In a frustrating night for Demopolis varsity basketball, the Lady Tigers saw Aaliyah Hatcher drain two free throws with 1.2 seconds left on the clock to lift Selma to a 42-41 win Thursday.
Williams grabbed an offensive rebound and got the foul call with her team down 41-40. Demopolis junior Shakesaney Bell set up the sequence when she stole the ball and drove all the way in for a layup with 16.9 seconds left on the clock.
Following the game, Demopolis coach Tony Pittman looked beyond the foul call and pointed to the second quarter as the key to his team’s loss.
“We went back to that spurt in the second quarter and we talked about it because before that spurt happened we were up 20-12. They went on an 8-0 run, which tied it at halftime. I felt like that was the big moment in the ball game,” Pittman said. “What happened the fourth quarter, that’s just basketball. That’s just basketball and we were unfortunate to be on the other end of it tonight. We’ve got to forget about that and get ready to play a good Linden game tomorrow.”
The Lady Tigers struggled to control Areyana Williams in the second quarter as the forward attacked the backside of the Demopolis defense to fuel her team’s rally, which resulted in a 20-all score at half.
“We played the way we knew we were capable of playing in the first quarter. The last three minutes of the second quarter, there was a lapse where we had people leaving the backside wide open and they scored eight points off that,” Pittman said. “We went in and we made an adjustment off that ball screen, which basically means that we were going to trap the ball and the backside post player would rotate. It was like a screen and roll situation. We defended it very well the second half. But I felt like that spurt late in the second quarter really hurt us. We played basket for basket from there on out.”
Williams ended her night with 18 points to lead the Lady Saints. Hatcher added 10 points in the win.
Demopolis got more than half its offense from beyond the arc where Sylvia Clayton, Shacorie Cockrell and Aniya Johnson combined for eight three-pointers.
“We’re blessed. Cockrell and Aniya Johnson, they’re freshmen but they don’t play like they’re freshmen. When they’re on, they take the pressure off Sylvia,” Pittman said. “Now Sylvia’s game has opened up and she can take those shots. Those are the types of shots she has to take night in and night out for us to be successful.”
Clayton finished with 12 points to lead Demopolis. Cockrell had nine while Johnson finished with seven. Samantha Williams had six in for the Lady Tigers. Darnesha Harris finished with 10 rebounds and four steals.
Despite the loss to the 21-1 Lady Saints, Pittman was enthusiastic about his squad.
“We knew going in that we could play with them. The thing about this young bunch is, after they play you one time, their confidence just grows. Next look we get at you, we’re going to play. I knew we were going to be ready to play because of the way we practiced,” Pittman said. “This team is just growing up by leaps and bounds. We’re seeing some different kids come off the bench to play and I’m excited about what’s to come. I still think we’ve got good ball coming.”
Demopolis is set to host Linden (16-2) Friday night.