HUNTSVILLE TIMES LADIES CLASSIC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Huntsville 33, Hazel Green 31: Wade lifts Panthers to first Huntsville Times Ladies Classic title
(al.com/ staff reports) MADISON, Alabama — A wide smile stretched across her face as Shaquera Wade walked off the floor at James Clemens thinking about the future.
Wade and her Huntsville basketball teammates got over the hump — accomplishing a first in the process.
Behind Wade’s 17 points, Huntsville held off Hazel Green 33-31 to claim The Huntsville Times Ladies Classic tournament title.
The win marks Huntsville’s first Classic championship.
“Winning this is big because of the good teams you have to beat to get this trophy,” Wade said. “But now it’s time for us to go get a state championship.”
To claim the program’s first Classic title, Huntsville (15-1) had to go through the tournament’s winningest coach. No coach has won the tournament more than Tim Miller. He dominated the event while at Bob Jones and he won the event last year during his first season at Hazel Green.
This year, the gap between first and second was narrow.
Class 7A No. 2 Huntsville took a 16-15 lead into halftime and the Panthers never built a wide cushion in the second half.
“This game sort of describes our season,” Huntsville coach Krystle Johnson said. “Hazel Green has a good, strong post player that caused us some matchup issues. But just like this season, we faced some bumps in the road and found a way to overcome.”
Class 7A No. 5 Hazel Green (12-3) made a late run. Trailing by six, Rayven Pearson made a basket and Lara Tanner followed with a 3-pointer that pulled the Trojans within one with 2:01 remaining. But the Trojans could not take the lead.
Following a Ta’Naisha Hill free throw, Huntsville forced a turnover and Wade made a basket with 25 seconds remaining to secure the win.
Hill finished with 11 points. Chloe Long led Hazel Green with 15 points and Pearson tossed in 10.
Huntsville now has beaten Hazel Green twice this season, including a 33-29 win Dec. 1 at home.
“We had to overcome a whole lot in this tournament,” Johnson said. “And we had to do it while playing some really good teams. This should help us as we move forward. That’s what we’re hoping.”
In the third place game of the Huntsvile Times Ladies Classic, Oakland (Tenn) defeated Lee-Huntsville 77-53. Shelby Gibson scored 22 points to lead the way for Oakland, Ansley Eubanks added 16 points. For Lee, Kenysha Coulson tossed in 13 points.
HAZEL GREEN DEFEATED NATIONALLY RANKED OAKLAND (TENN) 60-45 IN THE SEMIFINAL
ROUND OF THE HUNTSVILLE TIMES LADIES CLASSIC.
HUNTSVILLE ADVANCES TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WITH 52-50 WIN OVER LEE-HUNTSVILLE
GAME HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPENING ROUND OF THE HUNTSVILLE TIMES LADIES CLASSIC
HUNTSVILLE 51, LOCUST FORK 33
AUSTIN 60, BUTLER 20
LINCOLN COUNTY (TENN) 60, SPAIN PARK 53
HAZEL GREEN 47, MADISON ACADEMY 25
FLORENCE 51, COLUMBIA 45
DECATUR 38, J.O. JOHNSON 36
OAKLAND (TENN) 52, JAMES CLEMENS 34
LEE-HUNTSVILLE 59, BOB JONES 48