The Scottsboro varsity boys basketball team did what head coach Kenny Hill asked of it ahead of its showdown with archrival North Jackson.
“We’d talked about coming into this environment,” Hill said. “It’s a beautiful gym, the right amount of seats, so it gets packed when you get our fans and their fans in here. (North Jackson was) coming off a good win against Fort Payne. I told them it’s an electric environment, don’t let the outside things get in your head.”
Scottsboro fought through some early struggles and ultimately pulled away from the previously undefeated Chiefs in the fourth quarter for an 88-66 victory Thursday night in Stevenson.
Scottsboro (3-1) has won 21 straight games against the Chiefs in a rivalry series it now leads 54-11.
B.J. Harris totaled 24 points, four assists, five rebounds and four steals for Scottsboro while Jacob Cooper recorded 21 points — he hit all 11 of his free-throw attempts — eight rebounds and six assists. The Wildcats also got 11 points from Dylan Fairbanks, eight points from Parker Bell, eight points and four steals from Tyson Sexton, seven points from Jordan Davis and four steals from Noah Linville.
Tyrus Jackson scored 24 points for North Jackson while Carter Gass had 16 points and two assists and drew two charges. Eli Gill pitched in nine points for the Chiefs and Trevor Anderson added seven points and five rebounds.
Both teams battled foul trouble and turnover problems in the first half. Scottsboro led 14-6 after one quarter before surging to as large as a 17-point lead in the second on the way to a 34-19 halftime advantage.
Scottsboro began the third quarter with two straight 3-point plays from Cooper to push its lead to 21 points. North Jackson (2-1) rallied late in the quarter, however, getting a 4-point play from Carter Gass and a layup and a 3-pointer from Jackson to cut Scottsboro’s lead to 50-41.
But Cooper scored on the inside on the Wildcats’ next possession, Harris added a free throw and a layup and Cooper hit two more free throws before Tyson Sexton’s layup with 2.8 seconds left in the quarter sent the Wildcats into the fourth period with a 59-47 lead. Harris then scored Scottsboro’s first nine points of the fourth quarter to help the Wildcats pull away.
“I like how we came out and stayed poised,” Hill said. “We handled their pressure well, even though we had (a lot of) turnovers. A lot to them were unforced errors” and didn’t led to transition baskets for North Jackson.
North Jackson head coach Zac Barringer said Scottsboro’s ability to handle his team’s defensive pressure was big factor in the outcome.
“They’ve got really good guards — I don’t think we had many steals,” Barringer said. “We never got into a smooth offense. It was hard to score in the half-court. Just couldn’t get anything going.”