LUVERNE TAKES A-TOWNPublished 5:59pm Monday, December 23, 2013
Luverne methodically cruised to a 64-48 victory over Elba Saturday night to win the 47th annual Andalusia Invitational Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row.
From the start of the game, LHS took a lead it would never give up. The Crenshaw County Tigers led 15-8 after the first period, and 31-16 at halftime.
EHS, coached by former Andalusia Bulldog Karl Bledsoe, came out in the third period and played better to outscore LHS 17-15. The Coffee County Tigers trailed 46-33 going into the final eight minutes of their ball game.
Luverne used its size and speed to dominate on the offensive end with the help of tournament MVP Donta’ Hall, Quez Watkins and DeAnthony Rutledge.
Watkins shot the first basket for LHS, a 3-pointer, to give the Tigers the early lead.
Hall later dished in a turnaround jumper for a 5-2 lead. Watkins got a steal and cut the game to 7-2 after a failed 3-point play try.
Luverne’s Uriah Brown got a fade away jumper for a 9-2 advantage.
Elba’s Quinton Smith, who scored earlier in the first period, made a tip in to bring the game to 9-4.
Hall got the game going and the crowd revved in the second period with a putback dunk at the start.
Luverne’s Johnathan Champers and Rutledge ansered with a 3-pointer and putback, respectively, for a 22-12 lead.
Smith got in a bucket to bring it back to eight points.
In the third period, EHS turned the tables despite Luverne’s strong offensive game.
Elba’s Denzel Thomas scored his team’s first four points of the third. Nick Green and Smith backed him up with points of their own to cut the game to 38-26.
Hall then got a jumper and a foul, but missed the foul shot, to give LHS a 40-26 lead with 4:16 left.
Cobe Goosby, who played quiet for EHS, got a clean up shot after a good defensive stand to make it 40-29.
Hall later got another putback dunk after teammate Quindarius Thagard missed on a jumper, giving LHS a 44-29 lead.
LHS led 50-38 at the start of the fourth period.
Watkins and Rutledge led LHS with 14 points each. Hall chipped in 12.
Smith had 13 to lead Elba. Green scored 12 points.
Both teams were two of three who played in the state tournament last season.
All-Tournament Team: Wesley Person, Brantley; Spencer Stallworth, Red Level; Jeffery Whatley, Dale County; Cobe Goosby, Elba; Phillip James, Andalusia; DeAnthony Rutledge, Luverne; Nick Green, Elba; JaKeith Edwards, Opp; Jayden Ellison, Andalusia; Preston Sankey, Luverne; Quindarius Thagard, Luverne; and Donta’ Hall, Luverne.