CHILDERSBURG -- Childersburg High School’s girls basketball team captured the Class 4A, Area 8 Tournament championship with a 57-30 victory over Leeds on Thursday night.
The Lady Tigers held the Lady Green Wave scoreless through the first six minutes and established a 15-2 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
Childersburg head coach Gavin King earned his third area title in three seasons at the helm.
“We threw a different look at them tonight than we’ve shown them in our previous two matchups,” King said. “We’ve kind of been working on defense and some pressure that we haven’t actually run yet. We’ve been saving it for the postseason. The last couple of nights, it has worked out well for us.
“Hopefully, we can keep surprising people and changing our looks up. I’m very proud of the defense. We’re playing great defense without fouling, and when our shots are falling, that makes us even tougher to beat.”
Lady Tigers senior power forward Ke’Asia McKinney managed a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) despite playing a controlled number of minutes. She was one of four Childersburg players to be named to the all-tournament team.
“She’s been battling a little bit of an injury from a week ago, and we’ve been working her on the side, trying to loosen up her knee a little bit -- a lot of ice and treatment on that thing,” King said. “She was good to play limited minutes tonight, and when she went in, she made the most of it. She had a great game scoring, rebounding and (applying) defensive pressure.
“I feel like we’re about as healthy as you can be now at this point of the season, and there’s really no excuses moving forward.”
Childersburg held a 27-14 advantage at halftime and widened the gap to 42-16 going into the final frame.
Lady Tigers point guard Eunique McKinney, the tournament’s MVP, paced her squad with 13 points, seven steals, six assists, three rebounds and a blocked shot.
Senior forward Jakiah Roston (12 points) and senior shooting guard Gabby Wilson (seven) joined the McKinneys on the all-tournament team.
King said his starting five is really starting to shine as the team gets deeper into the postseason.
“We’re playing really good ball right now, and what’s helping our starters kind of be playing their best ball at this point in the season is I think their legs are fresh because of how good our bench is,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of girls come in and play great minutes when I sub them in. I’m not worried about leaving them on the court, and they can play as long as they need to get the starters some rest and back in … This is probably the deepest team I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
A pair of eighth-graders, point guard Katelyn Sims and small forward Kailyn Jones, tied for the Lady Green Wave team lead in points with six. Three seniors, guard Nazaria Gaiter, guard Jordan Gough and power forward Brooke Haynes, represented Leeds on the all-tournament team.
“They’re (Childersburg) a tough team,” Leeds head coach Melissa Causey said. “We’ve played them pretty tough this year, and every year we play them. We are disappointed by the loss, but I’m proud of the girls, all they’ve accomplished and how hard they worked. It’s been a good season, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we do next week.”
Childersburg (28-4) will host the loser of the 4A, Area 5 championship game featuring Handley and B.T Washington, while Leeds (10-15) will travel to face the Area 5 winner. The times and dates of these games have yet to be determined.