Comer head coach was impressed with the play of starting point guard Terrell McCain.
“I thought Terell McCain as he got kind of used to the flow of the game tonight really you could see the youth in him, but you could also see his ability to see the floor and manipulate the ball,” Grier said. “You could see how he can see the floor and see things that are open, which also affected the other kids because they’re starting to do the same things he was doing, which is important to us. The more assists we get, the better team we’re going to be. We had a bunch of assists tonight. We had a bunch of passes that led to baskets, which is very, very important. If you ever get to 25 assists in a game, it’s hard to get to. If we get 25 assists a game, we’ll be pretty successful. That’s what we always strive for. I thought we did a good job and we moved the ball well and we made some shots. We took some that maybe we shouldn’t have taken, but for the most part we did a good job of moving the ball around. That’s what made us successful.”
Fayetteville came out with an early 6-0 lead. Luke Gaddis got a putback basket and made an additional free throw to convert a three-point play. CJ Townsend capped the drive with a basket while driving near the baseline.
Comer responded with a 15-6 run to close out the first quarter. McClain hit one of two free throws to get the team on the scoreboard.
Later, Dee Embery came up with three back-to-back steals and assists all to backcourt teammate Houston Ford to push Comer from an 8-6 deficit to a 13-8 lead.
“Having depth on a good team makes other guys step up even more,” Grier said. “Dee was making good passes and doing good things with the ball. He didn’t turn the ball over; he had one turnover that was a lob pass. Other than that, he made better passes. Tonight, he really cut that and did a better job handling the ball.”
Darius Hale made the final basket of the quarter with a give-and-go to Henry Averette, who perfectly timed the return pass to Hale who was open in the post.
Comer stepped on the gas pedal in the second quarter. After allowing another baseline basket to Townsend, Comer reeled off a 12-0 run. Again, the team used ball movement to score baskets with efficiency. McClain found Malik Burns open down low for a basket, Hale created some space in the lane to give Ford a successful scoring opportunity and McClain came up with a steal to set up Ford with a transition basket. Hale capped the drive with a behind-the-back assist to Martarius Mickens and then grabbed a loose ball rebound and hit one of two free throws after getting fouled. Averette knocked down two 3-point shots and Ford scored the last points of the half with a 3-pointer, with all three shots being assisted by Hale, giving Comer a 38-21 lead.
Comer opened the third quarter on a 19-4 run to essentially put the game away. Ford hit an open 3-pointer, assisted by Burns. Tyler Holmes hustled for a loose ball and made a crisp pass to Hale for an easy basket, and Burns had an easy basket with a no-look assist from Hale, and Averette got a steal and ensuing layup to cap the drive. At the end of it, Comer held a commanding 57-25 lead.
“They’re very young,” Grier said of Fayetteville. “I think our depth wore on them. We came out slow, got hot, cooled off, got hot again, and in the second half we did what you’re supposed to do: we finished the game.”
Ford led all scorers with 23 points, while Hale finished the game with 20 points and seven assists. Averette finished the game with 12 points.
Townsend led Fayetteville in scoring with 12 points, while Tyler Pennington and Gaddis both had six points.
Comer advances to play Beauregard tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the championship game. Beauregard defeated Jemison in a tense double overtime game, 66-64.
“We’ve got a huge game tomorrow night and Beauregard has got a really good basketball team,” Grier said. “We’ll have to play well, but that’s what this is for: being better than when we went in. I know playing a team like Beauregard will help us do that because the third of January in our next area ball game against Coosa Central. So, we wanted to play a really tough game somewhere through the holidays and that will help us do that tomorrow night.”
Fayetteville will play in the consolation game against Jemison at 5 p.m.