“We fought hard,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “It was a nip-and-tuck game the whole way. It could have gone either way. Childersburg hit some big shots. We pushed our lead; they tied it up. We’re lucky just to finish the game. We’ve got a lot of improvement to do to be a good team and it showed tonight.”
Childersburg was first to get on the board following a Jatorre Cook rebound and putback.
Down 7-5, Talladega (6-0) went on an 8-2 run to gain a 13-9 lead following an easy basket underneath by Josh Madden. Dre McElrath hit a basket inside to close the gap to 15-14. Ahmad Gooden grabbed a rebound and got the putback as time expired in the first quarter to give Talladega a 17-14 lead.
Childersburg (2-4) was able to play well enough to tie the score by halftime, 33-33.
Talladega regained control in the third quarter, 48-44.
Childersburg was hurt in the fourth quarter by foul trouble with point guard and leader Sy Butler fouling out during the quarter and other players carrying four fouls.
Late in the fourth quarter, Childersburg was able to close the gap to 61-58 after an inside basket by Jatorre Cook. Laterrance McKinney made a long-range two-point basket to cut Talladega’s lead to 61-60. D’Angelo Scales made two free throws to push Talladega’s lead to 63-60. McKinney came up with a key basket again, this time a 3-pointer with 17.9 second left to tie the game, 63-63.
Laterrance McKinney was called for a foul on Josh Madden with 3.3 seconds left. Madden made both free throws to give Talladega a 65-63 lead. Trevor Bates got off a 3-point shot, but it fell short to give Talladega the win.
“The one thing we did tonight that we have a hard time against Talladega is we didn’t let them make big, long runs where they get 8, 10, 12 points,” Childersburg head coach Al Barnett said. “I thought our kids, even after we turned the ball over, responded well and did a good job in that area. Ahmad (Gooden) is big and strong and physical inside. They got some rebounds on us there, but I was real pleased with the way our kids played.”
Talladega escaped with a 45-43 win over Childersburg in the girls varsity game.
Talladega jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but Childersburg quickly cut the lead to 6-4. Talladega pushed their lead to 10-4, but Childersburg cut it down to 13-11 by the end of the first quarter.
Talladega used a 10-2 run at the end of the second quarter to carry a 30-22 lead into the half.
Earlier in the quarter, with Talladega holding an 18-11 lead, Childersburg used a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 20-18. Caneasha Calhoun had a steal and ensuing layup to cap the drive.
Childersburg was able to close the gap by holding Talladega to just three points in the third quarter. Talladega held a slim 33-32 lead by the end of the quarter.
The game came down to the wire. Late in the fourth, Calhoun came up with a steal and was fouled. She hit one of two free throws to tie the game, 41-41. Alexis Morgan went two for two on free throws to give Talladega a 43-41 lead. Cierra Swain hit two free throws with 27.3 seconds remaining to tie the game, 43-43.
With 15.8 seconds, Gabreial Johnson hit a long-range two-point shot, which proved to be the game winner.
Swain got to the free throw line with 9.2 seconds left for a chance to tie it but missed her first free throw. After a timeout, Swain hit her shot against the front of the rim, but Talladega grabbed the rebound. Tariah Reynolds fouled to give Childersburg a final, if improbable, chance. But Talladega successfully inbounded the ball to run out the clock for the win.
For Talladega, Maya Buckhanon was the leading scorer with 13 points, while Nyesha Smiley finished with 12 points. Alexis Morgan was in double digits with 10 points.
For Childersburg, Reynolds and Quintessa Calhoun both finished with 10 points, while Swain contributed nine points.