The Robert E. Lee Generals upped their area record to an even .500 with a 61-48 win over Sidney Lanier on Friday.
Lee senior guard Kendarius Hartwell sealed the victory with an and-one finger roll with 1:49 to go to give the Generals a nine-point lead and allowed Lee to kill the clock to end the game.
“I kind of felt like that was the game-winning shot,” Hartwell said. “Just trying to help my team win and make it to the area tournament because we haven’t made it in a while. I’m just trying to keep doing what I do best and help the team win.”
Hartwell scored 12 points and had three steals for the Generals (11-9, 2-2 Class 6A, Area 6). He came through in the clutch while the Poets (3-18, 0-3) made life difficult for Lee’s big men Ken’darrius Hamilton and Trenton Clayton.
Hamilton scored 15 points, mostly from the foul line, and grabbed 14 rebounds. Clayton, normally a double-digit scorer and rebounder, was held to nine points and five rebounds. Pervis Martin also scored 11 points.
“I think the guards played well tonight,” Lee coach Bryant Johnson said. “I don’t think we turned the ball over too much, they made free throws, they attacked when they were able to attack and they defended well. Even though the (Lanier guard Laron Sawyer) had 19 points, I think fatigue played a factor on him down the stretch because he had to do a lot. I think that’s a credit to our guards and their play tonight.”
Sawyer scored 19 points to lead the Poets, who fell behind 21-8 after the first quarter. Lanier battled back to cut Lee’s lead to 31-27 at the half. That’s when Johnson had a word with his team.
“I really can’t tell you what our coach said, but he got on to us,” Hartwell said. “We always let the lead go for some reason, we just slack off like the game is over, but he got on us and we executed.”
The Generals travel to Gadsden City today, and Lanier plays at Central-Hayneville on Monday.
Robert E. Lee girls 66,
Sidney Lanier 19
Lee (12-7, 4-1 Class 6A, Area 6) held Lanier (2-11, 0-4) to just seven points in the second half after taking a 34-12 lead into the break.
Tykeria Williams led the Generals with 15 points. Tiara Gordon added 11 points, and Tia Thicklin chipped in 10.
Jasmine Taylor and Kendal Hawkins each scored six points to lead the Poets.
Lanier plays at Central-Hayneville on Monday, and Lee travels to Gadsden City today.