Munford falls to Guntersville, 67-44
by ERICH HILKERT
JACKSONVILLE—The Munford Lions made the first quarter of their AHSAA class 4A Northeast Regional against Guntersville interesting, but Guntersville’s 3-point shooting wore them down in the second quarter and they were never able to recover, losing 67-44.

Guntersville hit a total of seven 3-pointers in the first half and finished the game with a total of eight.

“We came out flat defensively,” Munford head coach Isiah Gaddis said. “Usually when we give up that many points, we struggle. We needed to keep the game around 50, which we weren’t able to do. That’s where we need to keep our scores. Our defense, early on, we gave up some easy baskets. They were knocking down threes and wide open because we just couldn’t locate guys and that was our initial problem was the defense.”

Munford had the momentum at the start of the game. Tweety Richardson got a good look from 3-point range, although the shot missed. Next, Jaylen Mitchell came up with a block on defense. On the ensuing offensive possession, Monteo Garrett had a chance for a 3-point play, although the free throw missed.

Guntersville answered with a 3-pointer from Dallas Stewart. Not to be outdone, Garrett hit a 3-pointer on the other end. After Tavon Lawson made a free throw, Munford held a 6-3 lead.

At that point, Guntersville started hitting 3-pointers. Blake Kennedy hit two back-to-back to give Guntersville a 9-6 lead. From that point on, Guntersville never relinquished their lead.

Richardson hit two free throws, to cut the Guntersville lead to 14-12, but Dallas Stewart grabbed an offensive rebound and had a putback for two points to make it 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Guntersville started out the second quarter with a 3-pointer from Stewart to push their lead to 19-12. Jaylen Mitchell answered with a baby hook shot inside to cut it to 19-14. But after that, Guntersville went on a 14-1 run. Dakota Cochran scored seven points during the run, while Blake Kennedy scored five points.

Each of the two players knocked down 3-pointers during the run with Cochran’s 3-pointer giving Guntersville their first double-digit lead of the game.

After the run, Garrett knocked down a 3-pointer to keep Munford in the game but they were still down 33-18 after Garrett’s shot. By the half, they trailed 34-20.

Tavon Lawson made a shot while driving along the baseline and knocking down the resulting free throw to cut the lead to 38-26.

On the ensuing defensive possession, Munford grabbed a defensive rebound and appeared headed for a transition basket when a delayed call came from the referee and Jaylen Mitchell was called for a foul. Cochran made both of the resulting free throws. Once there were less than four minutes left to play in the third quarter, Guntersville began to play a game of keep away holding on to the ball for nearly three minutes at one point. By the end of the third quarter, they held a 45-32 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Garrett made a shot while driving inside to cut the lead to 46-36. Shortly after that, Lawson and Garrett picked up their fourth personal fouls in quick succession.

“We fouled and I don’t know, I don’t like to harp on officiating but you look up and you see 9-3 on fouls, you don’t really have a chance,” Gaddis said.

Tweety Richardson managed to drive the entire length of the court for two points to cut the lead to 50-38, but that was as close as they would come. Guntersville finished the game on an 11-2 run.

Monteo Garrett led the team in scoring with 14 points, while Tweety Richardson finished with 11 points.

Guntersville was led by Dakota Cochran with 19 points. Blake Kennedy finished with 17 points, while Dallas Stewart chipped in 13 points.

“Overall we had a good season,” Gaddis said. “It’s good anytime you make it here and it was three years in a row. You’ve just got to be able to get here and win. That’s what we want to do. We’ve just got to overcome that next step. Sometimes you’ve got to take baby steps. As long as we keep getting here, we give ourselves a chance to win the next one and go on a little further. I’ve got seven guys coming back off this team. Hopefully, it’ll be a good one next year too.”

© 2013