AU Signee Hooping to Lead Team to State Title

R.C. Hatch High standout Frank Sullivan, who signed with Auburn in November, is leading a team that is on a mission to win another state title.

Montgomery, Ala.--With no look passes, steals on defense, good range on his jump shot and more than a point per minute of playing time in his state playoff victory on Wednesday, it is easy to see why R.C. Hatch High School star Frank Sullivan will get a chance to continue to play the game at the college level with the Auburn Tigers.

The six-foot-two, 185 senior guard led his team to a 76-61 victory over Lanett to move to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A Central Region final where the Bobcats will play Pickens County at 5:20 p.m. on Friday at the Joe Reed Acadome on the campus of Alabama State University.

The winner of that game will advance to next week's Final Four in Birmingham, a place Sullivan has been before as he has started on R.C. Hatch teams that won state titles when he was a seventh grader, eighth grader, ninth grader and last season as a junior.

"It would mean a lot to me to win another championship because I would love to go out a winner," says Sullivan, whose team improved its record to 25-1 vs. an athletic Lanett squad that came into the game with a 22-5 record.

"My teammates are really getting it rolling and we are playing team ball," Sullivan says. "Everybody is together and focused and when that happens you can do great things."

Sullivan, shown at the Joe Reed Acadome on Wednesday, is one of four players who signed with the Tigers in the early signing week last November.

Against Lanett, Sullivan put together an impressive statistical line. He hit 8-15 shots, including 2-5 threes, and made 8-9 free throws. He finished the game with 26 points, five rebounds four assists, four steals and a blocked shot in just a bit more than 22 minutes of playing time.

Lanett, which features a deep team with good size for a 2A school, had no answer for Sullivan no matter who tried to guard the cool and calm senior. The only time the Panthers made a run was when Sullivan got his second foul late in the first quarter and was held out of the game until 3:57 was left before halftime.

Lanett had cut what had been an early 19-4 R.C. Hatch lead in the first quarter to six points, but when Sullivan returned the Bobcats quickly extended the margin to 14 points by halftime. The lead grew to 22 by the end of the third quarter and the Hatch reserves saw plenty of action in the fourth quarter.

With so much playoff experience under his belt, Sullivan showed no nerves whatsoever on the big stage of the state playoffs. "It is just like driving a car," he notes. "Once you start driving, everything becomes comfortable to you," he says.

The guard, who also played forward in the Lanett game, adds, "You can't get too comfortable that you get cocky."

Sullivan plays defense against Lanett.

R.C. Hatch coach Homer Davis says that he believes Sullivan is playing his best basketball down the stretch of his senior year. "Going to the Steve Nash point guard camp last summer really helped his game," Davis says.

Sullivan, who is averaging more than 25 points per contest for his school located in Uniontown, leads a team that is now three wins away from bringing home the ninth state basketball title in school history.

"I played pretty well, but I had a couple of turnovers," Sullivan says. "I don't go by what I did, I go by what I didn't do and I try to correct that."

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