The pace picked up after that, and the Tigers went on to defeat Munford for the 4A Area 6 High School Basketball championship 47-40, but it’s a game likely to be remembered for the snail’s pace with which it began.
“We had played them three times before, and I figured that was the best way to slow ‘em down,” said Munford coach Isiah Gaddis. “I thought if we could keep the score down, we would have a chance. I thought we could outplay them for one quarter, but not for four.”
Childersburg defeated Munford in all three previous games this season: 59-53, 53-47 and 80-55.
His plan might have worked, too. The Lions outscored Childersburg in the second quarter 10-9, trailing 15-10 at the half. Childersburg turned up the heat in the third quarter, outscoring the Lions 13-4 to lead 28-14. And in the fourth quarter, Munford went all out, outscoring the Tigers 26-19, outplaying the home team for one quarter. But it wasn’t enough. McElrath hit 9 of 10 free throws in the last minute of play, and Ladavious Battle hit two more to frustrate Munford’s run-and-gun plans for the final quarter.
“Coach Gaddis had a good strategy, to try to stall the ball so you get as few possessions as possible, and then they started making all those threes…,” said Childersburg coach Al Barnett.
Childersburg led by as much as 10 points in the second quarter and by 12 in the third before Munford started chipping away at the lead.
Munford sank five three-point shots in the fourth quarter, and trailed by only 3 points, 43-40, inside the minute mark in the game.
McElrath led the charge for Childersburg, scoring 15 points. Battle scored 14, and Jamison Cook had 12.
Battle had 11 rebounds, and Cook had 8. They each blocked two shots.
David Harris was game-high with 18 points for Munford. Carlton Davis scored 14.
Coach Gaddis said he told his players, “They don’t have anything to hold their heads down about.”
Barnett praised McElrath’s play in the game, in particular his free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter. He also said Battle and Kinnis Leonard had a very good game.
As the Area Champion, Childersburg will host Area 5 Runner-Up Alabama Christian Friday at 7 p.m. in the Sub-Region game. Munford will travel to play Montgomery-Catholic, who defeated Alabama Christian 68-63 Monday night.
Players named to the All-Tournament Team were John McGhee from Central-Coosa, Darius Finley from Handley, David Harris, Carlton Davis, Brandon Graham and Dontavious Dickerson from Munford and Tarrey McElrath, Isiah Jones, Kinnis Leonard and Ladavious Battle from Childersburg.