It was senior night at Miller Arena and just before the game, Talladega’s senior players Damion Hawkins, Tyler Haynes, Dominic Johnson, Justin Kelly, Trey Riggins, and Dearius Truss were all formally honored, along with head coach Chucky Miller for his prior accomplishment of attaining 600 career wins.
The team got off to a sluggish start, while Childersburg played with great intensity to build a 21-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. At one point, Childersburg had a 21-6 lead following a D.J. Jones two point basket in the post.
However, Talladega proceeded to go on a 15-2 run that stretched from the end of the first quarter well into the second quarter.
“On senior night, usually you don’t start the game and we started the game off a little bit,” Miller said. “Childersburg was real on. It took us about a quarter to adjust to the game. We just had to get in a rhythm. Once they relaxed, we got into a flow, finally hit some shots. When you hit some shots, everything is easy.”
By the end of the run, Talladega had cut the lead to 23-21. The run ended with Dearius Truss’s successful drive to the hoop for two points. But just prior to that, the team started what would end up being an impressive night behing the 3-point line. In succession, Truss, Kelly, and Josh Madden all his 3-point shots. Later in the quarter, Hawkins and Riggins hit 3-pointers, with Riggins’ shot giving Talladega their first lead of the game, 29-26.
“Really we’re not a 3-point shooting team,” Miller said. “They gave us some good looks tonight and our kids stepped up and hit the shots tonight. With 3-point shooting, some nights it’s there and some nights it’s not. You just gotta’ take what’s going on that night, but we hit them tonight. Our seniors got loose and on senior night, you need to hit some shots.”
Talladega continued their 3-point success to start the third quarter by knocking down three straight 3-pointers after the quarter opened with a Tyrell Garrett 2-point basket for Childersburg. Hawkins hit another to open it up and then Scales knocked down two in a row. Later in the quarter, Hawkins hit another.
Tyler Haynes got in on the 3-point action by hitting two in the fourth quarter.
A key to the Talladega offensive outpouring in the second half was good ball movement.
“At the start of the game, we weren’t making that extra pass,” Miller said. “Once we started making that extra pass, a guy would be open but he’d given somebody else a better shot. We hit them down tonight. It’s just one of those nights when the ball goes in like that it’s easy for you.”
Miller was proud of his senior players who were honored before the game.
“A lot of them have played at least two years,” he said. “A couple of them have played for me three years. They’ve carried on a pretty good tradition here. They got their experience and they’re improved all year and that’s the sign of a good team is just constant improvement.”
Senior Damion Hawkins led all scorers with 21 points, including five 3-points shots.
For Childersburg, Deda Bradley was the leading scorer with 13 points, while D.J. Jones finished with 12 points.
Talladega plays Sylacauga at Shelby County on Friday at 6 p.m. for the class 5A area 8 tournament.
Childersburg will travel to Dallas County for the class 4A area 6 tournament to play Tallassee on Friday at 6 p.m.