HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – One day a year for the last three years, Alabama basketball fans in the Huntsville area have had the chance to see the Crimson Tide up close in the Rocket City Classic at the Von Braun Center.
It was a homecoming for John Petty, Kira Lewis and Riley Norris, as the Tide hosted Liberty this year.
In the first half, the Tide were down by two, but Petty gets the hook-shot to fall and picks up a foul. The game’s all tied up at 16-16.
Under a minute to go in the half, the Tide were up by two when Lewis comes up with the steal, attacks the basket, and finishes with the left-hand shot. Alabama led by one at the half.
In the second half, the Tide came out strong with Donta Hall passing inside to Petty, who finishes, and picks up the foul.
Norris missed a shot, but Hall picked him up with a slam dunk putback.
Alabama went on to win that game 84-75, with Hall getting a career-high 21-points.
UAH tipped things off in the 4:30 game against Fort Valley State.
Towards the end of the first half, UAH was up nine when Tanner Finley picks up a steal and coasts in for the easy layup at the other end.
The Chargers led by 10 at the half.
In the second half, JJ Kaplan kicks it out to Seth Swalve who knocks down a three-pointer.
Then Sam Orf, passed inside to Kaplan, who then passed back out to Orf, who nailed a three.
UAH wons that one 83-59.
UAH Head Coach Lennie Acuff said the venue was tough.
“Well, we’re used to playing in front of a lot of people in our building, so it’s a little different in a bigger building,” he said. “It’s a little more scattered, you’re the early game’ and you know Alabama is the main event and we know that, but I was real proud of our guys. We got off to a good start, the ball went in the goal, we played clean, and we shared the ball, and when we do that good things happen.”