“It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win and an area win it doesn’t matter if it looks good or bad, it’s an area win,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “Our boys fought from 13 down late in the third quarter. We cut it down a little bit at a time. Finally, we got the lead and we just took the momentum.”
Sylacauga used solid 3-point shooting to get out to an early 9-5 lead. Daveon Nix hit two 3-pointers and Kadeem Jackson also hit one as well.
Talladega responded with a 6-2 run to gain their first lead of the game, 11-10.
Once again, Sylacauga used outside shooting to gain an advantage. Antwane Cook hit a 3-pointer and Hayden Ellis completed a four-point play to give Sylacauga a 17-13 lead.
In the second quarter, Talladega was able to regain the lead after completing a 6-0 run to give them a 27-23 advantage exactly halfway through the quarter. Ahmad Gooden hit a jumper inside to tie the game and Richard Williams made a move inside to cap the run.
Jonathan Crawford blocked a Talladega shot to set up an easy Nix layup, which marked the beginning of a 9-0 Sylacauga run. Nix capped the run with a baseline drive for two points to give Sylacauga a 32-27 lead.
Marius Echols had the last basket of the half with a rebound and putback to cut the Sylacauga lead to 32-29.
Sylacauga began the third quarter with a 13-3 run to give them a double digit lead of 45-32. Jaylon McGhee got the run started with a basket down low. Jackson followed that up with a backdoor layup. Ellis capped the drive with a 3-pointer.
Talladega closed out the third quarter with two 3-pointers from Josh Madden to close the gap to 50-43.
In the fourth quarter, Talladega’s press defense intensified and gave Sylacauga problems.
“I believe our press hurt them a lot,” Miller said. “Give credit: they shot the lights out of it in the first half. They hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter. Any team that hits five 3s, you might now win the game because you put yourself in the hole. But we fought back from all that. I thought all the players gave a great effort.”
On the offensive end of the floor, the Tigers were aggressive managing to get several Aggies into foul trouble. They had a 7-0 run to start the quarter with four consecutive offensive drives resulting in trips to the free throw line and all seven points the result of free throws. Following the run, they had tied the game, 50-50. They gained a 57-54 lead after Madden hit another 3-pointer with 3:28 remaining in the game. Talladega was able to push their lead to 63-56.
Sylacauga fought to get back into it, with Cook scoring on a baseline drive to cut the lead to 63-61.
With 21.1 seconds, Richard Williams got a steal and was fouled. He made one of two free throws to push the Talladega lead to 65-61.
With just 8.1 seconds, Madden sealed the game for Talladega by hitting one of two free throws.
The win moves Talladega to 10-0 overall and 2-0 in area play. Meanwhile, the loss moved Sylacauga to 5-5 overall and 1-1 in area play.