Top seed Talladega advances to play second seed TC Central in the championship game tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Sylacauga.
“It was close to a tie game and I believe we went up seven at halftime,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “That just spurred us on in the third quarter and we had a big third quarter. We made some shots, made some plays and played pretty good defense.”
The first half was mostly back-and-forth. Talladega got out to an early 6-0 lead on a pair of D’Angelo Scales layups and a transition layup by Josh Madden.
Munford answered with a 3-pointer from the corner by Monteo Garrett and a steal and layup by Logan Cooper to make it 6-5.
With Talladega holding an 11-7 lead, Munford went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game. Cameron Turner beat Ahmad Gooden in a one-on-one in the lane to start the run. Cooper completed the run with a finger roll layup, followed by a 3-pointer to give Munford a 14-11 lead.
Talladega had the final baskets of the first quarter with Madden getting a basket while cutting inside and Desmond Green scoring two points on a layup to give Talladega a 15-14 lead.
In the second quarter, Talladega used a 7-2 run to gain a 25-20 advantage. Scales completed the run with a jumper from the corner.
Munford answered with a 10-1 run. Garrett started the run with a 3-pointer and Cooper completed the run with his third 3-pointer of the game to give Munford a 30-28 lead.
Talladega closed out the first half with an 11-2 run. Gooden scored a basket while posting up and drew the foul to convert a 3-point play and give Talladega a 31-30 lead. Madden capped the run with a driving layup that helped push Talladega’s lead to 39-32 at halftime.
“I knew at halftime we had given up 39 points, which is too many,” Munford head coach Isiah Gaddis said. “We forced some turnovers and just played with intensity; we didn’t do that in the second half. They picked theirs up and we just kind of rolled over. We didn’t come out with the same intensity. I guess we were just satisfied with playing with them for a half. I told my guys they’ve still got the same mentality that we just can’t beat Talladega. Until we get over that, that’s going to happen.”
Talladega carried the late first half momentum into the second half to pull away for the win. The Tigers scored 30 points in the third quarter. Munford trailed by a mere nine points before Talladega reeled off a huge 20-0 run that more or less secure the win. Madden knocked down a 3-pointer to start the run. He and Scales continued to seemingly score at will, as both players scored all 20 unanswered points for the Tigers. Madden capped the drive with another 3-pointer to give Talladega a 67-37 lead near the end of the third quarter.
“Munford—they’ve been shooting the ball so good, you’re kind of iffy what you want to do: you want to protect the hole, but between Cooper and Garrett they had five 3s,” Miller said. “Half their points were 3s. So, we changed defense a little bit in the second half, tried to force them a little farther out. We got on a roll and a team that gets the momentum in basketball has got the advantage.”
Madden led all scorers with 34 points. Scales was also in double figures with 19 points. Gooden contributed nine points.
Cooper was the leading scorer for Munford with 13 points. Garrett contributed eight points, while finished with seven points.