Three Arab teams advanced to Saturday’s finals of the Marshall County Tournament for junior high and middle school basketball teams, but all three had to settle for runner-up trophies.
• 8TH GRADE GIRLS
DAR 32 Arab 28
The Lady Knights made a great comeback in the second half but a scoreless (0-9) first quarter was too much to overcome.
“We didn’t play bad, we just missed a couple of shots and let them get a few shots we shouldn’t have,” said Coach Terance Maze.
The girls settled in and played much better the second half, despite coming up short.
“We put it together and had a really good third quarter,” Maze said. “I was proud of the way they fought back and we actually had a good shot of winning the game.”
Bennett Elrod and Karlie Westbrook led Arab with seven points each. Julie Stapler added six.
Several seventh graders played on the team throughout the season after some eighth graders were promoted to the JV team.
“That was a huge deal,” Maze said. “They stepped up and have matured into good basketball players.”
• 7TH GRADE GIRLS
Albertville 33, Arab 21
“We got better as the game went on, but like the eighth grade, we dug ourselves in a hole early,” said Maze.
The Lady Knights were down 22-8 at the half. Lilli Reynolds led Arab with eight points and Alli Persle had six.
To reach the finals, the seventh graders had to win Friday against No. 2-seeded Boaz and they did, 25-17. Ava Wooten had 11 points and Persle added nine.
For the seventh grade girls, the season was filled with adjustments.
“Losing some seventh grade girls off the team to play with the eighth grade was tough for them,” Maze said. “Some of them had to play in different roles than they were accustomed to, but they stepped up and played hard all year.
“I can honestly say that both teams were better at the end of the year than at the beginning, so I was very proud of all of them.”
• 7TH GRADE BOYS
Albertville 42, Arab 35
Going into the game, the Knights knew a win would not be easy as Arab was already 1-2 with the Aggies this season.
“They’re tough competition for us, but they got hot in the second quarter hitting 3’s and outscored us 16-8 and that really hurt us,” said coach Jason Guger.
Evan Brazelton and Drew Puccio had 14 points each for the Knights.
Guger was proud of the team for its improvement during the year.
“We peaked at the right time. We went from 9-9 as a No. 4 seed to the county final so we can’t complain about that,” he said.
Despite coming away from the tournament with a second-place trophy, Guger was proud of the entire program.”
“Three out of four teams representing our school in the county finals was a big deal for us,” he said. “Obviously, we travel well in that situation.
“We had great fans and the cheerleaders were awesome. It was a good experience for the kids.”
• George Stone and Mike Tankersley contributed to this article.