Defense begets offense for Demopolis in home-opening win

Shakari Williams drops in two of his 19 points in Tuesday’s win over Greensboro.

Demopolis coach Ashley Allen is adamant that his 6-5 junior wing Shakari Williams is a Division I basketball player. Tuesday night, Williams did all he could to prove his coach right as his Tigers won their home opener 64-52 over perennial power Greensboro.

“He got tired of hearing it from me. I’ve been telling him he is a DI guy. He is a DI prospect if I’ve ever seen one,” Allen said of Williams. “If he continues to work and do the things that I’m trying to help him with, he is going to be fine. He can stretch it out. I can put him at point guard. He can do pretty much anything. He can play defense on anybody.”

Williams established himself early as his team opened the game on a 15-2 run. The standout junior scarcely went away over the course of the contest, finding new ways to impact the game at on both ends of the floor.

Williams helped his Tigers stretch their 13-point advantage to a 32-12 halftime lead and a 23-point advantage through the first three quarters of play.

“It’s tremendous. I’m a defensive guy. I feel like defense fuels everything,” Allen said of his squad’s defensive effort, which produced 12 blocked shots and 12 steals. “(Derrick and Darius Birl) got hot. Shakari got hot. (Tony Pittman Jr.) came in and did something.”

When the Tigers weren’t creating defense with offense with a fast-paced rob-and-run style, they were settling into a quick-passing half court set that gave Greensboro plenty with which to reckon.

“I’ve only coached them 30 games. I’m glad that it’s turning around that quick,” Allen said of his team’s relatively rapid adaptation to his offensive set. “I haven’t had that turn around at any other school that I’ve coached that quick.”

The game marked the third consecutive win for the Tigers, who downed Leeds and Choctaw County to start the win streak.

“I’m very proud of them. I feel like we’ve still got a little rustiness to get out,” Allen said. “Hopefully it does something for the city of Demopolis and letting them know that we’re trying to do something in basketball.”

Williams capped his night with 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Darius Birl had nine points and three steals. Nelson Haskin had eight points, seven rebounds, six blocks, two assists and two steals. Malik Moore added seven points and five rebounds to go along with four assists and two steals. Taylor Herelle notched six points and nine rebounds off the bench. Pittman finished with seven points while Derrick Birl had six points and three steals.

Demopolis (4-5) is set to host Choctaw County Friday night. Greensboro (8-6) travels to Hale County Friday.