FLORENCE — Lexington took advantage of its size inside to build a big early lead and the Golden Bears went on to beat Colbert Heights 72-51 in the first round of the TimesDaily Classic on Monday at the Bradshaw Dome on the campus of Florence High School.
Junior forward Kane West scored 23 points to lead help Lexington advance to the quarterfinal round. The Golden Bears will play Deshler today at 6 p.m.
An 11-0 run in the second quarter put Lexington in complete control. The Bears were able to build the lead by getting easy putbacks off offensive rebounds.
“We have three guys who have some size and they play really hard, so that’s a big advantage for us,” Lexington coach Jake Herrera said. “We preach that if we don’t shoot it well we have to get on the offensive boards and that was big for us today.”
Lexington led 15-10 after one quarter and went up 24-14 early in the second after a 3-pointer by Marshall White. Colbert Heights cut the margin to 24-17 when Eli Gipson nailed a 3-pointer, but the Bears responded with the 11-0 run. Austin Gray scored 7 of the 11 points, including a 3-pointer as Lexington pushed the lead to 37-17 and eventually took a 38-19 advantage into halftime.
Colbert Heights chipped away at the lead in the third quarter, but still trailed 50-36 entering the fourth. The Wildcats then were able to force some turnovers and cut the lead to single digits at 57-48 after two free throws by Login McDougal with 4:15 to play.
The Wildcats, however, would get no closer. West hit two free throws and Gary scored on a drive to start a 13-0 run which put it out of reach.
“I challenged them to compete and pull away there in the fourth quarter,” Herrera said. “Kane West made some big shots and went hard to the glass. We relaxed a little after halftime, but we played hard in the fourth quarter and if you play hard good things usually happen.”
White finished with 14 points and Gray had 13 for Lexington (4-11). Tim Gipson scored 14 and Jaxson Lawler 12 for Colbert Heights.
“I wanted to get us back in this tournament because there is always some really good talent here,” Herrera said. “We hope we can do something in our area this year and play some better teams along the way, this is nothing but beneficial for us.”
• Deshler 52, Haleyville 35: Deshler was able to pull away in the third quarter to remain unbeaten and advance to the second round.
The Tigers led just 12-11 early the second period before going on an 11-0 run. A 3-pointer by Marq Malone started the run and JP Robinson had two layups as the Tigers went into halftime leading 23-12.
Haleyville cut it to 25-20 early in the third quarter after back-to-back 3-pointers by Grayson Long. Robinson then had a pair of baskets in a 9-0 spurt that made it 34-20. The Tigers put it away with an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
Kevon Summerhill led Deshler with 12 points and Robinson scored 11. Long and Ben Lowman scored 10 points each for Haleyville.
• Lawrence County 81, Colbert County 40: Lawrence County outscored Colbert County 31-9 in the second quarter en route to a blowout of Colbert County.
The Wildcats advanced to play Wilson in today’s quarterfinal round at 7:30 p.m.
Lawrence County led 12-8 after one period. Hayes McNutt then hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the second quarter as Lawrence County pulled pushed its lead to 43-16 at halftime. The Wildcats continued to pull away in the second half.
McNutt finished with 20 points to lead Lawrence County (2-10) and Tanner Staffs scored 12. Rico Baxter and Jaylen Merritt scored 8 points each for Colbert County (4-6).