Bobcats Return to Final Four

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

MOBILE — The R.C. Hatch Bobcats will be going to Birmingham for the second straight season as they victimized the Pickens County Tornadoes 81-38 Saturday morning in the Southwest Regional 2A championship game.

The Bobcats will now move on to defend their 2003 state championship in their quest to become the first high school in the state to win seven state championships.

The first half of the game was played almost flawlessly, with a total of only eight turnovers committed by both teams. Hatch, playing a zone defense, never trailed. The Bobcats took a 28 -22 advantage into the half.

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In the third quarter the Bobcats opened with a tenacious man-to-man defense and went on a 7-0 run to go up by 13, with senior Billy Campbell scoring five. R.C. Hatch held Pickens County to 7 points in the third and 9 points in the fourth. The Bobcat defense also stole the ball 14 times in the second half.

“I told them at the half that we will have to play differently,” Hatch head coach Eugene Mason said. “We must step it up defensively”.

Campbell, the tournament MVP, led all scorers with 21 points, including a couple of thunderous dunks, and grabbed 5 rebounds. Senior Fred Lewis added 18, eighth grader Frankie Sullivan dropped in 17. Freshman Calvin Pope pulled down 8 boards and scored 7 points. Senior Quinton Collins handed out 5 assists and 5 points. Billy Byrd’s 13 points led Pickens County.

The R.C. Hatch Bobcats return to the hardwood tonight, and will match up with Pisgah, at 8:30 p.m. in the state boys 2A semi-finals at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.