SYLACAUGA — After losing the championship game of the Talladega County tournament in January, Sylacauga sat and watched as Talladega celebrated on their home court.
It was the third time in a row that the Tigers defeated the Aggies on the road and the second time this season.
Sylacauga, however, knew that they would get another shot at Talladega in the championship game of the Class 5A, Area 8 tournament. The Aggies took advantage of the opportunity as they beat down the Tigers 66-32 on Saturday night.
“The motivation was the county tournament when they came here and beat us,” Josiah Graham said. “They told us to warm up the bus, and they started waving their hands. We used that as motivation, and we knew that we had to come back at them.”
Graham couldn’t be stopped on Saturday. The senior scored 21 points against the Tigers, which included a highlight-reel dunk in the third quarter.
“I had to be in attack mode tonight,” Graham said. “In the last game, they could not stop me, so I kept doing it over and over again. They just have to adjust to it; if they adjust to it, I’ll just have to start shooting the ball. We were all in attack mode tonight.”
The Aggies got out to a fast start to open the game as they jumped out an 11-4 lead. Talladega would go on a mini 6-2 run to cut the lead down to 13-10, but Sylacauga closed the period out strong to take an 18-10 lead.
Sylacauga opened the second quarter on a 12-4 run to increase their lead to 30-14 with 4:36 left in the half.
The Tigers responded with a 9-2 run which was capped off by a Michael McGregor Jr. put back to cut the lead down to 32-25 with 48 seconds left in the half.
Sylacauga ended the half with an old fashion three-point play from Christian Twymon and a layup from Graham to increase their lead to 37-25 going into intermission.
The second half was one to forget for the Tigers. Sylacauga outscored Talladega 21-2 in the third. Graham got the Aggies going to start the period as he was able to take flight for a two-hand dunk off of a Talladega turnover. Crews Proctor was able to get to the basket for a layup a few seconds later off of a turnover to increase Sylacauga’s lead to 41-25.
Christian Twymon scored six of his 13 points in the third. The Aggies’ big man showed his athleticism as he went coast-to-coast for a two-hand dunk to increase the lead to 54-27. The senior said that they felt they could stop Talladega.
“We felt more comfortable in this game than we have in our past games against them,” Twymon said. We knew their strengths and weaknesses, and we used it to our advantage.”
Talladega only managed to score seven points in the second half. The 32-point outing is the lowest-scoring performance of the season for the Tigers.
“It was a complete performance,” Sylacauga head coach Kent Fullington said. “We were defensively locked-in better than I have seen us before. We executed everything in the half-court offensively that we wanted. We were very deliberate, at times we played with pace, but we were very deliberate in what we wanted to get. We know that they want to run. That’s the fuel to their fire, they want to get going in transition and get cheap buckets. We really limited that, especially in the second half. We really put the clamps down in the second half.”
Proctor scored 17 points for the Aggies. Caleb Burns, Proctor, Graham, and Twymon were named to the all-tournament team.
Talladega’s Arron Greene, Keontae Funderburg, Nigel Scales, and Jay Spratling were selected to the all-area tournament team.
The Aggies look to continue their winning ways when they host Pike County in the sub-region game on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Talladega will look to bounce back when they travel to take on Tallassee in the sub-region game on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.