Demopolis rolls through Calera to advance to Regional play

Demopolis punched its ticket to the Central Regional Tournament Monday with a 57-39 road victory over Calera in sub-regional action.

The Lady Tigers started hot, outscoring Calera 20-5 in the first quarter. Demopolis scarcely relinquished control throughout the duration of the ball game, leading 28-16 at half and 45-31 by the end of the third quarter.

“That was our plan, to come in and take control of the basketball game, attack the basket, use our speed and our quickness. We were able to do so,” Demopollis coach Tony Pittman said. “We got some easy baskets and it really helped us turn the intensity up on defense.”

Freshman guard Aniya Johnson set the pace with 16 points on the night including 13 in the game’s second half. Senior forward Darnesha Harris added 15 points and 12 rebounds in the effort. Freshman Shacorie Cockrell scored 12. Sahakesaney Bell finished with eight points while Sylvia Clayton scored six.

“It’s expected of them. That’s the type of mentality that we want them to have throughout the year. Even though they’re freshmen, they don’t have to play like freshmen,” Pittman said of his freshman duo combining for 28 points in a crucial road victory. “Kudos to Sylvia because she was able to create and draw double teams and they were able to knock down some open shots.”

Demopolis also shot at a scintillating clip from the free throw line, draining 11 of 12 attempts in the game.

“I think the difference tonight was the preparation. We had three days to work on the things we needed to work on and that was one of them. Coach (Ronnie) Abrams did a tremendous job of talking to our girls about going to the free throw line and clearing your mind and knocking your shot down,” Pittman said. “When you get to this point here, it’s the little things that make the difference for us.”

Demopolis (17-6) is set to play in the Class 5A Central Regional at Alabama State University Monday at 9 a.m. against Sylacauga (19-4).

“I expect just to go back into the gym once we find out who our opponent is and put a game plan together,” Pittman said. “It takes a total team effort every time we go out on the floor. We expect everybody to do their part and get a W.”