“Some games that you get a lead on, it’s nice because it gives the kids some confidence and helps them get better,” Sylacauga head coach Will Copeland said. “Every game that is a nail biter is not good for the coaches’ age and the players. Sometimes it’s nice to get a game where we can relax a little bit and we worked to get it. We beat a good team and a rivalry in town. It’s good to get a win.”
Sylacauga was first to score with a transition layup by Rodney Gilbert. Jonathan Crawford used the glass to hit a basket inside to give Sylacauga a 4-0 lead.
Houston Ford got the Comer offense going, knocking down a baseline jumper and later a 3-pointer to cut the Sylacauga lead to 6-5.
The Comer defense was unable to stop Sylacauga, especially in the rebounding department. Jonathan Crawford grabbed a rebound and putback to push the Aggie lead to 8-5.
Ford once again answered for the Comer offense, hitting a transition layup and later making two free throws to cut the Sylacauga lead to 10-9.
Kadeem Jackson hit a 3-pointer and Jaylon McGhee scored two points on a lay-in to give Sylacauga a 16-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Sylacauga used turnovers to gain a more sizable lead. Hayden Ellis came up with a steal and ensuing layup to give Sylacauga a 30-15 lead.
Comer’s Darius Hale may have scored the prettiest play of the game when he and Malik Burns had a two-on-one in transition against Sylacauga’s Jonathan Crawford. Hale cut to the basket and as he reached the baseline, made a behind-the-back pass to Burns for an easy basket much to the approval of the home crowd.
But the moment was short-lived. Sylacauga responded with a 21-5 run to give the team a commanding 51-22 lead. McGhee and Ellis hit 3-pointers and Jackson scored on a layup opportunity created by a turnover. Daveon Nix capped the drive with a steal and ensuing layup, followed by two successful free throws.
Malik Burns scored a putback to make it 51-24 at the half.
Sylacauga used strong 3-point shooting in the third quarter to coast to a 41-point lead.
“They had a great night; they shot the ball well,” Comer head coach Carson Grier said. “We didn’t shoot that well. We shot ourselves out of the game. I thought we needed to improve on not taking so many jump shots and getting the ball in the paint.
Sylacauga made four consecutive 3-point shots during a 12-0 run near the end of the third quarter. Antwane Cook hit a 3-pointer, followed by Nix, Rodney Gilbert, and finally Nix hit another 3-pointer. Burns converted a 3-point play for Comer to finish the third quarter, but they still trailed 77-39.
“We just had a night where everything went wrong,” Grier said. “We turned the ball over; we made mistakes. We pretty much took ourselves totally out of it because we didn’t control the situation and work our self back into it. We played similar at Childersburg in the first half, but we came back and took a little more control of the situation and worked our self back in the game. Tonight, we made a little run at the beginning of the third, then they went on a 3-barrage and that was pretty much the end.”
Ford led all scorers, finishing with 16 points in the losing effort for Comer. Burns had nine points for the Tigers.
For Sylacauga, Nix and Ellis both scored 11 points, while Jackson was also in double digits with 10 points. McGhee contributed nine points.
Sylacauga improved to 7-6 overall, while Comer dropped to 3-6.
Copeland noted there is still room for improvement from his team, especially with a challenging Mountain Brook team on the horizon next week.
“We’re trying to work on some accountability while they’re on the floor,” he said. “That’s why we went five in, five out because I want them to understand they’ve got to produce and rebound and push the ball and play defense. I think we’ve just gotten a little lackadaisical. Some of them think that they are entitled to minutes. I’m trying to get the point across that you’re not entitled to anything. When you’re given minutes, you need to do something with them. We’re just trying to work on things and get better throughout the season. That’s my job and that’s their job is to get better throughout the basketball season. We’ve had two really good games the last two nights.”
Comer hosts Childersburg tonight with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m., while Sylacauga’s next game is Dec. 26 against Mountain Brook in the Big Orange Classic at Hoover with tipoff slated for 9 a.m.