CHILDERSBURG -- Childersburg’s high school boys basketball team sent its senior night crowd home happy with a 58-52 win over rival Sylacauga on Friday.
With the Aggies clinging to a 43-42 fourth-quarter lead, Childersburg picked up five quick points -- a basket by KC Calhoun and a quick turnover forced by Tray Twyman, who deposited the ball in the goal and sank a free throw off an Aggies’ foul to put the Tigers ahead 47-43 with 4:38 to play.
“That Tray Twyman turnover at that end I thought changed the whole momentum of the game,” Tigers head coach Johnny Johnson said. “We were chipping away, but that set the tone and gave us the motivation.
“We made some shots down the stretch. They didn’t make most of their shots like they (usually) make. The defense was good in the end. That possession was the whole difference in the game right there in the fourth quarter.”
Twyman and Calhoun’s points sparked a 16-9 Tigers run to close out the win. Twyman finished his night with 16 points, while Syheem Young led the team with 17.
Johnson said it was a great feeling to reward his players and Tigers fans with a win.
“There was a great crowd here tonight,” he said. “I told the senior guys before we went out, ‘You can’t beat your senior night. You’ve got a packed house, you’re playing Sylacauga and you went out with a win. You can’t beat that.’”
Sylacauga stayed out in front for most of the game and entered the fourth-quarter with a 40-35 advantage before things started to unravel.
Aggies coach Will Copeland said the loss couldn’t be blamed on any individual player.
“It was a just group effort that we didn’t win this basketball game,” he said. “It’s not one particular person. It’s just that we didn’t finish well as a basketball team. We missed free throws, we turned the ball over, we couldn’t rebound, we didn’t make shots -- you name it. We didn’t do it at the end when it counts, and that’s just the bottom line.
“We didn’t finish well, but hat’s off to Childersburg. They came in and did stuff at the end in order to win the game. Coach Johnson did a good job there at the end.”
Sylacauga point guard Khalil Pope and shooting guard Darian Garrett each scored 12 points in a game in which points and rebounds were a scarce commodity.
“They’re a good defensive team, and we played good defense here tonight,” Copeland said. “We had some of our big guys who were in foul trouble, and De’Onte Smith had a bad ankle and didn’t play at the end. So as a collective team, we didn’t rebound well.”
The Aggies took advantage of some early free-throw shooting woes to pull ahead of Childersburg 14-10 at the end of the opening stanza and maintained the momentum, going into the locker room ahead 28-25 at halftime.
“The second half, we relaxed more,” Johnson said. “When we went in at halftime, I said, ‘Look, when you go to the free-throw line, it’s free. Relax. Just knock them down.’ In the first half, if we had made our free throws, we would’ve been right there in the ballgame. In the second half, I know we missed a couple of them, but (free throws) kept us in the ballgame and kept us in the lead to help us finish.”