“TC came out and got out to a seven-point lead in the second quarter and we had to turn it up or we were going to be playing from behind all night,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “We had a big run in the second quarter and got back the lead. We just tried to up-tempo the game. Both of us played last night, but they had a big, emotional win against Sylacauga. So, we had to take it to them because they had already beat Childersburg and Sylacauga this week. Coach (Damien) Dorsey has got them playing well; they’re not the same team they were earlier this season. They should go a long way in 1A.”
Talladega was first to score with Desmond Green cutting to the basket on an inbound pass underneath the basket.
Later, TC Central came back to tie the game 4-4 on a Lamar Suttle rebound and putback.
The Fighting Tigers grabbed their first lead of the game on another post basket by Suttle to put the team in front, 8-6.
D’Angelo Scales tied the game with a transition jumper close to the basket, making it 8-8.
Once again, Suttle answered with a basket in the post to give TC Central a 10-8 lead.
Deangelo Pointer hit one of two free throws with 0:20 remaining in the quarter to give Talladega a 14-11 lead.
Just before the end of the quarter, Dewayne Wallace had a rebound and putback to cut the Talladega lead to 14-13.
TC Central had all the early momentum in the second quarter with Tervarus Garrett knocking down a 3-pointer, followed by another 3-pointer, this one by Crystyle Stockdale, and Garrett scored underneath assisted by Wallace to give TC Central a 21-14 lead.
Talladega answered with a 16-0run to gain the upper hand. Ahmad Gooden started the run by converting a 3-point play. Josh Madden capped the run with a layup to give Talladega a 30-21 lead. TC Central struggled at the free throw line throughout the game, but especially at the end of the second quarter. They went 0-for-9 on free throw attempts in the latter half of the quarter. Garrett was able to score a basket on a baseline drive to cut the Talladega lead to 30-23 at halftime.
Madden knocked down a 3-pointer to start the third quarter, but TC Central responded with a back-to-back baskets by Stockdale. First, Stockdale sank a high-arc baseline jumper and then had an easy basket underneath thanks to an assist from Garrett. At that point, Talladega held a 33-27 advantage.
After the two teams exchanged baskets, Talladega went on a 15-0 run to take a commanding 50-29 lead. Marius Echols sank two free throws to start the run. Scales completed the run with a transition layup. Throughout the run, Talladega used their press to create turnovers. TC Central managed to effectively break the press in the first half but struggled in the second half.
“We changed our press,” Miller said. “Coach Dorsey is one of my former players, so he knows about everything we do. He had them real prepared for one of our presses, but we changed presses and they were in a little foul trouble. So, they probably didn’t have some of the personnel they needed to break it. We got some steals; we’re still not converting on a lot of them. We get a lot of steals, but we need to convert them.”
While TC Central did earn wins against last season’s runner-up Childersburg and third seed Sylacauga, head coach Damien Dorsey took no solace in finishing runner-up.
“I’m not satisfied at all,” Dorsey said. “I won’t ever be satisfied with a loss. I’m very disappointed. Hats off to Coach Miller and his guys. They whipped our tail again. Until we find a way where all our guys can handle the pressure, we’re going to continue to lose to Talladega.”
Stockdale led the Fighting Tigers in scoring in the losing effort, finishing with 18 points. Garrett was also in double figures with 16 points. Suttle contributed nine points.
For Talladega, Madden led the way with 18 points, while Scales finished with 17 points. Ahmad Gooden had 13 points, Marius Echols had 12 points, and Desmond Green had nine points while leading the team with 13 steals.
Following the game, the All-Tournament team was announced: Jutorrius Cook, Winterboro; Sy Butler, Childersburg; Tavon Lawson, Munford; Rodney Gilbert and Hayden Ellis, Sylacauga; Tervarus Garrett and Crystyle Stockdale, TC Central; and Ahmad Gooden, D’Angelo Scales, and Desmond Green, Talladega. Additionally, Josh Madden was named offensive MVP, while Lamar Suttle earned defensive MVP. Munford’s Logan Cooper was awarded the Hubert Brett Award.