TC Central 52, Coosa Christian 50: Lady Fighting Tigers complete late comeback to advance to Sweet 16

TC Central advances

DeVona Gover contributed 12 points for the Lady Fighting Tigers in a 52-50 win over Coosa Christian on Monday.

HOWELL’S COVE -- Talladega County Central High School’s girls basketball team came from behind to defeat Coosa Christian 52-50 in the Class 1A Northeast sub-regional on Monday night at Clarence Marble Gymnasium.

With the win, the Lady Fighting Tigers (22-9) earned their sixth straight trip to the Sweet 16. TC Central will take on Valley Head on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Northeast Regional Tournament at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

“It is a big win,” TC Central head coach Robert Duncan said. “It was one of our better wins of the season. It might not be the best team that we have played, but it is a better win. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We didn’t shoot free throws well. 

“Like I told the girls a couple of days ago, ‘Sometimes you just have to grind out some wins. You are not going to get a blowout win all the time.’ We had to grind it out. I told them if we keep on grinding, that we will pull it out at the end.”

Coosa Christian (15-10) held a lead for the first three quarters, but the Lady Conquerors were unable to withstand a fourth-quarter run by TC Central.

The Lady Fighting Tigers were able to erase their 42-37 deficit midway through the frame by going on a 9-1 run to take a 46-43 lead.

Coosa Christian, however, would respond with a 3 by Isabella Millirons with 2:28 left in the game.

DeVona Gover, who sat the entire third period after picking up two fouls in the first half, made her presence felt in the fourth. The senior gave TC Central a 47-46 lead after splitting a pair from the line with 1:57 remaining.

India Brown made a basket to put Coosa Christian ahead again 48-47, but the lead would be short-lived. Faith Johnson hit a floater to give TC Central a 49-48 lead with 1:33 remaining.

Turnovers plagued Coosa Christian late in the game. Gover would get a steal and find Johnson for a layup to increase the lead to 51-48 with 1:14 left.

Brown, who led the way for Coosa Christian with 19 points, responded with a layup to cut the lead down to 51-50.

With 13.2 seconds left in the game, Coosa Christian had an opportunity to regain the lead, but Gover would come with another steal and get fouled with 4.4 seconds remaining.

Gover missed the first attempt but drained the second attempt to make it 52-50 with 4.4 seconds left.

On the ensuing inbound pass, Gover would knock the ball out of bounds with 1.8 seconds on the clock.

Coosa Christian attempted to get the ball to Brown on the final play of the game, but Alisha Morris was able to get a deflection, which fell into the hands of Gover who dribbled out the clock.

“It wasn’t an easy win -- it was a hard fight,” Gover said.” I knew that I had to step up despite what I was feeling and hustle. I had to get it done for our team because it was do-or-die. I had to leave it all on the floor.”

Johnson led the way for TC Central with 21 points. Morris scored 14 points while Gover finished with 12 points.

Millirons scored 13 points for Coosa Christian, Kaylee Hasley chipped in 10. 

TC Central will take on Valley Head on Thursday at 3 p.m. at JSU.

Valley Head went on the road to defeat Lindsay Lane, 56-49 on Monday night.