Gover earns MVP

Devona Gover scored 24 points against Winterboro on Friday night.

HOWELL’S COVE -- The No. 5-ranked Talladega County Central High School girls basketball team defeated rival Winterboro 65-48 on Friday night in the Class 1A, Area 9 tournament championship game.

This is the third season in a row the Lady Fighting Tigers have claimed the area crown.

TC Central will host Coosa Christian in a 1A Northeast sub-regional game Monday at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the Sweet 16 at Jacksonville State University.

“We are excited and elated,” TC Central head coach Robert Duncan said. “I am really excited for the girls for the effort that they gave.

“We came out and got off to a fast start with a lot of energy. I was really concerned about us taking them for granted just because we have won a couple games against them. Our girls really came out focused and ready to play. They created some space where we could control the tempo of the game.”

Devona Gover led the way for TC Central with 24 points. The junior guard scored 10 in the first quarter, helping the Lady Fighting Tigers jump out to a 17-10 lead.

TC Central took control of the game in the second period, outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 19-7. Duncan’s crew picked up its defensive intensity and held Winterboro to two baskets.

TC Central had seven players score in the quarter, including Faith Johnson, who had four points in the period. Her layup increased TC Central’s lead to 31-15.

Amiya Sillmon ended the stanza with a 3-point play to give TC Central a 36-17 advantage at intermission.

It was more of the same in the third period as the Lady Fighting Tigers opened with a 15-2 run. Johnson connected on a pair of 3s during the spurt, including one to make it 51-19.

The Lady Fighting Tigers took a 55-25 advantage into the final period. Winterboro outscored TC Central 23-10 in the final eight minutes to make the score respectable.

Three to know

-  Gover led the way with 24 points, but several other players contributed offensively. Johnson had a solid outing with 12 points. Alisha Morris and Sillmon scored eight apiece for the Lady Fighting Tigers.

-Kya Brown led Winterboro with 20 points. Taniya Garrett scored 12, while Kylia Stamps added 11.

- TC Central had four players earn spots on the all-tournament team: Davionna Stockdale, Ja’Miya Whitson, Johnson and Gover. Winterboro had three players make the team: Garrett, Brown and Stamps.

Who said:

Gover on earning tournament MVP: “It is a big accomplishment. It was a lot of hard work for me as well as my team. I wouldn't have been able to do it without my girls getting in and assisting things.”

Duncan on Gover earning MVP: “Many of our girls played really well, (but) Devona Gover really stepped up on the offensive end during the tournament. She really provided a spark for us … She got a lot of garbage baskets, a lot of putbacks. She recognized the openings in the lane and penetrated from the top (of the key). We expect a lot out of her playing five positions; sometimes, I think we call on her a little too much. Even when she is not doing it on the scoring end, she still provides so much balance on the floor for us. Hats off to her for a great tournament, and we are still expecting great things from her down the road.”

Up next:

TC Central will host Coosa Christian on Monday at 7 p.m.  Coosa Christian fell to Spring Garden 73-23 in the 1A, Area 11 tournament final.

Winterboro will travel to take on Spring Garden on Monday.