Sylacauga advances to finals
CHILDERSBURG- The No. 2 Sylacauga Lady Aggies dethroned the defending county champions No. 3 Childersburg 56-45 in the semifinals of the 2013 Talladega County Basketball Tournament on Thursday.

The Lady Aggies will take on top seed Winterboro in the championship game on Saturday at 6 p.m.

“We knew that it was going to be a war coming in here from the two previous games that we have played,” Sylacauga head coach Derrick Crawford said. “Without a shadow of a doubt our girls knew it was going to be a dog fight. Anything less than that, we would have been disappointed. We used a stepping-stone. We got a little lax on defense. We gave too many points. This is the third time we have allowed 40 points in 2013. We allowed 41 to Talladega, 41 to Childersburg and 45 tonight. We are better than that defensively, so we will go back to tomorrow and work on defense. We had several girls come off the bench. My seventh grader was instant offense. She took care of the basketball pretty good. Taniya Garrett came off the bench and gave us quality minutes. We are tickled to be in the championship. We have the No. 1 and No. 2 match-up. Coach Smith does a fine job and our girls are looking forward to the challenge. We are going to see what’s going to happen.”

The Lady Aggies opened the first quarter on an 8-1 run. Shakayla Thomas opened the game with a deep jumper from the right corner. Tierra Dark scored a layup off a Lady Tigers make it 4-0. Dede Mitchell score four points in the quarter including a jumper to give Sylacauga an 8-1 lead.

Tariah Reynolds drained a 3-pointer to cut the Lady Aggies lead down to 10-4 with 3:05 left in the first. Tia Wells also connected with a 3-pointer to cut the lead down to 10-7 with 2:08 left in the first quarter.

Foul trouble plagued the Lady Tigers in the first quarter. Cierra Swain and Mac Kelly had to take a seat on the bench with two fouls. Sylacauga took a 13-7 lead into the second quarter.

The Lady Tigers went on a 10-4 run to open the second quarter. Reynolds scored seven straight points including a 3-pointer to cut the lead down 13-12 with 6:19 left in the half.

Canesha Calhoun nailed a 3-pointer to cut the Lady Aggies lead to 19-17 with 3:55 left.

Sylacauga responded with a 13-0 run to take a 30-17 lead. Thomas scored 10 points during the run. Her layup with 1:02 left in the half put Sylacauga up 30-17.

Childersburg ended the half on a 5-0 run to make it 30-22 at intermission.

Thomas picked up where she left off in the third quarter. The reigning Class 5A Player of the Year scored four quick points to increase Sylacauga’s lead to 32-24.

Childersburg fought their way back into the game with the play of their post players. Swain came off the bench due to foul trouble and she made her presence felt right away. The junior scored six points in the quarter, including a layup to cut the lead down to 39-36.

Thomas opened the final quarter with a three- point play to increase Sylacauga’s lead to 42-28. Dark hit a jumper to increase the lead to increase Sylacauga’s lead to 44-38.

Mitchell once again came up with a big basket, as she hit a free throw line jumper to make it 47-38.

Missed opportunities hurt the Lady Tiger in the fourth quarter. Childersburg missed free throws and a couple shots under the basket that could have switch the momentum in their favor. The Lady Tigers missed six free throws in the final period.

Kelly hit a jumper to cut Sylacauga lead down to 49-40, but that is as close as they would get.

Kiara Pope stole the ball from Kelly and drove in for a layup while getting fouled. The eighth grader hit the free throw to increase their lead to 52-40.

“I think we played hard as a team,” Childersburg head coach Johnny Johnson said. “Some of the girls off the bench came in and gave some good minutes. Again we just didn’t finish. We cut it close, and then we had turnovers. When you are 6-22 from the free throw line you can’t win. We were 6-22 from the free throw line and we lost by 11. Just make your free throws and we will be in the ball game. We played hard and gave our self a chance. We just can’t finish against Sylacauga. They had our number this year.”

Sylacauga takes on Winterboro at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

© 2013