The Scottsboro varsity boys basketball team was disappointed by Monday’s Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal loss to Center Point.
But the fact that these Wildcats played in that game was a story in itself, Scottsboro head coach Kenny Hill said.
“After losing seven seniors last year, people said Scottsboro basketball looked like we were about to go on downhill slide,” Hill said. “The guys on the team just wouldn’t allow it. They worked hard. They prepared hard. Individual guys got better and my hat is off to them. They made it easy to coach, because you didn’t have to coach effort or the will to work to get better. This team battled everyday.”
That trend continued Monday, but Center Point proved too tough for the Wildcats en route to a 57-37 victory.
Center Point advanced to play Etowah in today’s Class 5A Boys Northeast Regional championship game.
Meanwhile, Scottsboro finished 15-17.
“It meant a lot to get here,” said Scottsboro senior forward Nate Boleware of reaching the regional tournament. “A lot of people doubted us. We had to work hard to get here. I’m proud of my teammates.”
Scottsboro built a 9-4 lead over Center Point (16-14) after one quarter, but the Eagles tightened their defensive clamp on the Wildcats after that. Scottsboro managed only eight points in the second quarter and seven in the third, trailing 19-17 at halftime and 32-24 at those quarter breaks. Center Point opened up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter as Scottsboro was forced to gamble more on defense.
“It was an athletic team,” Hill said of Center Point. “We knew they were going to be tough defensively. They pretty much took two out of three of our guards out of the game, and that’s guys that have been playing pretty good. Once we got through the first quarter, they just settled in, and, they just beat us. They made it really, really tough for us on offense. The five blocked shots they had was big. They had 40 rebounds to 26 [for Scottsboro], and we haven’t been outrebounded that bad all season. Our guys were working their tails to box them out, but those guys were just athletic and strong. We worked on it all week, but just couldn’t simulate [in practice] how big and athletic those guys were.”
Only three Scottsboro players scored points. Butler Bell had a game-high 25 points while Boleware netted 10 and JaVaris Branford had two. Roderick Orr scored 15 points and Jordan Chatman added 11 for Center Point.
Bell, a junior, said the Wildcats will build on this season’s regional berth.
“These seniors left a good foundation for us,” Bell said. “Coach Hill told us in the locker room right now is the time to start working for next year. There’s not a let-up time. I’m planning on coming back and going farther next year, and I know all our guys want to do that too.”