“After losing two in a row, any win is a good win and against Coosa Central—they play such good half-court defense,” Childersburg head coach Al Barnett said. “We played good half-court defense, too. It was just a battle; it was kind of a chess match. Every possession was gold, so we had to value every possession. We missed some free throws down the stretch. Of course, Sy (Butler) made a couple that helped us out late. We were able to get a few rebounds late and finish them off, but it was a nip-and-tuck game the whole time.”
Childersburg used a 7-0 run to gain an 11-5 first quarter lead. Tylan Coleman got the run started with a 3-pointer and David Cowlin capped it with a putback at the end of the quarter.
Central Coosa responded in the second quarter with an 8-0 run. Quintavius Robbins made two 3-point shots and Andrew Hammond made two free throws to tie the game, 13-13. Coleman hit another 3-pointer to give Childersburg a 16-13 lead. Jaterius Vincent had a putback and Robbins hit one of two free throws before the half to tie the game 16-16 at halftime.
Childersburg finished the third quarter on an 8-2 run to give the Tigers the momentum. Coleman made a transition layup off a feed from Butler to start the run. Coleman capped the drive with two back-to-back 3-point shots, which included a big one as time expired at the end of the third quarter to give Childersburg a 26-20 lead.
With 39.9 seconds in the game, Butler made both free throw shots to give Childersburg a 34-31 lead. David McKinney closed the gap to 34-32 when he made one of two free throws with 25.8 seconds remaining in the game.
With 17.0 seconds left, Central Coosa managed to get the ball up the court while struggling with defensive pressure from Childersburg. With 3.2 seconds left, Central Coosa head coach Joe Belyeu called a timeout. His team had a chance to tie the game with an inbound pass on their side of the court, but the inbound pass bounced toward the baseline and out of bounds. Butler was fouled with 0.4 seconds left. He made his first free throw and missed the second as time expired.
“They took us out of our zone,” Belyeu said of Childersburg’s defense. “We missed a lot of opportunities. We’re going to continue to work at it.”
Prior to the game, there was a rarely-seen ceremony in which Childersburg presented Belyeu with parting presents for the coach who will retire at the end of the season. Every single Childersburg player and coach shook Belyeu’s hand during the presentation.
“Al, we worked together down in Coosa,” Belyeu said. “He worked for me for about seven years. We won two state titles together. It kind of caught me off-guard. It’s been a good ride.”
Barnett said the brief pre-game ceremony was something the program had been planning for a while.
“Coach Belyeu, I worked with him for seven years down in Coosa County,” Barnett said. “I was with him with the 2000 and 2001 state championship teams. He’s just a class act and we had decided a while back we wanted to do something nice for him, so I thought it was pretty nice. I really think he was surprised.”
Coleman had a game-high of 16 points, while Butler chipped in six points for Childersburg.
Robbins led Central Coosa in scoring, finishing with 14 points.
The win moved Childersburg to an overall record of 3-4. They host B.B. Comer Friday.