Despite Talladega getting into early foul trouble, Childersburg was unable to capitalize at the free throw line. They shot 6 for 20 at the line in the first half.
“We were double bonus before the first quarter was over and 6 for 20? You can’t win like that,” Childersburg head coach Al Barnett said. “I told our kids we almost need to apologize to our fans for the effort. I didn’t think we put a good effort out tonight. A lot of the kids were here early shooting free throws and once it started going bad, it just went downhill from there and eventually they were able to get it a little further out.”
Talladega began the game on the right foot, winning the tipoff and taking an early 5-1 lead following five straight points by D’Angelo Scales.
“We played with a lot of intensity in the first half and it set the tone for the whole game,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “Mainly, all four quarters, we kept up the pressure, kept the intensity, kept the defensive pressure. Childersburg had a hard game last night, so we wanted to try to tire them out. Maybe they were a little tired from last night, but all our kids played good. We played everybody on the team. We got in such big foul trouble in the first half we were just trying to get to the second half. We’ve got players that come off the bench that are really starters. You may start, but really we’ve got about seven or eight good starters.”
However, the first half was close for the most part. The biggest lead of the first quarter was 16-10 for Talladega following a Damion Hawkins steal and resulting two points.
Childersburg rallied to cut the lead to 16-14 by the end of the first quarter.
At the end of the first half, Childersburg had a chance for an easy layup, but Talladega came up with a loose ball and Dominic Johnson scored two easy points at the other end of the floor while relatively isolated. It made the score favor Talladega 29-22 at halftime.
“I thought it was big at the end of the first half when we turned it over with seven seconds left, which looked like what probably would have been a layup for us and then they get it and make a layup,” Barnett said. “Instead of being down three points at half half, it’s a seven point lead at the half. Give Talladega credit: they press and they play hard. They’re just relentless on the defensive end.”
The Talladega game plan to wear Childersburg out began to take effect in the third quarter. Early in the quarter, Tyler Haynes scored two straight baskets down low and then took a charge from Tyrell Garrett on the defensive end. Scales hit a 3-pointer and Josh Madden stole the ball and handed it off to Justin Kelly who dunked it, and finally Madden scored an easy transition basket. At that point, Talladega had a 43-27 lead and all the momentum.
By the end of the game, Talladega had four players score eight or more points.
“A team can’t really key on us, because we’ve got multiple people that can score,” Miller said. “We’re not going to have one person getting 30 a night. What we’re going have is hopefully around five getting 10-15 a night. That’s what usually we’ve been doing. Some of the ones we’ve got coming in, they’re just like starters. We usually classify about our top seven as starters. Even though they might not start a game, they finish a game. Usually it’s better to be a finisher than a starter in a close game.”
Ahmad Gooden led all scorers with 18 points, while D’Angelo Scales finished with 11 points. Justin Kelly, one of the players Miller referred as being an equivalent to a starter, had nine points. Tyler Haynes contributed eight points.
Tyrell Garrett, who finished with 17 points, led Childersburg in scoring.
Following the game, there was a trophy presentation to Talladega for finishing as county champions. Individual awards were also given out. Talladega’s Ahmad Gooden was the Offensive MVP for the Tournament, while Deda Bradley received the Defensive MVP. The 2013 All Talladega County All Tournament team: Nick Leonard, Winterboro; Julius Player, TC Central; Ramone Russell, TC Central; Erwin McQueen, Sylacauga; TJ Smith Sylacauga; Trey Riggins, Talladega; Tyler Haynes, Talladega; Justin Kelly, Talladega; Tyrell Garrett, Childersburg; and DJ Jones, Childersburg. The recipient of the Blake Britt award, given to the male basketball player who has overcome adversity to play this year, was London McKinney of Childersburg.