Hatch wins ninth state title

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 2, 2007

BIRMINGHAM &045; The R.C Hatch Bobcats claimed its record ninth state championship last night at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, beating the Barbour County Jaguars, 78-71 in the Class 2A Finals.

Junior Frankie Sullivan scored 22 of his game high 33 points in the second half to lead Hatch. He also handed out eight assists, grabbed seven rebounds; three steals, and was voted the tournament’s MVP.

Calvin Pope, who played his final game as a Bobcat, added 17 points and seven rebounds. He was named to the All-Tournament team. Antwaine Starks, another senior, contributed 10 points, all in the first half.

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Hatch hit eight of its first 10 shot from the floor to start its 2A championship game with Barbour County. They built a 17-5 lead over Barbour County less than five minutes into the game. The Bobcats led 27-19 after the first eight minutes of play. Pope had 10 points on five of six from the floor, but also drew his second foul. Sullivan added five assists in the quarter, as the Bobcats shot 72 percent from the floor in first.

Barbour would get as close as six midway through the quarter. Sullivan would score the next four points for Hatch, before a three point field goal by Barbour County would get them as close as six points again. The Bobcats would take a 45-36 lead into the half. Sullivan finished the first half with 11 points. Hatch dropped in 38 of its 45 points from within the paint, but was zero for seven from beyond the arc.

The Bobcats missed its first four shot attempts to start the third quarter, before Sullivan would hit four in a row to go back ahead by double digits at the 5:12 mark of the quarter. Sullivan came back to knock down Hatch’s first three-pointer of the game with 3:30 left in the quarter. The Bobcats would nudge ahead by 14 with less than two minutes to go in the quarter and would take a 62-50 lead into the fourth. Sullivan netted 13 of Hatch’s17 third quarter points.

Sullivan picked up two offensive fouls in fourth, including his fourth with five minutes left to play in the game and the score, 66-57.

Barbour would get as close as nine when Sullivan would unload a triple from way out to send the Hatch crowd roaring.

With less than a minute to play Barbour County would cut its deficit to five on an offensive rebound and put back, but Sullivan followed by knocking down one of two free throw attempts to keep it a two-possession game, 75-69 with just 43 second left. The Jaguars would get one more field goal before the game ended, 78-71.

Hatch wins second consecutive championship and its fourth championship in five years.

The Bobcats will return three of its five starters to make its run for a 10th championship next season. Sullivan, Demarcus Porter, and 6-7, Nicholas Johnson will be back next year.