Tigers fall to Handley

Childersburg’s Emmanuel Traylor finished with 11 points against Handley.

CHILDERSBURG -- Childersburg High School’s boys basketball team fell into a hole early against visiting Handley, and that hole proved too much to overcome in a 64-48 loss in a Class 4A Southeast sub-regional matchup Tuesday.

During a stretch that lasted from the middle of the first quarter to nearly two minutes deep into the second, the visiting Tigers scored 19 unanswered points to take a 32-8 lead with just over six minutes to play in the half.

“They shot the ball good in the first half,” Childersburg head coach Johnny Johnson said. “They shot the ball, they made the 3s and they beat us off the dribble when we had to go man … They had a good game. I thought they played well, and at times, we played well.

“Again, it goes back to that first half. We dug ourselves a hole, but we got back (in it). Some things, you just can’t recover (from).”

Childersburg cobbled together a response to Handley’s offensive avalanche by going on a 17-6 run to close out the half and trim the deficit to 38-25.

Early in the third period, Childersburg’s Lamarr Duncan hit his only basket of the game -- a  3-pointer to cut Handley’s lead to 38-28. The homestanding Tigers’ offense stalled out again, and Handley capitalized to take a 52-33 advantage into the final quarter.

Childersburg struggled with its 3-point shooting for much of the contest. The Tigers made three shots from beyond the arc.

“We shot bad tonight with our 3s,” Johnson said. “Most of the time, we make some 3s, but we just couldn’t get anything going. I think we made 3 of 20 or whatever tonight … We were not shooting pretty good, but we gave ourselves a chance tonight.”

Despite the 3-point woes, the Tigers found a way to pull within eight points of Handley late in the contest. Childersburg’s defense limited the Tigers to two points through the first 5:15 of the final period, while its offense chipped in 13 points to make the score 54-46.

“We played hard,” Johnson said. “We had opportunities. We cut the lead to eight and to 10. They made some shots … I told them coming in that this was a good basketball team.”

Three to know

- Senior guard Desmond Pearson led Childersburg with 16 points, while senior guard Kaleon Nix added 13. The Tigers’ largest asset in terms of size, 6-foot-6 senior center Emmanuel Traylor, finished with 11.

- Handley junior guard Corey Bell came through big in the fourth quarter, scoring his team’s final 10 points. He ended his night with 25 points, while sophomore forward Dylan Brooks also finished in double figures with 14.

- The loss keeps Childersburg (20-10) from advancing to regional tournament play for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

Who said

- Handley coach John Smalley on starting strong: “In our area championship game, we didn’t score very well, and I think our kids were a little embarrassed about that. I think we wanted to come out and make a statement. We scored five points in the first half (against Booker T. Washington). We’re capable of scoring much more than that … Childersburg’s got a great team. They kept fighting, made a run and made us earn everything we got.”

- Childersburg senior forward RJ Wyckoff on the loss: “We had a great season. We had 20 wins. You can’t beat that. We were undefeated in the area. We came into this game, and I knew we were a little bit nervous. We don’t play to our potential, but we kept fighting like we always did all season. The young guys, they should take this loss and just dwell on it, think about it until next year.” 

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