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Sylacauga completes comeback, earns Final Four berth

proctor-Odem bc.jpg

Crews Proctor and Jeremy Odem go for an offensive rebound in Sylacauga's victory over Greenville in the Southeast Regional Championship game in Montgomery.

MONTGOMERY — Sylacauga seemed out of sorts and overmatched for most of the first half, but the Aggies that came out of the locker room were intended to prove they belonged in the Final Four.

“We came in at halftime, coach had to get on our butts, get our head straight,” Christian Twymon said. “We went back out there and played loose.”

The Aggies trailed by 10 at the break but used a 10-2 run at the top of the third quarter to flip the script in Sylacauga’s 70-63 victory over Greenville in the Class 5A Southeast Regional finals. This is the Aggies' first trip to the state semifinals since 2018.

Other than one 15-second blip in the first half, the Aggies trailed the entire game until Sylacauga’s Maleek Pope drove to the basket with 6:36 left in the game.

“I’m so thankful to have gotten a chance to coach this team,” Sylacauga coach Kent Fullington said. “They teach me how to become a better man. That comeback right there, that is all character. That is all heart.”

Fullington said he challenged his players during halftime to play the rest of the game fearlessly. That certainly seemed to do the trick. 

Perhaps no individual better demonstrated that quality than Twymon, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half despite playing only seven minutes during the last two quarters. Even that much playing time is somewhat significant, considering the senior picked up his fourth foul with 5:03 left in the third.

“It feels better than what I thought it would feel,” Twymon said, referring to Sylacauga’s place in the state semifinals. “It feels great to go to the Final Four for my first time.”

Three to know

—Sylacauga senior Josiah Graham finished with a team-high 16 points. His best stretch probably came within exactly one minute of Twymon hitting the bench with four fouls. Graham stepped up and knocked down two layups to tie the game at 47.

—During the final 1:39, one Aggie fan shouted, ‘take us home Crews.’ Whether he heard the cheer or not, Sylacauga senior Crews Proctor scored four of his 14 points and grabbed one of his team-high six rebounds to preserve the Aggies’ victory. After draining his final free throw with six seconds remaining to extend the lead to seven, Proctor looked up at the ceiling and seemed to relax. 

—Twymon wasn’t the only Aggie in foul trouble. Graham picked up his third foul in the final minute of the first half, but managed to avoid a fourth. Meanwhile Proctor picked up his second and third fouls with 5:43 left in the game. Proctor also received a fourth with 2:33 remaining. At the time, the Aggies only held a 3-point lead.

Who said

—Proctor on what was going through his head when he looked up: “Just relief. I wanted to win this game so bad. I’ve wanted to go to the Final Four so bad, my senior year, it’s just amazing.”

Sports Writer Tyler Waldrep: 256-299-2133. On Twitter: @tylerwaldrep