CHILDERSBURG -- Childersburg High School’s boys basketball team fended off a fourth-quarter rally that saw Montevallo close within a basket of tying the game before self-destructing in the final minute.
The 61-53 victory by the Tigers secured the Class 4A, Area 8 title and ensured Childersburg will get to play one more game at home in the sub-regional round Tuesday.
“The key for us was to come out fast and try to play good because we’ve always been chasing,” Childersburg head coach Johnny Johnson said. “I told them, ‘Let’s make them chase us.’ We had a good defensive plan. They made some shots in the fourth quarter. We didn’t get nothing going and turned the ball over, but it’s a good team win.”
Childersburg led 42-29 after three quarters, but Montevallo mounted a furious comeback, outscoring the Tigers 20-9 during a six-minute surge.
After a Montevallo timeout, Childersburg put together a 7-0 spurt to go ahead 58-49 with 54.1 seconds to play.
A mere 16 seconds later, tempers flared following a play where Childersburg center Emmanuel Traylor got tangled up with a Bulldog chasing a loose ball.
Officials stepped in to separate the squads and assessed Montevallo head coach Greg Dickinson and senior power forward Isaiah Chapple with technical fouls. The latter was ejected.
Childersburg senior guard Kaleon Nix made 3 of the 4 shots at the charity stripe to push the game even further out of reach. Nix finished with 12 points, including a 4-point play in the second quarter, and earned tournament MVP.
“Kaleon’s been playing good in this tournament,” Johnson said. “We keep him on the floor a lot. He makes his free throws. He’s about an 80-percent free-throw shooter. In the first half, that 4-point play was big for us. It kept us up … He had a great tournament for us.”
After a few minutes of see-saw action, Childersburg took control in the opening quarter and built a 13-6 lead. The Tigers went into the locker room up 29-21.
Three to know
- RJ Wyckoff (17 points), Traylor (10) and Desmond Pearson (10) represented the Tigers on the all-tournament team.
- Montevallo freshman point guard Michael Jones paced his squad with 20 points. Freshman guard Kial Cottingham added 12. Both earned spots on the all-tournament team.
- Leeds senior Daven Hopkins rounded out the all-tournament team.
- Nix on winning the area tournament: “It was big because we’ve been working all season for this. We’re undefeated in our area, so this was just the icing on the cake. We had to finish it off tonight.”
- Johnson on his players staying disciplined during the late-game altercation: “I would say it’s school pride. You’ve got to think about the next game. If you get that foul, you can’t play in the next game. I preach that all the time, ‘Have character. Be smart.’ We did a good job tonight in the situation that went down.”