SYLACAUGA — It took less than three minutes for Lanett to build a 10-point lead over B.B. Comer. By halftime, the Tigers trailed by 18, and even that felt like a lucky break for B.B. Comer.
After halftime, the Tigers came out with renewed energy and closed the gap to eight points before falling back behind in the final six minutes of Monday night’s 76-55 loss to Lanett in the subregional round of the Class 2A playoffs.
“Our girls, this is the first time in our history ever being here,” B.B. Comer coach Michael Hale said of the team's first home subregional. “Being in that close game down eight points. … I’m proud of the way we fought back.”
Lanett forced B.B. Comer to wage war for every inch of the basketball court from the first whistle to the last. That physicality and a noteworthy height advantage ultimately proved too much for the Tigers, who struggled to inbound the ball, especially in the first and fourth quarters.
“Like three or four times, man, those inbound plays,” Hale said, referring to the final six minutes. “Man, we got a system in place for that, and we tried to overcompensate. … We tried to do other people’s jobs, and that is what happened. We got hurt."
B.B. Comer’s superstar Raven McCain once again led the way finishing with a game-high 34 points.
“Her leadership took over in the third quarter,” Hale said. “And I really feel like if we could have cut it within five. … She would have got that spark and that energy we needed, but we didn’t close the gap enough for her to find it in the fourth quarter.”
Three to know:
— McCain drove to the basket for a layup and finished at the rim with 6:48 left in the game. The officials signaled she would go to the free-throw line for a chance to add another point. It was her fourth and-one call in the last four minutes of the game.
The B.B. Comer senior couldn’t help but yell out and pump her fist.
After she knocked down the free throw, the Tigers trailed by only eight points after trailing by as much as 21 in the first half.
— Lanett started the game on a 13-0 run in large part because the Tigers couldn’t advance past half court more than 50 percent of the time, if that, in the first half.
When Comer’s defense had time to set up, the Tigers forced missed shots but struggled to prevent second-chance opportunities, which allowed Lanett to eat the clock and extend the lead.
— B.B. Comer senior Alexus Kidd scored all three of her points in the opening period, but her real impact came on defense, where Kidd emerged as one of the only Tigers capable of matching up with Lannett in the first half.
Throughout the game, Kidd swatted a number of balls out of bounds, denying the Panthers a handful of layup opportunities. The senior also forced a handful of turnovers, including one that allowed McCain to score the opening points in the second half around the 6:50 mark.
Those plays seemed to spark the Tigers back to life early on, and Hale agreed with that sentiment after the game.
Hale on the impact this historic finish will have on returning players:
“It’s huge. … Now it’s like hey we’ve been there before. We hosted, we hosted throughout. They hosted throughout the area tournament. … It helps get that taste in their mouth to show them where do we got to be. It helps us not next week because we have a week off, but the week after that.”