HOWELL’S COVE — Talladega County Central High School’s girls basketball team defeated Coosa Christian 76-53 in the Class 1A, Northeast Sub-Regional on Monday night.
The Lady Fighting Tigers will take on Skyline on Thursday in the Northeast Regional Tournament at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the campus of Jacksonville State University. This is the fifth season in a row that TC Central has earned a berth into the Sweet 16.
“I am overwhelmed and kind of at a loss of words right now,” TC Central head coach Robert Duncan said. “Hats off to these girls for a gallant effort. They have fought hard and battled all season. To come out with the type of intensity that they had tonight was just unbelievable. They had a lot of energy the entire basketball game, they were able to wear them down in that first half and we made a couple of adjustments in that first half.
“As coaches, we just tried to prepare them. I would like to thank my assistant coaches: Mercedes Gillon-Gantt, Debra Gover, Moses Stephen and JoAnn Swain. they came in with the energy to overwhelm a great basketball team.”
TC Central led 16-13 at the end of the first, but was able to increase its lead to 39-26 at halftime.
The Lady Fighting Tigers picked up their intensity on the defensive end and nailed several 3-pointers in the second.
TC Central opened the second on an 8-2 run. Anysiah Taylor provided a spark on both ends of the court. The sophomore hit a jumper to make it 18-13. On the defensive end, she was able to force several turnovers with her intensity.
The Lady Fighting Tigers hit back-to-back 3-pointers by Ja’Miya Whitson and Janyia Wallace to increase their lead to 24-15.
Coosa Christian responded with a 7-2 spurt to cut the lead to 26-20, but that’s as close as they would get. TC Central ended the half on a 13-6 run.
TC Central nailed three 3-pointers during the run. Faith Johnson started the run with a 3, while Whitson and Wallace closed out the first half with back-to-back 3s before the intermission.
The Lady Fighting Tigers put the game out of reach in the third as TC Central’s defensive effort was too much for Coosa Christian to handle. TC Central held the Lady Conquerors to only nine points during the period and forced several bad shots and turnovers.
Taylor forced back-to-back turnovers late in the quarter. Her layup off of a turnover gave TC Central a 55-35 lead into the final period.
Three to know
- TC Central had five players to reach double-figures. Faith Johnson led the way with 21 points, while Devona Gover had another solid performance with 14, Taylor finished with 13, Whitson and Wallace finished with 10 points apiece.
- The Lady Fighting Tigers nailed nine 3-pointers for the game and made Coosa Christian pay for slow rotations on defense when TC Central had multiple shooters on the floor.
- TC Central won its 25th game of the season -- the most wins the Lady Fighting Tigers have had in a season in over a decade.
- Duncan on his team hitting nine 3-pointers: “We have a couple of girls that have been shooting the ball well lately. When you have Janyia Wallace and Anysiah Taylor, (who) can knock down shots from around the perimeter, it really opens up everything and teams just can’t sag back on us. They were really sagging back heavily. “
- Duncan on Taylor’s performance: “She’s one of those kids that has been in the program since the seventh grade. I think she just eats and sleeps basketball. She is one of those that comes ready to play every day. Even when she is not having a good game, she still loves to play the game. Hats off to her tonight for her energy on defense. I think she really excelled. Shout out to her momma and grandmother for getting her contacts in before the game tonight. I think it really propelled her, and it was a great team effort.”
- TC Central will take on Skyline in the Sweet 16 at JSU on Thursday. Time for the game was not available at time of press.