Linden scores 20 in fourth for comeback win in South Regional

DOTHAN — Linden’s hopes of returning to the state championship game appeared doomed before Amber Richardson emerged from the locker room with 2:48 to play in the third quarter Friday.

The Patriots trailed by as many as 12 in the game and 11 in the fourth quarter before mounting a 20-5 run over the game’s final 6:15 to beat Pleasant Home 55-51 in the first round of the Class 1A South Regional.

“We’re resilient. We don’t give up quick. We’re digging deep. That’s what we work hard for,” Linden coach Teressa Bolden said of her team’s effort in the comeback victory. “We live by this: if you want it, you’re going to have to take it. That was our motto. We live by it.”

Richardson left the game due to injury with 1:48 left in the first half with her team down 27-21.

“This is what we worked for. We told them we were going to have to dig deep,” Bolden said of her message to her team at halftime as it appeared Richardson would not return. “Nobody was going to help. Nobody was going to double. Everybody was going to have to play their own man. We were doubling (Baldwin) but then everybody was just going to have to play.”

“I knew I had to be back out there because they’re my sisters. I’m not going to give up on them. They’re not going to give up on me. I just had to go out there and hustle, knock down free throws because they’re free,” Richardson said of her thought process while she was sidelined with a lower leg injury. “I was more determined that I wasn’t going to give up no matter how bad it was hurting. They got beat up. They still hustled out there. I got beat up, I put a sleeve on it and took off.”

From there, Pleasant Home opened the lead to double figures and wrested away any trace of Linden momentum by the 2:48 mark of the third quarter when Bolden called timeout with her team down 41-29.

“They’re like sisters, so they knew that she was OK. That was the main thing,” Bolden said of the noticeable uptick in her team’s energy as Richardson stepped back onto the court. “But, also, we had her in that middle to help with the long passes when they were putting so much pressure. So it was a big energy boost right there.”

Tyroneisha Charleston started the run with a steal and a drive to cut it to 41-31. Richardson then connected on a drive before dishing off to Tomysha Boykin for a layup to set it at 41-35 and force an Eagle timeout with 56.2 left in the third quarter.

Pleasant Home sophomore River Baldwin then reasserted herself with a personal 5-0 run to move the lead to 46-35 early in the fourth quarter.

“We were trying to double her but we seemed to have done a better job when we went one-on-one with her. We were so focused on doubling her and two people staying on her that it was pulling away from our other pressure on the other guards,” Bolden said of her team’s strategy to combat Pleasant Home’s 6-4 sophomore center. “She’s an awesome player though.”

With 6:15 to go, the game began to turn. Richardson connected on a shot inside the paint to make it 46-37. Dajia Miller then hit a pair of free throws with 5:35 to play to cut it to 46-39.

“I just had to step it up a little bit. I knew it was playoff season and I didn’t want to go home,” Miller said of her offensive output down the stretch. “I had to either score or go home.”

After struggling from the outside all night, Linden got a boost when Miller dished off to Tomysha Boykin who drained a three to cut it to 46-42. Richardson then hit a pullup from the free throw line to make it a one-possession game at 46-44. After a Richardson free throw, Boykin made one of her own with 3:09 to go to tie the game at 46.

Linden took the lead for only the second time in the contest with 2:19 to go when Boykin turned another Miller dime into a three-pointer for the 49-46 advantage.

“It was because I knew that we were down,” Boykin said. “I guess they just started falling because I knew what I had to do in order to get my team back where we needed to be and on track.”

In the game’s final minute, a free throw contest ensued. Miller and Richardson each made a pair before Baldwin hit a three-pointer to cut it to a 2-point game with 14 seconds left. Boykin then went to the line with her team up 53-51 and 3.3 second left on the clock.

“I better make these. That’s what I was thinking. I didn’t want to let my team down,” Boykin said. “Free throws, in the end, they actually count for a lot. I had to step to the line and knock them down.”

Boykin nailed both shots to ice the win. Linden had previously beaten Pleasant Home 63-37 at the Brantley Christmas Tournament Dec. 17, 2016.

“It’s playoff season. Everybody is ready to play. I tell my girls it’s like hunting season. Either you’re the sniper or you’re the deer. Pick which one you want to be. Right now, we want to be the snipers,” Bolden said.

Baldwin led all players with 35 points and 18 rebounds. Richardson led Linden with 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Boykin had 15 points while Miller finished with 11 points and six steals.

Linden (22-4) is set to play in the finals of the South Regional at the Dothan Civic Center Tuesday at 4 p.m. against the winner of Kinston and J.F. Shields.

Seymore takes over as Demopolis football coach

New Demopolis High School and former Mary Montgomery coach Brian Seymore speaks during Mobile County Media Days sponsored by Al.com at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on Monday July 27, 2015. (Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

Brian Seymore is officially the new head football coach of Demopolis High School following a brief meeting of the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education Thursday.

“I’m just overjoyed to be here. I’m truly blessed. To be a part of this community. We have to have a team that makes a push every year to be playing into late November,” Seymore told the board following its unanimous vote to approve the single-item personnel action sheet. “I understand the expectations and I’ll work each and every day to make sure our coaches achieve those goals.”

Seymore spent the 2007 season as the defensive coordinator of the Tigers before leaving to return to Andalusia as the head coach. He spent seven seasons atop the Andalusia program, going 46-29 during that stretch. He has spent the last two seasons leading the Class 7A Mary Montgomery program where he was 8-12 in two years and 5-5 this season.

Seymore plans attended the board meeting with his daughter Mary Taylor (ninth grade) and son Drew (seventh grade). Seymore and his wife, Nicholas, also have a fourth-grade daughter, Maggie.

Seymore intended to attend Thursday’s home basketball game against Thomasville before meeting with players Friday.

“Our kids are anxious. They haven’t seen a face in a month and a half,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said.

Seymore is the successor to Stacy Luker, who resigned from the program in December 2016. The new Demopolis head coach had his first such job at AISA Pike Liberal Arts in 2004-2005 where he was 15-7 in two seasons.

Lady Tigers ease past Keith

Tony Pittman’s team did not take the floor with the kind of razor focus he would have preferred, but the Lady Tigers still managed to rout Keith 50-15 Tuesday night.

“We talked about coming out and establishing our offense and defense tonight because that’s what we’ve been working on in practice. I know the score showed something different, but I didn’t feel like we came out with the mindset that we really needed to,” Pittman said. “We had a high level discussion at halftime and we were able to come back and do what we originally said we were going to do the first half.”

Demopolis led 12-3 after one quarter of play and opened the lead to 27-8 by half. After Pittman refocused demanded sharper play in the second half, the Lady Tigers responded with a 19-4 third quarter.

“We can go as far as our senior leaders,” Pittman said of his team’s postseason prospects. “The talent is around. Even though they’re young, the pieces that we have, if we’re playing together as one unit, we can be pretty good. I think our best ball is yet to come. We just keep pushing and pushing.”

A trio of Demopolis players scored in double figures as Darnesha Harris set the pace with 11 points, six rebounds and three steals. Shakesaney Bell and Aniya Johnson each contributed 10 in the effort.

Demopolis got considerable minutes out of its bench unit in the contest. Keyjana Waller drew the task of leading that group, a call she answered admirably with eight points and seven rebounds.

“She is coming on. She is really coming on,” Pittman said of Waller. “She is starting to understand our offense and the way we want to play ball at this level and you can see it in the way she practiced. Hopefully it will carry on with her and carry out more as we go along.”

Demopolis (12-4, 2-1) is set to host Selma Thursday.

1-3-17 DHS vs Greensboro Basketball (gallery)

Sweet Water tops Demopolis in regular season finale

One bad inning sent Demopolis (14-12) to a 6-4 loss to Sweet Water (15-13) in the regular season finale for both teams Wednesday afternoon.

The Tigers scored two runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to carry a 4-0 lead into the top of the sixth when a series of bloopers found their way into space and enable the Bulldogs to hang six runs on the board.

Tate Gibbs opened the frame with a bunt single before a Tanner Luker single ad Will Huckabee walk loaded the bases. Paul Weatherly got Sweet Water on the board with a RBI sacrifice fly to plate Gibbs. Hunter Mendenhall then dropped a Texas Leaguer into right-center to score Luker and Huckabee and cut the Demopolis deficit to 4-3. Jonah Smith singled and gave way to pinch runner Kemonie Butler, who scored on a Branson Davis RBI grounder to tie the game. Mendenhall scored the go-ahead run on a Xavier McIntosh RBI single. Davis later crossed home on an error to put Sweet Water up 6-4.

“Not much up to then,” Sweet Water coach Kevin Byrd said of his team’s offensive output prior to the sixth inning. “They filled it up and we weren’t hitting the ball with a lot of authority. Everybody is kind of throwing with playoff games (in mind). We just had a few find the hole. The runs we gave up were kind of the same thing.”

“They got some balls to fall in for them and we got behind and walked a batter that inning,” Demopolis coach James Moody said. “They did what they needed to do offensively to move runners around and put some pressure on us. You give up six in this game in an inning and you’re going to lose most of the time.”

Demopolis got opened the scoring in the fourth when John Anthony Morrison singled and scored on a Wil Stephens RBI single. Stephens then scored on a Stephen Stewart RBI sac fly.

The Tigers upped the lead to 4-0 in the fifth as Ryan Schroeder opened the frame with an infield single and scored on a Michael Brooker RBI fly out. Morrison reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a Jacob Rodrigues RBI single.

“We didn’t swing like we did this weekend,” Moody said, referencing a three-game weekend stretch in which Demopolis scored a total of 39 runs. “I thought we swung at some bad pitches. There again, we’re still building. We’re still working. We’ve got some kids struggling right now. We’ve got a day to work with them like we have been and just try to get them to understand, each at-bat is huge now.”

Huckabee (1-0) got the win for Sweet Water, going one inning and allowing two earned runs on two hits. Wynn Thompson (1) got the save in the seventh, giving up one hit and striking out one.

“Anytime you win a game, it helps. With as young as we are and our psyche with guys still learning positions, it helps us. It helps our confidence,” Byrd said of what the win does for his team as it readies for the playoffs.

The Bulldogs move on to face Leroy in the first round of the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs this weekend.

The Tigers are readying to host Benjamin Russell in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

“They’re a well-coached baseball team, fundamentally sound, pretty mentally tough kids. We’re just going to continue to do what we do,” Moody said. “Those things happen like happened today. If they do, you usually don’t survive it. If we have many innings get us like that, we’ll be in trouble. They’re a good baseball team. I’m not going to get too high or too low about today. It is what it is and we’re going to move on.”

Hale County shuts out Demopolis baseball

MOUNDVILLE — Offensive woes plagued Demopolis Wednesday as it fell 3-0 to Hale County in a contest that saw the Tigers tally only four hits.

Tripp Perry took the loss in the game, allowing three earned runs over four innings while striking out three, giving up two hits and walking three. Matt Eicher finished the contest, striking out two in two scoreless innings of work.

Hale County scored a run in each of the first, second and fifth innings in the game. The HCHS offensive output included a solo homer by Grayson Stegall. Deacon Medders and Blake Williams each scored a run for Hale as Tyler Brown and Jeffrey Cameron notched RBIs.

Cameron put together a 90-pitch complete game shutout, fanning eight Demopolis batters and walking none in the contest.

For Demopolis, Seth Aiken singled, Wil Stephens doubled and Tyler Oates finished with a two-hit game that included a single and a double.

Sweet Water falls to 3A power T.R. Miller, 27-6

Jakoby Aldridge fights for hard yardage against T.R. Miller Friday.

Jakoby Aldridge fights for hard yardage against T.R. Miller Friday.

SWEET WATER – One week after clinching the Class 2A, Region 1 title, Sweet Water High School fell victim to 3A powerhouse T.R. Miller 27-6  at Nolan Atkins Field Friday night.

Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker, while tipping his hat to what he called an “excellent” T.R. Miller squad, quickly turned his thoughts to next week and the first round of the state playoffs.

“We’re going to keep getting better,” Luker said. “The playoffs are here and we’ve got to raise the level of play. We’re hosting the first round and we’re in a good bracket. This is where you want to be in November. It’s a great time of the year.”

Sweet Water will host Goshen next Friday in the opening round of the 2A playoffs.

Against T.R. Miller, which finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 mark, Sweet Water fell victim to uncharacteristic mental mistakes, including costly turnovers and numerous false start penalties. “You can’t get penalties like that,” Luker said. “We’ve got to keep working and eliminate those kind of mistakes.”

T.R. Miller’s Tigers wasted little time showing its offensive prowess, marching 76 yards on its first possession and taking an 6-0 lead on Dominique Jackson’s five-yard run.

Sweet Water’s Daniel Sewell gave the Bulldog faithful reason to cheer on the ensuing kickoff – taking it 46 yards to the Tiger 35; however, Sweet Water was forced to punt after being pushed back. After T.R. Miller likewise punted on its next possession, SWHS advanced the ball deep into Tiger territory, but the threat ended when Sewell was stopped short of a first down at the 11.

T.R. Miller then put together an 89-yard drive, capped by an 11-yard Kieon Smith to Jackson screen pass on fourth-and-six with 5:18 left before the half. Chardian Johnson kicked the extra point.

In the third period, Miller stretched the margin to 20-0 when a host of Tiger defenders pounced on a Sweet Water fumble in the end zone, followed by Johnson’s PAT.

The Bulldogs finally broke through on the first play of the fourth quarter when quarterback Branson Davis hit Paul Weatherly in stride at the goal line for a 28-yard TD strike. The kick was no good, and T.R. Miller responded on the next drive with a 28-yard quick hitter up the middle by Kameron Coleman to complete the night’s scoring.

On the evening, Jakoby Aldridge led Sweet Water with 65 hard-earned yards on 23 carries. Damarcus Gamble added 63 yards on nine attempts, while Sewell added seven rushes for 44 yards.

Davis was 1-for-3 through the air. The lone completion was Davis’ 28-yard TD pass to Weatherly.

Sweet Water finishes the regular season at 7-3, which includes an unblemished mark in Region play.

Marengo’s Horn named ESPN 104.9 Player of the Week

ESPN 104.9 Coaches Show host Rob Pearson presents a commemorative T-shirt to Marengo High senior running back and linebacker Jatevin Horn at Batter Up Sports Grill in Demopolis Tuesday night. Horn was the show's Player of the Week.

ESPN 104.9 Coaches Show host Rob Pearson presents a commemorative T-shirt to Marengo High senior running back and linebacker Jatevin Horn at Batter Up Sports Grill in Demopolis Tuesday night. Horn was the show’s Player of the Week.

Marengo High School’s Jatevin Horn got five minutes on the radio Tuesday night as part of the ESPN 104.9 Coaches Show. The show’s crew selected Horn as its Player of the Week after he helped his Panthers to a 50-20 win over Fruitdale.

Horn carried the ball 11 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the victory while also recording 18 total tackles from his linebacker spot.

Horn celebrated the honor at Batter Up Sports Grill in Demopolis where he also received a commemorative T-shirt for his distinction.

The Fruitdale totals bring his rushing numbers to 495 yards and seven touchdowns on 36 carries through the season’s first four games.

Defensively, Horn has been credited for 61 tackles, 11 sacks and two interceptions from his linebacker position.

Marengo is set to challenge Akron High this week.