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Moody remains focused on big picture following dominant win over Talladega County Central

Tori Pyles

Moody's Tori Pyles (14) scored a game-high 27 points against Talladega County Central on Wednesday.

MOODY — If there was any question about who would win on Wednesday morning, Moody’s Tori Pyles answered that when she scored 8 consecutive points in the first 2 minutes of the second quarter in Moody’s 51-22 victory over Talladega County Central at Lincoln.

“We rely on her,” Moody coach Rebecca Davis said. “She is who we want to give the ball to even if she is covered, and it is a joy to coach Tori.”

Despite the lopsided final score, things were rather close until Pyles caught fire to start the second quarter. Moody only led 10-6 after the first, even though Pyles scored 8 of her game-high 27 points in the opening quarter. Pyles also finished with 4 steals and at least 2 offensive rebounds.

The Blue Devils (2-3) forced several turnovers early against a young Talladega County Central team, but they struggled to capitalize offensively. That start is probably a big reason why Davis said she felt like Moody left Lincoln with a lot of mistakes to clean up.

The Moody coach couldn’t have felt more differently following Tuesday’s 46-22 loss to Homewood.

“They have two sisters, I think one is probably 6-2 and one is probably 6-1,” Davis said. “We could match one, we couldn’t match the other, but that was excellent for us to see. 

“Even though we lost by 20, I think it is the best we played all season.”

Davis said Homewood’s size and style of play remind her a lot of the Springville team who will travel to Moody on Dec. 16.

“I am hoping it prepares us for later down the road, but I was impressed,” Davis said. “We were down 10 at the half, came out and cut it to 6. Played the best, that stretch, the first 3 minutes in the half is the best we played all year, and then their size took over.”

What to know

— Moody’s Kendall Stephens finished Wednesday morning with a double-double, scoring 13 points while recording a game-high 10 rebounds.

— Moody’s Emma Kile frustrated Talladega County all game. She recorded at least 4 steals and forced a number of other turnovers.

— Talladega County Central’s Mahogani Evans finished with a team-high 8 points, while teammate Jireh Swain scored 7.

— Icey Gooden only scored 3 points for the Tigers, but it was obvious her teammates looked to her for leadership throughout the game. Gooden finished with 5 rebounds, a team-high 3 assists and a block.

— Talladega County eighth-grader Shanijah Smith finished with a team-high 8 rebounds.

Who said

— Davis on Stephens: “I say all the time, all points go through Kendall. It is not that it is all on her, she is not usually our leading scorer, but she is usually our second, and she distributes the ball better than anybody on our team, and our offense works best when it runs through her.”

— Davis on the team’s goals: “We made this schedule difficult on purpose, and we are bought into not worrying about our record, and even though our expectation is to make the playoffs, our expectation next year is to be in Jacksonville, and we are starting to work on that right now. That is our mindset. Obviously, we want what we want this year, but there is a bigger goal in mind.”

— Talladega County Central coach Elton Ashley on Gooden: “She’s very important. Without her, it’s going to be tough. She is a senior. She is becoming a good leader for us. With her, we are going to get better.”

Next up

— Moody hosts Alexandria on Dec. 1.

— Talladega County Central (0-3) travels to Victory Christian on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Sports Writer Tyler Waldrep: 256-299-2133. On Twitter: @tylerwaldrep