The two teams played to a 19-19 by the end of the first quarter. Childersburg gained the lead in the second quarter, as they held a 34-29 advantage by halftime.
It was clear Childersburg intended to gain a comfortable lead, as they came out to start the third quarter on an 18-4 run that gave them a 19-point lead, certainly more comfortable than their five-point lead held at halftime.
“We just talked to them at halftime about pulling away because we knew if it stayed close in the fourth quarter No. 3 (Taylor Whitt) can be a difference maker,” Childersburg head coach Al Barnett said. “He had 13 first half points. We got some turnovers and got some transition baskets. The lead’s up to 13 or 14 and we just kind of coasted the rest of the way.”
Keonte Estelle kicked things off with a steal that led to an easy transition basket and two points. After that, Estelle did his part to get the crowd into it with Tyrell Garrett coming up with two dunks, the final one executed perfectly by Estelle and Garrett, as Estelle threw up a lob and Garrett timed it perfectly. The game was held in the afternoon, so Childersburg students could enjoy the game.
The mostly student crowd was without question energized by both dunks, especially the encore dunk and based on the 18-4 run, the team seemed to be energized by the dunks as well.
“With the student body here, those two dunks played a huge, huge role in getting the crowd up and everything,” Barnett said. “It was a fun environment today. The kids out here and I think our kids were pumped up about it.”
However, that wasn’t all; there were more strong plays to follow. After Holtville hit a basket, Estelle answered by maneuvering the ball under and around a defender for two points. Estelle picked up a steal on the defense end and helped Derrick Jones pick up a dunk to push the score to 44-31.
After a Holtville basket, Deda Bradley picked up the Childersburg offense with two straight 3-point shots, followed by a transition basket while drawing a foul to cap the 18-4 run and extend Childerburg’s lead to 52-33.
By the end of the third quarter, Childersburg had a 60-42 lead. They were able to build the lead a little in the fourth quarter, ultimately winning the game 75-52. Barnett said there were multiple factors in the win, with defense being one of the big keys in the second half.
“Deda Bradley hitting the 3-pointers early kind of helped us, just picking up our defensive intensity in the second half made a big difference and our depth got them, too,” Barnett said. “We can play ten or 11 guys.”
Deda Bradley led all scorers with 23 points. Tyrell Garrett contributed 10 points.
For Holtville, Taylor Whitt led the team in scoring with 21 points.
There will be a coin flip tomorrow between Childersburg and Dallas County to determine the top slot in the area. Meanwhile, Barnett said the team has plenty of important games before the Area Tournament takes place.
“We’re looking to improve defense, breaking press and rebounding the ball,” he said. “We close out the season with as tough a stretch as I can imagine. Go to Ben Russell, host the fifth-ranked team in 2A, Vincent and then go to Talladega. So to close out the regular season, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”