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Hawks top Tigers
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Khiree Martin scored a game-high 12 points in the finals Tuesday to lift Hickory Creek to a 35-17 win over Irving College. - photo by Jeffery Simmons

Figuring out the top seed for the District 1 tournament took three tiebreakers. Hickory Creek made any district debate moot once action began.

After finishing the season as one of three co-champions, the Hawks captured the District 1 championship Tuesday night, downing top seed Irving College 35-17. It came one night after Hickory Creek beat West Elementary, the other team tied for first in the regular season, to advance to the finals.

Khiree Martin had a huge night for the Hawks, scoring a game-high 12 points in the championship. Maddox Baker added nine points, while tournament MVP Carter Simpson added six as the Hawks completed their quest to be the district’s top squad.

Hickory Creek coach Mike Denning knew the district parity and was happy to see his team come out on top in the end.

“All of the teams in our district really challenged each other and I saw a lot of growth,” said Denning. “I’m very proud of the guys and the progress they made." 

Denning added, "They worked hard and never quit. When challenged, they didn’t sulk, they went after it harder. I am blessed to have been able to coach them.”

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The Hawks came out Tuesday on a mission, dominating from the onset as Irving College never was able to find its footing.

Martin was the catalyst, scoring six quick points in the first quarter. Martin continued his onslaught in the second quarter, capping an 11-0 Hickory Creek run with a three-point play.

Hickory Creek led by as many as 19 at one point in the second quarter before Mathew Roller was able to complete a three-point play for the Tigers. Irving College went into halftime trailing 23-7. 

The Tigers were never able to make a push in the second half. Baker secured his all-tournament spot with five points in the second half for the Hawks, while Aiden Odineal and Keyton Reno, also all-tournament selections, each added buckets.

John Gillespie rounded out Hickory Creek’s scoring with four points.

Roller led Irving College with seven points, followed by Leo Castaneda with six. Spencer Stubblefield and Wesley Clendenon had two points apiece. Roller and Castaneda were named to the all-tournament team from the Tigers.

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