The 76-51 victory was Lagmay’s 64th in three and a half seasons at TC, breaking the school record for career wins.
“It feels great, but I’m just thankful,” Lagmay said after the game. “God’s blessed me so much and I’m thankful for the TC administration — President (Billy) Hawkins and Vice President (Jacqueline) Paddio that hired me. I’m thankful for the support of the community in Talladega and my players. They make me look good. I’m surrounded by a good support system.”
Following the game, Hawkins met with Lagmay’s players on the court for a little celebration before heading to the locker room.
Lagmay tied the record, which was held by Larry McNeil, with Monday’s 76-49 win over Edward Waters. He said his next goal is to hit the century mark in all-time wins, but he’s glad the monkey’s off his back.
“It’s a relief to get past it,” he said. “It’s over. Now we can look ahead to Tougaloo and holding down the top spot in the conference. We need to accomplish short-term goals. It’s about the team; it’s not about me.”
The win was Talladega’s third in a row and moved the Lady Tornadoes to 9-4 overall on the season.
After playing the first 12 games of the year with just seven players, the Lady Tornadoes were able to do more things with the addition of two newly-eligible players to the roster Thursday. Lagmay started Chrystal Taloma and Stephanie DeFrance, hoping to get them into the flow of the season quickly.
“It’s time to go,” he said. “I want them to get the butterflies out of their stomach quickly.”
Morris (0-14) didn’t look like a winless team in the first half, as the Lady Hornets raced out to a 6-2 lead. The Lady Tornadoes had trouble finding the basket early on, but Taloma eventually got into a groove, scoring seven of TC’s first eight points. Her 3-pointer at the 12-minute mark gave the Lady Tornadoes an 8-6 lead.
TC’s leading scorer, Megan Iloff, scored her first point at the seven-minute mark of the half to increase the lead to 17-13. A 3-point play from Erica Wilkerson cut into TC’s lead at 19-16 moments later.
“We had a sloppy first half defensively,” Lagmay said. “The girls kind of looked at the 0-13 record, but I had to explain to them that they lost some close games. I told them if you put your hand in the cookie jar when you’re not supposed to, you’ll get your hand slapped.”
Shakila Cole hit two 3-pointers during a decisive 10-0 Lady Tornado run that gave TC a 12-point lead with four minutes to go before the break.
Morris was unable to recover.
With a buzzer-beating layup from Cole, TC’s lead had swelled to 42-20 by halftime.
Talladega pressed effectively in the second half and continued to build on its lead. The Lady Tornadoes led by as many as 29 points in the second half and coasted the rest of the way.
“We lost focus,” said Morris head coach Gilbert Wilson. “All of a sudden we got out of our game and started throwing the ball away. It’s not that we can’t handle the trap; we just didn’t stay focused. They did an excellent job.”
Cole led TC with 16 points, five assists and three steals. Bianca Thomas recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Ebony Richardson had 12 points, while Lynice Schallberger had 11 and Iloff 10.
The Lady Hornets were led by Leanna Mills with 15 points and five rebounds.
Jamecia Ready had 11 points and six rebounds for Morris
The Lady Tornadoes will host Tougaloo, which holds a 3-1 conference record, tomorrow at 5 p.m. before embarking on a four-game road trip.
“(Tougaloo) is very scary,” Lagmay said. “They have powerful post players and powerful guards. They are very athletic. The only thing that’s going well for us is that we’ll be playing them at home. The game is going to decide who’s in the upper half of the conference.”
Contact Wesley Sinor at email@example.com.