock, the Cardinals raced across the half court line and executed one of Gatlin’s classic plays. The play was designed to create an opening for Smith. When Dyson located Smith, the was wide open for the easy layup and victory.
Now it’s own to the postseason and district tournament play with positive momentum.
“We have to clean up stuff by watching film,” Gatlin concluded. “We had to also clean up the mental mistakes we are making like ill advised turnovers, ill advised passing we are making leading to turnovers. That junk should not be in our game this late in the season. We’ve just got to do better and a lot of that is film.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.