By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Munford Cougars earned a spot in Brighton for the Region 7-3A Boys’ Tournament tonight beating the Arlington Tigers in a thriller 47-44.
“We were just playing hard,” Cougar forward Kylon Hall said. “We wanted it. We got took. It’s a blessing to be playing in Brighton.”
The Cougars entered the Region 7-3A first round match-up as the No. 1 seed from District 13-3A after winning the championship on Tuesday night. The Tigers were the No. 4 seed from District 14-3A.
The underdog Tigers kept the game close throughout leading 17-14 after one quarter. The hot hand early in the game was Munford guard Kameron Foster. Returning for a two-game suspension, Foster scored the first 9 points for the Cougars with a pair of three-pointers and a three-point play.
Arlington rallied behind the shooting of guard Cody Hailstock. The junior hit a jumper and nailed a triple near the end of the opening period to gave the Tigers the advantage.
The Cougars outscored the Tigers 10-6 in the second quarter to take a 24-23 lead into the locker room. Munford standout and District 13-3A Tournament MVP Jonathan Stark scored the final 5 points for the Cougars in the half, his first of the night. The Tigers used a combination of Hailstock, Justin Boring, Adarius Avery and Justin Montgomery to face-guard the explosive Stark throughout the night.
With Stark being hounded by the Arlington defense, Hall stepped up in the third quarter with 6 points, a block and several rebounds. Munford led 35-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, Arlington trimmed the Cougars lead to 41-39 with less than 3 minutes remaining. Hall made the score 43-39 with a put-back bucket. Then with a minute and 23 seconds left, Tiger guard KJ Bates drained a three-pointer to make the score 43-42.
Hailstock gave Arlington the lead at 44-43 hitting a long jumper. Munford took the lead for good with 23.4 seconds remaining when Stark hit a pair of foul shots. Andre Bell iced the contest for the Cougars by making two free throws.
The season came to an end for the Tigers, and the Cougars advanced to the Regional Semifinals to play the Craigmont Chiefs Tuesday night in Brighton.
“We’re going to go up there and play hard,” Hall concluded. “We’re going to play like we usually play.”