MOULTON — Few expected East Lawrence to upset Hatton, not even the Eagles' Camron Garner.
Garner came out with a 3-pointer from the right side of the net, and bounced the Eagles to a 51-39 win over Hatton in the opening round of the Lawrence County basketball tournament.
"I knew what was on the line," he said. "I knew that we had to come out here and upset Hatton. We're last in the county, so I just had to come in here and do my thing."
Garner finished with 19 points for East Lawrence (6-11 in Class 4A, Area 15), helping the team to their first county win Friday.
"The main thing I told our guys is we just had to be physical with them. They're a physical team. Those guys have played a lot of basketball. They've been around a long time. They've got a lot of experience," East Lawrence coach Dale Walker said.
The Eagles found success by containing Hatton's star players, limiting Laron Cooper to 12 points, and Ty Terry to seven.
"Our guys came out flat for whatever reason," Hatton coach Rusty Murks said. "I preached that to them all year, play for 32 minutes. Sometimes you dig yourself in a hole you can't get out of, and that's kind of what happened."
After East Lawrence led 23-15 at half, Hatton answered by guarding Garner.
Reed Gillespie tied the score at 24, assisted by Cooper, but Malik Garth answered with a jumper to push the Eagles to the win.
"I knew I had to take over," Garth said. "I had an open lane, so I knew I had to take it."
Marcus Hampton added eight points for East Lawrence, while Terrence Deloney added three and Bobby Watkins two.
For Hatton (11-7 in Class 2A, Area 15), Evan Franks added nine points, while Jake Bradford added four. Gillespie and Reid Harrison followed with three points each.
Of the win, Walker was impressed with East Lawrence's effort.
"We showed some toughness, that was the main thing," he said.
R.A. Hubbard 71, Lawrence County 51: After the Chiefs came out strong in the first quarter, Jesse Childress rattled R.A. Hubbard with a 3-pointer to put Lawrence County ahead 24-23.
The lead was short-lived. The Chiefs answered with an 11-point run, leaving the Red Devils trailing at half 34-24.
R.A. Hubbard's Deontae Carter led all scorers with 18 points, followed by Austin Beasley, who scored 17. Tevin Ray added 14 points, John Owens recorded eight and Tony Harris added seven for R.A. Hubbard (10-2 in Class 1A, Area 16).
For Lawrence County, Jordan Simpson and Montel McDaniel added 12 points each, while James Vernon added nine. Jesse Moreno totaled five points, while Donovan Wheeler, Carson Jones and Logan Coan added two each. East Lawrence will face R.A. Hubbard today in the county championship game at 7:30 p.m.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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