Talladega got off to a hot start that was too much for visiting Alexandria to overcome, and the Tigers went on to an 83-59 victory in a Class 5A Northeast sub-regional game Tuesday night.
With the win, Talladega advances to the Northeast Regional tournament at Jacksonville State. The Tigers will play Arab on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
“We had to be aggressive,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “Here at Talladega, we want to set the pace, we want to be the aggressor. We don’t want to wait and let the game take care of itself.
“We were trying to attack early and get them playing a little faster than they were used to. We played pretty good defense, we gave up a couple of layups, but our defense was great. Plus, we hit some shots, and that always helps. On the other hand, we got in foul trouble, but we survived it.”
Talladega opened hot from behind the arc, hitting six 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Chaztin Tanner came up big for the Tigers in the opening period. With Ashton Duncan on the bench with two fouls, the junior guard stepped up and scored 13 points of his 25 points, including three 3-pointers. Tanner nailed a deep 3 with seven seconds left in the stanza to give Talladega a 28-17 lead.
“Duncan got two quick fouls, “Miller said. “Most people try to take out one of our guards, but we have three guards that are offensive minded, can get shots and get into the lane, too. They are not one dimensional; we just don’t have to hope that they are open. They can get themselves open.
“Chaztin did a great job of attacking the basket a couple of times. He is a good deep 3-point shooter, and we tend to take the deeper 3s. In my outlook … a lot of teams guard the line, but if you are back two or three steps, that gives you a split second to get your feet set.”
Talladega’s Fred Dickerson scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half.
In the second quarter, the senior guard was able to force turnovers and create easy opportunities for himself. Dickerson, who was playing in his final game at Chuck Miller Arena, drained a pair of jumpers off turnovers during the period. His free-throw line jumper off an Alexandria turnover increased the advantage to 36-19 with 5:33 left in the half.
Talladega was also able to make plays inside the paint in the second quarter. The undersized Tigers scored 12 points off layups; six of those points came off second-chance opportunities. Kobe Simmons scored six of his 12 points in the period. Simmons’ putback at the end of half gave Talladega a 46-32 lead.
In the third quarter, Talladega’s defense prevented any kind of comeback, holding the Valley Cubs to eight points. Talladega took a 59-38 lead into the final period.
Dalton Dobb led the way for Alexandria with 21 points.
For the Tigers, this is the fourth time in five years that they have advanced to the regional tournament. Last season, Talladega won the 5A Northeast Regional on its way to the Final Four.