“Defense is what did it for us,” Johnson said. “Both of the Calhouns (Caneasha and Quintessa) played great for us when we went to the diamond and 1 on her (Caroline Dodd). She didn’t score in the second half and that is a big time job. The third quarter we held them to seven points and in the fourth quarter we held them to two points. That’s defense and that is what we strive on playing good defense.”
This is the Lady Tigers first ever win in the Regional Tournament. Childersburg takes on Dadeville in the Class 4A Central Regional finals on Friday at 3:40 at Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
“I am excited,” junior forward Cierra Swain said. “This has been our goal ever since I was a freshman and this is our first time making it.”
The Childersburg Lady Tigers went on a 12-2 run to open the game. Tariah Reynolds and Mac Kelley set the tone early. Kelley and Reynolds scored six points in the quarter. Kelley scored four quick points to put Childersburg ahead 8-2. Reynolds came out aggressive. She knocked down two midrange jumpers, including one to make it 10-2. Her layup off of a Carbon Hill turnover increased their lead to 12-2.
Carbon Hill’s Caroline Dodd got hot in the first quarter. The Lady Bulldogs’ point guard scored seven points including a 3-pointer to cut the lead down to 12-7. Abby Tittle came off the bench and nailed a deep 3-pointer to cut lead to 12-10 with 1:21 left in the quarter. Dodd tied the game up at 12-12 with a step back jumper to tie the game at 12-12.
Kelley ended the 10-0 run with a jumper to give Childersburg a 14-12 lead going into the second quarter.
Dodd and Kelley carried their respective teams in the second quarter. Dodd opened the quarter by knocking down a 3-pointer to give Carbon Hill their first lead of the game, 15-14.
Kelley then took over the game for Childersburg. The senior scored nine points in the quarter, which included a 3-pointer to make it 19-15.
Kelley picked up her second foul with 4:54 left in the half, but she remained aggressive.
She drove down the lane through the Lady Bulldogs’ zone defense for a layup to give Childersburg a 21-15 advantage. After getting a stop on defense, Kelley drove down the court to increase the Lady Tigers lead to 23-15 with 4:34 left in the half.
Dodd and Carbon Hill made a 9-0 run to end the half. Savanna Lawson hit a 3-pointer to make it 23-18. Dodd connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to give Carbon Hill a 24-23 lead going into intermission.
The Lady Tigers turned up their defensive intensity in the third quarter.
Kelley came up with a steal and drove the basketball the length of the quart for a layup to tie the game at 27-27.
The Lady Tigers forced another turnover, which allowed Kelley to break out an easy layup to give them the lead back 29-27.
“I didn’t feel the pressure until we came into halftime down and that is when I knew we had to play,” Kelley said.
Reynolds scored seven points in the quarter for Childersburg. Her 3-pointer increased their lead 34-27.
Carbon Hill only scored seven points in the quarter. Lindsay Fluker scored four points including a jumper to make it 35-31.
In the fourth quarter, Carbon Hill struggled to get clean looks at the basket against Childersburg stifling defense. Caneasha Calhoun had to leave the game in the third quarter with what the Childersburg coaching staff called a sprain ankle. Her replacement Qunitessa Calhoun came in and harassed Dodd the entire length of the court. With 7:33 left in the fourth quarter Dodd was called for a five second violation, which fired up the Lady Tigers and their coaching staff.
Offensively, Swain was able to get going early in the period. Kelley found Swain as she slipped a pick and roll for a layup to make it 39-31. The junior also nailed a pair of free throws to increase their lead to 41-31.
Free throw shooting hasn’t been one of Childersburg’s strengths this season, but down the stretch the Lady Tigers went 7-10 from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
Carbon Hill’s only fourth quarter basket was scored by Tittle on a putback with 5:18 left in the game.
Kelley led Childersburg with 24 points, 14 rebounds, six steals and five blocks. Reynolds went 6-10 from the floor for 15 points. Swain just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Carbon Hill’s Dodd scored all 16 of her points in the first half.