By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Etowah ran out to a 14-8 first quarter lead against Southside and never looked back en route to a 48-32 victory in Class 5A, Area 10 action last Tuesday in Attalla.
The Blue Devil’s win was bittersweet, however, the hosts played without head coach James Graves, whose father passed away earlier this week.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Graves and his family,” said Southside head coach Kevin Troup. “We grew up together, and he is one of my best friends. It’s a great tribute the way his players stepped up to play for him tonight.”
Etowah junior varsity coach Blake Hudson filled in for Graves and won his first varsity game.
“I had complete faith the team would do what they were told,” said Hudson. “They did and we won.”
Darius Bush scored a game high 17 points for Etowah.
“Darius is our point guard and a good floor general,” Hudson noted.
Etowah led 14-8 after one quarter and 26-13 at halftime. Southside cut the Panther lead to 38-28 after three quarters. Paced by Bush, however, the Blue Devils finished the game with a 10-4 run.
“Etowah killed us on the boards,” said Troup. “We had trouble blocking out, and they were getting all of the offensive rebounds. Coach Graves’ team stepped up big tonight, and that’s a great tribute to him.”
Saige Benson led the Panthers with 11 points, while Drew Mullinax added six.