TUSCALOOSA – Tony Pittman recorded his 400th win as a head coach in memorable fashion Monday night, piloting the Demopolis Lady Tigers to a 40-37 come-from-behind win over area foe Central-Tuscaloosa.
“This team is very resilient. They’re going to snap back and do the things that they’re supposed to do. We made mistakes, but they still continued to fight and work hard and I’m just very proud. I couldn’t be any more proud of this basketball team and winning the 400th with this group,” Pittman said. “They work so hard. We’re not a very talented bunch, but they’re very hard workers.”
The Lady Tigers trailed throughout the entirety of the first half, mustering only eight points in the first quarter en route to a 20-14 deficit at intermission. Still, it was the tenacious Demopolis defense that kept Pittman’s squad in the contest.
“Congrats to these ladies. They worked so hard. A lot of time the coaches get the credit, but these young ladies right here, they worked their butt off. We came out the first half and we turned the basketball over. We were not in synch in our offense. That had a lot to do with the Central defense. They’re very aggressive,” Pittman said. “We were able to go in the second half and make some adjustments, settle down, and start to do the things that we know we’re capable of doing.”
The Lady Tigers surrendered 14 points in the first quarter and only six in each of the second and third quarters. That effort allowed senior point guard Sylvia Clayton to sink a three-pointer with three seconds remaining the third quarter to give Demopolis its first lead of the game at 28-26.
“We talked about in the second half making the extra pass, making the extra pass, making them work on defense,” Pittman said of the pivotal sequence. “Aniya was able to catch her at the top of the key and she knocked the shot down. That’s what we expect Sylvia to do. She’s going to take those clutch shots. They did a great job tonight. I’m very proud of this basketball team.”
The Demopolis momentum never slowed from there. The Lady Tigers outpaced Central 12-11 in the fourth quarter to ice the victory, that forces a tie atop Class 5A, Area 7. A coin toss to determine the area winner and host of the Class 5A, Area 7 tournament will take place Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Freshman standout Aniya Johnson was the high scorer for the Lady Tigers with 16 points including nine from beyond the arc. Clayton added eight points
Shunterius Stephens paced Central with 10 points. Quintasia Leatherwood-Doss had nine points while Mackenzie Mahone had eight.
Demopolis (14-5, 3-1) is set to host Thomasville Thursday night. Central (19-6) travels to Keith Tuesday.