By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Fairview’s girls basketball team outscored Hanceville 44-16 in the third and fourth quarters and erased a one-point halftime deficit en route to a dominant 63-36 home win against the Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Taylor Hollingsworth and Karrah Johnson combined for a 7-0 run to give Hanceville a 20-19 lead heading into the break, but Makenna Butts and Co. used a strong second-half effort to pile on the points and squash the Bulldogs’ bid for their first win of the season.
“They decided to come out at halftime and play ball,” coach Cheryl Mangum said of her Aggie squad, which was fresh off a lopsided 70-15 loss to Holly Pond on Tuesday. “We’ve had kind of a rough season so far. Our confidence level hasn’t been very high, but that helps. We just settled down, and they decided this was a game they weren’t going to lose.”
Butts stole the spotlight with a game-high 18 points, 15 of which came during Fairview’s second-half outburst. The senior added to her total in nearly every way possible, draining lay ups, inside shots, free throws and even a 3-pointer.
“She was caught cold in the first half, but then she got her shot settled in and started hitting her foul shots,” Mangum said of Butts.
Anna Cox was next in line for the Aggies with 11 points, followed by Kylee Bannister and Alley Raper with eight apiece. All of Bannister’s came off the bench in the second half, earning the senior a respectable applause when she exited the floor following a late-game run.
“She’s got a really good mind for the game,” Mangum said of Bannister. “She’s coming along with her skills and getting better.
Raper nailed two treys — one in the first quarter and another in the third — to account for a majority of her total.
Thursday night’s county contest dragged along with both squads combining to take 71 shots from the charity stripe. Fairview wound up 26 of 41 (63.4 percent) from the gimme distance, while Hanceville was 13 of 30 (43.3 percent).
“Mindblowing,” Mangum said of the high number of free-throw attempts. “It’s hard to watch that many except when we’re hitting them. Tonight, we finally made it into the 60s (percentage), which is something we hadn’t done yet.
“It gave them practice on the line in a game so they can think, ‘I can hit this shot.’ If that’s what it took to get them to hit a free throw in a game, then that’s OK.”
Julia Creel and Marlana Johnson each scored five points for the Aggies, and Sarah Harper tallied four. Kennedy Trimble and Skye Hunter both had two.
The Bulldogs, coming off their own drubbing versus Cold Springs on Tuesday, were paced by Johnson’s 12-point performance. She was trailed by Hollingsworth with seven points, and Mariah Twitty with six. Other Hanceville contributors were Brittani Armstrong, four points; Taylor Chambers, three; Haley Wilson, two; and Katie Tankersley and Constance Wren, one each.
Fairview's varsity boys snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-3 with a 49-36 victory over Hanceville, which dropped to 7-4.
Stats were not immediately available at the time this article was published.
The Aggies will hit the road Friday for an area showdown with Saint Clair County. In another battle with area implications, the Bulldogs will host Good Hope at Wallace State’s Tom Drake Coliseum.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.