D200119 lawrence tournament

Hatton players celebrate their victory in the Lawrence County Tournament final at Lawrence County High School on Saturday. [JERONIMO NISA/DECATUR DAILY]

It feels weird writing this now. After all, we’re not even to the middle of April yet. 

Normally we’d be through the halfway point of softball season, and also getting ready for the home stretch of baseball. Then you’d also have a little golf thrown in there (last year’s county tournament was a ton of fun and I was greatly looking forward to this year’s). 

Alas though, 2020 had different plans. On campus classes were officially canceled two weeks ago and school’s been out even longer. There hasn’t been a high school sporting event since the middle of March. There have been rumors of possibly resuming with summer play if things clear up but right now that seems like a pipe dream. Right now we’re forced to live with the fact that high school sports in Alabama are done for the 2019-20 school year and won’t resume.

That’s a tough pill to swallow. 

Lawrence County had given us some great games during the fall and winter seasons, but unfortunately, the spring season will not get the same opportunity. We had barely just scratched the surface of spring sports before the rug was pulled from beneath. 

So that brings us here. The annual story I do ranking the top 10 sporting events I covered involving a Lawrence County team. It’s April, I shouldn’t be writing this story in April and I don’t like writing this story in April, but we have to go with the hands we’re dealt so here we go. 

10. East Lawrence vs. Lawrence County softball

Well after saying all that about spring sports being canceled it’s ironic that a spring sport game starts off this list. Luckily I was able to catch a couple good games before it all ended and this was one of them. 

This was actually the second meeting between the two and the first wasn’t pretty with Lawrence County running away with it. The turnaround East Lawrence made from that first encounter to this one was remarkable. The Lady Eagles led by four at one point thanks to a bomb from Briley Pitt. Lawrence County eventually found their bearings and came back to force extra innings and then went on to win it in the eighth. This was a fun affair that equally showcased the grit of Lawrence County and the growth of East Lawrence. 

9. Lawrence County vs. Hatton county finals (volleyball)

The county finals in volleyball took place at R.A. Hubbard this year and it looked like Lawrence County was going to breeze to the win. 

The Red Devils swept East Lawrence, took the first set over Hatton 25-16 and led 17-8 in second set. 

It was over and then it wasn’t. Hatton came storming back to win the set 27-25. It set up a wild conclusion that saw Lawrence County escape with the win by the skin of their teeth. 

8. Hatton vs. Cold Springs 

The fact that the Hatton Lady Hornets were even in the finals of the 2A regional basketball tournament at Wallace State against the defending state champions Cold Springs is a testament to the team’s will. They had lost their star player in the very first game of the season. How did they respond? By reeling off a 20 plus win season and accomplishing pretty much every goal they set out to. 

This all led to a rematch of the previous year’s regional semi finals, only this time Hatton was more prepared. Despite not having Josie Harville like they did the year before, and despite losing Mallory Lane early in the game, the Hornets took it too the defending champs. 

Even in defeat there was positive as every player on the floor for Hatton in the game’s defining moments will be back again next year. 

7. Lawrence County vs. Russellville (football)

Lawrence County and Russellville is a whole lot of fun no matter what sport it is, but football just seems to ramp up the energy. The Red Devils came so close to taking down their rival but fell just short. 

Nevertheless, it was an exciting 48 minutes of play that was filled with action from start to finish.

The ending drama of Lawrence County driving to tie the game made for a compelling game to watch. 

6. R.A. Hubbard vs. Lindsay Lane, area championship. 

These two met four times this season but it was their meeting in the area championship that took the cake. 

The gym was packed from wall to wall, literally. There were so many people that numerous fire code violations had to have been broken.

All those in attendance got what they came for as well. 

By the end of the game the two teams were trading blows like two heavyweight fighters and had everyone on the edge of their seat. 

Unfortunately, a miscommunication from the referees to Hubbard’s players robbed the game of the truly spectacular ending it deserved, but nevertheless, it was a great game worthy of a spot on this list. 

5. Hatton vs. Russellville softball

One more spring game that managed to make the list and it was a doozy. 

Hatton gave up six runs in the second inning and trailed 6-1. But don’t worry it was just to make things interesting. 

The Hornets used the rest of the game to climb out of the whole, finishing things off with a win over the Golden Tigers 7-6. This was the last game I covered before the end of spring sports and if it had to end at least it was an exciting one to go out on.

4. Lawrence County vs. West Point (volleyball)

A few days after escaping Hatton the county tournament finals, they had to do the same in the area finals. 

Facing West Point at home, the Lady Devils went down two sets to one. One more set loss and they would have finished area runner-ups and would have had to face Jasper in the first round of the regional tournament. 

Instead, Lawrence County made a spectacular comeback in the sense that the final two sets were never in doubt. The Red Devils dominated and took home the crown, They would eventually make it all the way to the state semi finals, while West Point wound up losing in the first round of the regional tournament to Jasper. 

3. Lawrence County vs. Madison Academy (basketball)

This was a great game and a very emotional night for the Red Devils. 

After 13 years, Lawrence County punched their ticket to the regional tournament at Wallace State and they did so in exciting fashion. Madison Academy did their best to deter the dream, but the Red Devils finished strong, dominating the close of the game and leaving no doubt that they were Wallace bound. 

2. East Lawrence vs. Hatton (football)

If you want a game that’s simultaneously fun and weird at the same time, this was the one for you. 

Hatton opened the game with a touchdown and East Lawrence following shortly after. The rest of the game was all defense. 

The second half was literally played on one side of the fifty. In one of the craziest finishes I’ve ever seen, East Lawrence defeated Hatton with basically a walk off safety as they tackled the Hatton QB in the endzone with barely any time left on the clock to win 9-7. 

1.Hatton vs.  Lawrence County, county finals 

What an emotional roller coaster ride. 

This game represented Hatton’s season to a T. The Hornets without Josie Harville were still the top seed in the county tournament, but Lawrence County controlled the game throughout. That is until freshman Kailyn Quails turned in a career game. Dropping 25 points and leading an epic comeback. The game was exciting for every second and Hatton pulling off the emotional win was one of the top moments in the county of the school year. 

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