Tigers Fight Their Way back to District Championship Game

    In the second 8th District semifinal at Lyle Dunbar Gym on Monday night, the Hopkinsville Tigers and the University Heights Academy Blazers engaged in a hard-fought battle with the season on the line. With every rebound and basket hotly contested, the Tigers emerged victorious, beating the Blazers 55-52.

    Both teams showed a solid defensive effort throughout the game, with shots in the lane drawing plenty of attention and contact. The Blazers had a solid first quarter and seemed in control, but the Tigers refused to give up and battled fiercely for every basket.

    KeiMarion Smith provided critical plays for the Tigers, while Cameron Brown and Matthew Hauret stepped up for the Blazers. UHA appeared to have the momentum going into halftime, scoring the last nine points of the half to take a 31-26 lead.

    The Tigers showed their resilience and determination by staging a comeback, with Smith, Leavell, and Williams giving their all on the court. The Tigers’ size and length in the second half gave them a significant advantage in the paint, making scoring challenging for the Blazers.

    Antonio Williams came up big for the Tigers in the second half after being held to just two points in the first half. Hopkinsville began to drive the ball to the basket, attacking the Blazers with KeiMarion Smith and Bubba Leavell.

    In the game’s final moments, Bubba Leavell’s drive down the lane with 36.5 seconds left gave Hopkinsville a 53-52 lead, and Antonio Williams secured the win by knocking down two free throws with 7.7 seconds left. UHA’s three-point attempt just ahead of the buzzer missed the mark, and the Hopkinsville sideline erupted in celebration.

    KeiMarion Smith led the Tigers with 17 points, while Antonio Williams and Bubba Leavell had 12 points. With this win, Hopkinsville advances to the district championship game for the third straight year, where they will face Christian County for the second consecutive year. Hopkinsville’s record now stands at 13-15, with five wins in their last six games. Leavell is just four points away from scoring 1,000 points in his high school career, according to records.

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