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Demopolis snipes Livingston

Demopolis used the three-ball in the first half on its way to a commanding lead then weathered the fourth-quarter storm to beat Livingston 82-72 Tuesday night.

“We got some shots to fall and that’s a plus. That was the first time we’ve done it all year,” head coach Jesse Bell said of his team’s success from long range. “If your shots are falling, you can beat a lot of people. If not, it’s going to be a long night.”

The Tigers unleashed a barrage of three-pointers in the game’s first two quarters, shooting an astonishing 7-of-8 from beyond the arc in the half to carry a 38-23 lead into the half.

Bell knew at halftime that the Cougars, coached by his uncle, George Hale, would make their run at some point in the second half.

Demopolis outran Livingston in the third quarter, stretching its lead to 64-43 by the start of the game’s final period. Then the Cougars began their onslaught.

“We played pretty good defense early,” Bell said of his squad’s first-half success on the defensive end. “We’ve still got to work on moving our feet on defense. That’s something we’ll continue to work on in practice.”

Livingston exploited Demopolis’ defensive deficiencies late, driving to the hoop and absorbing fouls on multiple occasions.

After Livingston closed the gap to 14 points, Bell had seen enough and opted to put his starters back on the floor.

“We’re trying to get our bench players a little more playing time,” Bell said of his desire to get his younger players some experience heading into the area tournament. However, Livingston did not provide Bell ample opportunity to succeed at that goal Tuesday.

The starters, who had returned to the bench after stretching the DHS lead back out, were reinserted to close out the game when the Cougars knifed the advantage back to nine points with 42 seconds to go.

“We’ve got to put people away,” Bell said. “We’re going to be alright.”

Anthony Hardy led Demopolis with 20 points on the night. Jeremy Wallace finished the game with 19 while Jonathan Marshall added 17.

“With those three guys, you’ve got to have that kind of balance and we’re finally putting it together,” Bell said.

Donald Wright led all scorers, dropping in 32 points for Livingston. Willie Watson contributed 19 in the loss.

The game was the first of a stretch in which the Tigers will play nine contests in 13 nights.

Bell said he knows that at the end of 13-night run, his team will find it more difficult to hit long-range shots. But he also said that he is prepared for such struggles.

“What we want to do right there is take time off the clock,” Bell said.

Demopolis plays its next game on the road against Livingston Thursday night. The action tips off at 5:30 p.m. with the B-team boys.