By Erik Harris
TRUSSVILLE — When the season gets late and tournament play grows near, many teams opt to start all seniors for that game most commonly labeled as Senior Night.
Hewitt-Trussville did not; the Huskies didn’t have enough age to do so in their 61-53 loss to Class 6A Pinson Valley on Tuesday night at Bryant Bank Arena.
The young Huskies had a hard time defending their guests in the fourth quarter, surrendering 23 points that eventually decided a close contest.
“We were a lot more patient offensively than we have been in the past,” said Pinson Valley head coach Clint Argo. “We’ve been playing pretty good lately and it just kind of culminated into that.”
Although Argo wasn’t happy with his team’s overall performance at the charity stripe, his Indians found a way to sink eight of their 10 attempts down the stretch. Point guard Donevan Waldrop made five of those.
That timely shooting went a long way in pushing Pinson Valley past the hosts in a game they led by only two at the end of the third quarter.
With the Indians clinging to a 38-36 lead at the start of the final frame, they went to the deep ball, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to take command of the game.
Waldrop connected on the first one from a few steps beyond the arc before power forward Cornell Hale stretched out of his comfort zone to give the guests an eight-point advantage with 6:32 remaining.
“We took the shot they gave us,” Argo said. “Patience offensively leads you to the shot you want instead of the shot you take.”
Hewitt-Trussville’s Harrison Stanley made things interesting by making four of his next five shots, one of those four coming from 3-point range, but Pinson Valley’s success from the free throw line kept the margin wide enough.
The first half of the game went back and forth, with the Huskies leading by one through the first eight minutes of play and the Indians taking a four-point lead into the break.
A big momentum swing happened when Pinson Valley tightened its defense on freshman Sean Elmore. The Hewitt-Trussville small forward shot 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in the first half, but made only one 3-pointer from there on. He finished with a team-high 14 points.
“I was OK with them taking the three, I know they shoot the 3-ball relatively well, but the way we ran the zone, we forced them a little out wider than where they wanted to be,” Argo said.
Stanley added 11 points and Matthew Hicks pitched in with nine for Hewitt-Trussville.
For Pinson Valley, Waldrop led the way with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists. Hale came away with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Trey Minnifield worked his way to 10 points.
Pinson Valley will celebrate Senior Night on Thursday against Walker. The Huskies are set to do battle with Class 6A rival Clay-Chalkville on Friday night. Tipoff times are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.