Linden teams advance to South Regional finals

Linden 65, J.F. Shields 57 (girls)

Linden is back in the finals of the South Regional in Dothan for the third consecutive season following 65-57 victory over J.F. Shields Friday. The Patriots led for virtually the entirety of the contest against the team that bounced them from bracket a year ago.

Linden rushed out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter of play and rode that advantage through the next 24 minutes of tightly-contested action. The game played out as a contrast of styles with Linden attacking the basket to a clip of 54.6 percent shooting from the floor. Shields countered with a less-than-stellar 43.6 percent from the field but kept itself alive by shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, accounting for 21 of its 57 points.

The difference in the game came at the charity stripe where Linden hit 15 of 28 free throw attempts. Shields did itself few favors with minimal opportunities, shooting only 2 of 11 from the line.

Amber Richardson again paced the Patriots with a 27-point, 11-rebound performance. Tyroneisha Charleston finished with 15 points while Dajia Miller had 11.

Mar’quaja Brown hit six threes as part of a 22-point performance that anchored Shields. Ti’Ajah McCreary scored 12 points while Shamya Johnson had 11.

Linden (18-3) advances to face Pleasant Home in the South Regional final Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Linden 42, J.F. Shields 34 (boys)

Less than two hours after their female schoolmates punched a ticket to Tuesday’s South Regional final, the Linden Patriots upended J.F. Shields 42-34 to advance themselves to Class 1A’s final eight teams.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well with offense coming at a premium during the game’s first half. The score sat knotted at 15 apiece as the teams headed to the locker room.

With 7:38 remaining in the third quarter, Kevin Green hit the back end of a two-shot trip to the free throw line to put Linden up 16-15. The Patriots then cultivated that lead to the tune of a 13-6 period and led 28-21 headed to the fourth. Linden’s lead grew to as high as 12 points in the fourth quarter before Shields cut the deficit to 37-34 with 41 seconds remaining.  Green then hit the tail end of a double bonus before Graderius Brown scored four points in the final 17 seconds to put the game on ice.

Green finished with 19 points and nine rebounds to lead both categories. Isaiah Scott added 13 points and five rebounds. Tyrik Nettles had 14 for Shields while Jadereyan Stallworth scored 11.

Linden (11-10) will face Georgiana Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in the South Regional final.

Linden holds off Brantley comeback bid to move to South Regional

LINDEN – Basketball is a game of runs, a fact that has never been more evident than it was Tuesday night as Linden downed Brantley 62-52 in Class 1A South sub-regional action.

The Patriots pressed Brantley to the brink of collapse Tuesday night, holding the Bulldogs to just four field goals in the first half while carrying a 27-14 lead to the locker room. As the third quarter opened, Linden rode the hot shooting of junior Graderius Brown to a 17-2 run. Midway through the third quarter, Brantley trailed 44-16. Then things go really interesting.

“We stopped doing what we were doing the first half. We stopped doing what we were taught to do and just got erratic,” Linden coach Woodie Jackson said. “We got complacent. We weren’t making the fundamental passes that we did the first half and just started playing sloppy.”

Brantley began chipping away at Linden, ending the third quarter on a 13-1 run to narrow the gap to 45-29. Brantley showed no letup in the final quarter.

With 1:45 to play, Parker Driggers hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 53-50. Brantley could get no closer.

Brown put his stamp on the victory early and often Tuesday. Isaiah Scott stole the ball with 1:11 to play in the first quarter and kicked it to Brown, who drained a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 18-8 and force a Brantley timeout.

Brown then got really hot. He knocked down triples off the catch and off the bounce, including a well-guarded isolation step-back three that left the Bulldog bench bewildered.

“He is like me. He can shoot the W off a whistle, a good little player. Pound for pound, a great athlete,” Jackson said of Brown.

All told, Brown ripped the twine with eight threes on the night, finishing with 30 points to lead all scorers. Scott added 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Kevin Green had eight points. Malik Collins and Roderick Dansby notched 10 rebounds apiece.

D’Andre Sinclair had 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead Brantley. Adrian Person Jr. finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Driggers had 13 points and six rebounds.

Linden (10-10) advances to the South Regional Friday when it will play J.F. Shields.

“We’re going to play hard to win. We’ve made it that far, there ain’t no sense in losing,” Jackson, who has six state championship rings on his resume, said.

Marengo girls upend Brantley to move to South Regional

Marengo High’s Lady Panthers are headed to the South Regional in Dothan after hitting the road to topple Brantley 66-62 Monday night.

The Bulldogs entered the game at 21-5 and appeared poised for 10th consecutive win and a South Regional semifinal date with Pleasant Home. Marengo met the challenge by putting four scorers in double figures and using its trademark frenetic pacing to overcome Brantley.

Angela Bouler was the leading scorer for Marengo, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. J’Mya Hall added 12 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Iesha Bouler scored 10 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Taylor Moore notched 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks.

Gabrial Perkins paced Brantley with 19 points while Emory Bush scored 15.

Marengo (10-8) faces Pleasant Home in the South Regional Friday.

Linden girls roll past Georgiana for sub-regional win

LINDEN – The Lady Patriots are headed back to the Class 1A South Regional in Dothan following Monday’s 53-35 victory over Georgiana. The sub-regional round opened with a series of missed layups and jumpers from Linden, but the Patriots settled in midway through the first quarter.

“Going back to defense. Defense is bringing the offense. Eventually those layups are going to fall. I have no idea why we missed so many layups there in the beginning,” Linden coach Teressa Bolden said. “We missed a lot of open shots right there.”

Linden, which never trailed in the game, tallied 24 steals in the contest to fuel its fast break offense. The Lady Pats were up 16-8 after one quarter of play and then 34-12 by halftime. Linden held an advantage in virtually every major category, outrebounding Georgiana 42-31 and shooting nine more free throws.

Amber Richardson set the pace for Linden with 18 points and 17 rebounds to go along with four steals and three blocked shots. Dajia Miller added 16 points highlighted by a 7 of 8 performance at the free throw line. Miller also had six steals and five assists on the night. Tyroneisha Charleston finished with 11 points and seven steals.

“They’re really big, especially when one is not having a good night,” Bolden said of her team’s top three scorers. “We’re always going to have to depend on somebody else to step up and fill in.”

Michaiah Austin and Aaliyah Rich each had seven points to lead Georgiana.

Linden (17-3) will face 2017 state runner-up J.F. Shields in the first round of the South Regional Friday in Dothan.

“Going back to what we know, defense. We’re going to focus on our defense and then we’ll worry about offense,” Bolden said. “Offense is going to come. We’ve got to be able to stop them and play solid defense.”

Linden varsity squads top Marengo to host sub-regionals

Linden will host a pair of sub-regional games next week after its varsity squads swept Marengo Friday in the finals of the Class 1A, Area 4 tournaments.

The Linden girls opened the night with a 57-35 victory. Amber Richardson scored 31 points to lead the Lady Patriots while Tyroneisha Charleston led 11. Scotiana Harris finished the night with 11 points and 12 rebounds to lead Marengo.

Linden will host Georgiana Monday at 6 p.m. in the sub-regional round. Marengo will travel to Brantley.

The Linden boys followed with a 52-37 victory over Marengo. Graderius brown had 13 points to pace Linden. Isaiah Scott, Zackree Bishop and Kevin Greene scored 10 points apiece for the Patriots. Roosevelt Thompson headed Marengo with 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists and five steals. Linden hosts Brantley Tuesday at 6 p.m. for sub-regional action while Marengo travels to Georgiana.

Demopolis stumbles in final quarter of Area 7 final

TUSCALOOSA – For the third time this season, Demopolis found itself trading buckets with Central-Tuscaloosa only to watch its hopes dissipate in the game’s final quarter. Thursday night’s Class 5A, Area 7 championship game featured three quarters filled with lead changes and shot-for-shot action as Central pulled away late for a 62-52 victory.

Demopolis controlled the game for much of the second and third quarters, wresting away all of the momentum as it ballooned its lead to as much as seven. Leading by four with approximately two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Demopolis shifted from the high-paced offense that put the Falcons on their heels. The Tigers spaced the floor into a four corners set, looking to drain the clock. As the fourth quarter opened with a 45-41 Demopolis lead, the Tigers flashed the four corners look again.

The change in aggressiveness by the Tigers proved to be all the Falcons needed. Central embarked upon a 21-7 run to end the game as Demopolis sputtered down the stretch.

Demopolis held a statistical advantage in most major categories. The Tigers outrebounded Central 36-27. Demopolis was 14 of 24 from the free throw line while Central was 7 of 9. The Falcons kept themselves in the game with high volume shooting from deep. The Falcons connected on 12 three-pointers in the contest. Demopolis countered with four triples.

Deshiah Pruitt led all scorers with 18 points to go along with nine assists for Central. Lecedric Taylor had 13 points while Vincent Reeves scored 12 for the Falcons. Jason Robinson had 11 points.

Melvin Childers paced the Tigers with 15 points and seven rebounds. Shakari Williams scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Nelson Haskin had 11 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks. Bubba Spencer had nine points and six rebounds.

Demopolis will travel to Class 5A, Area 8 winner Sylacauga Tuesday as elimination play begins in the sub-regional round.

Marengo varsity squads move to Area 4 finals

Marengo High’s varsity basketball teams are each in the Class 1A, Area 4 championship games as well as the AHSAA sub-regional round by virtue of tournament wins over A.L. Johnson.

The Marengo High girls knocked off ALJ 61-37 in the first round of the Area 4 tournament Monday night. Iesha Bouler paced Marengo with 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight steals on the night. J’Mya Hall added 20 points and eight rebounds in the effort.

Chelsea Etheridge and Drieene Cox had 10 points apiece for ALJ. The victory moved the Marengo girls to 9-7 on the season.

The Panther boys (6-10) followed suit Tuesday night with a 65-57 win over A.L. Johnson. Roosevelt Thompson headed the effort with 22 points and six rebounds. Keshawn Fountain had 16 points and nine rebounds while Dominique Harris added 14 points and seven rebounds.

Johnny Robertson scored 22 points for ALJ while Edmund Hall had 20 points for the Eagles.

Marengo

Both Marengo teams will take to the court again Friday night at Linden for the finals of the boys and girls Area 4 tournament.

 

Sumter Central forfeits wins, must sit out postseason

Sumter Central High School has been fined and placed on probation for one year for the boys’ basketball exceeding the maximum number of contests allowed in the regular season. The school self-reported the violation.

Furthermore, all contests the boys’ basketball team played and won after exceeding the maximum number allowed must be forfeited. Accordingly, the AHSAA Restitution rule requires the boys’ basketball team to sit out the same number of contests in which they played ineligibly.

Due to the restitution, Sumter Central will not participate in the Class 5A, Area 7 tournament and their season has ended. The probationary period is a warning that other violations of this nature could bring further sanctions against the school.

As a result of the sanctions incurred by Sumter, the Class 5A, Area 7 tournament will now solely consist of a championship contest between Central-Tuscaloosa and Demopolis, Both teams are already qualified for sub-regional action by virtue of having reached the game.

Early deficits plague Tigers in Sumter trip

YORK, Ala. – Demopolis saw both its varsity squads fall into insurmountable deficits during a pair of dreadful second quarters at Class 5A, Area 7 foe Sumter Central Friday night.

Sumter Central 44, Demopolis 34 (girls)

The Demopolis Lady Tigers held a 9-6 after a largely disciplined first quarter of play and appeared poised to build on the momentum it carried from the end of the teams’ previous meeting. The success proved short lived as Sumter opened the second quarter on a 17-0 run and compiled a lead it would never lose.

The Lady Jaguars ballooned the advantage all the way to 20 before Demopolis began to fight back into the contest. A fourth quarter that featured more poise from Demopolis and saw a spark in the form of an increasingly active Abreuna Jones allowed the Lady Tigers to cut the deficit to six before Sumter ultimately put the game away.

Jones found herself heavily involved in the Demopolis comeback attempt with a second half that saw her score seven points, grab seven rebounds and record two steals. She proved the missing complement to the Demopolis backcourt, which had accounted for all of the Lady Tigers points well into the third quarter of play.

The Lady Tigers also found assistance in their efforts to get off the deck from Sumter’s uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting. The Lady Jaguars made only six of their 16 attempts on the night and left an opening for Demopolis.

Still, the Lady Jaguar defense proved a daunting foe as Sumter tallied 15 team steals to simultaneously stifle Demopolis and fuel its own offensive output.

Chardai Watkins led the way for Sumter with 15 points and six steals. Jada Watkins added 10 points and five rebounds. Amber Fitch had seven points while Kia and Mia Dent each had six. The former Dent sister had five steals in the game.

Shakesaney Bell sparked Demopolis with 12 points, four rebound and four steals. Aniya Johnson added eight points and four rebounds. Shacorie Cockrell had six points and four rebounds.

Sumter moves to 19-5 with the win, Demopolis dips to 4-8 and 0-3 in area play.

Sumter Central 61, Demopolis 48

The Jaguars relied upon their trademark pressure and high octane offensive assault to overwhelm Demopolis in the early moments Friday night. After initially appearing stunned as Sumter raced out to a quick 7-0 lead, Demopolis found its footing and battled the Jaguars to a virtual stalemate over the next 15-plus minutes of game time. The tide turned against the Tiger with 27.1 seconds remaining in the opening half.

Desmond Ward attacked the basket for Sumter and garnered a whistle for his efforts. Ward stepped to the line and drained the first of two free throws as a technical foul was called on the Demopolis bench. Ward proceeded to drain three more free throws to balloon what had been a nine-point lead to 13. He then proceeded to dribble the time off the clock and attack the basket with an up-and-under scoop to stretch the lead to 15 at half.

As the third period wore on, Demopolis saw its body language sink and the Jaguar lead expand. Seconds into the fourth quarter, Demopolis found itself down 20.

That’s when the Tigers began playing their best basketball. Fueled largely by Nelson Haskin’s energy and playmaking, Demopolis clawed its way back into the game, cutting the deficit all the way to seven in the final three minutes of the game.

The Tigers got big shots down the stretch from Haskin, Shakari Williams, Keyjun Gracie and Taylor Herelle as the whittled away at the Sumter lead. The Jaguars then lost post players Calvin Finch and Tyler Presswood to foul-outs during consecutive Demopolis possessions.

With little size remaining on the roster and the game suddenly in doubt, the Jaguars put the ball in the hands of Ward. The senior points guard would help ice the victory with two field goals and a pair of late made free throws for the win.

Ward paced all scorers with 20 points while Jacorie Turnipseed added 15 points. Presswood finished the night with 12 points and nine rebounds. Kedrick Turnipseed had 10 points for the Jaguars.

Herelle had 14 points and five rebounds for the Tigers. Haskin finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and three steals in an all-around effort.

Sumter moves to 25-3 with the win while Demopolis falls to 15-7.

Sumter sweeps Demopolis varsity squads in Area 7 tilts

Sumter 65, Demopolis 38

“All gas, no brake” adorned the front of Sumter-Central’s shooting shirts as they took to the floor for warmups in a highly anticipated Class 5A, Area 7 tilt with Demopolis Friday. When the ball tipped, Sumter lived up to its own frenetic billing en route to a 65-38 shellacking of the Tigers.

Sumter hung 10 points on the board before Demopolis got a three off the hand of Melvin Childers to attempt to stay the Jaguars. Unfazed and unflinching, Sumter continued to pour it on as it inflated the advantage to 17 points by halftime.

Demopolis connected on only five shots from the floor in the first half and shot a paltry 6 of 14 from the free throw line. Despite a strong start to the third quarter, virtually nothing improved for the Tigers in the second half.

Sumter used its pace and space offense to drive the lead into 20s before finally going up by 31 in the fourth quarter and triggering the running clock to mercifully shorten the game. Jacorey Turnipseed scored a game high 19 points to pace Sumter. Three other Jaguars finished in double figures as Desmond Ward had 15, Tyler Presswood finished with 13 and Greg Brunson scored 10.

Shakari Williams led Demopolis with 13 points.

The Tigers fall to 15-5 on the season. Sumter improves to 24-3.

Sumter 41, Demopolis 39

Jada Watkins rebounded a missed put back opportunity, set herself, took one power dribble and put the ball in for the go-ahead layup with 5.7 seconds to play Friday night. The Sumter forward’s calmness in the game’s biggest sequence proved enough to beat Demopolis and prevented a near collapse in the fourth quarter in which the Lady Jaguars blew an eight-point lead.

Demopolis whittled away at the Sumter advantage in the fourth quarter after trailing for the entirety of the contest. Freshman Shug Billingsley entered the game and dropped in a layup off a Shakesaney Bell pass to narrow the deficit to three. After a Sumter bucket, sophomore Dalaysia Benn sunk a pair of free throws to cut it to 39-36 with 41.7 seconds to the play.

Demopolis pulled the game even when Aniya Johnson knocked down a triple off a Bell bounce pass with 21 seconds remaining. Sumter missed a pair of open looks before Watkins seized control of the game.

The Lady Tigers would find one more look at the basket off a timeout with 4.4 seconds to play. The ill-fated shot would come nowhere close to the basket as Demopolis fell to 4-7 overall and 0-1 in Area 7 play. Sumter moves to 18-5 with the win.

Chardai Watkins led Sumter with 16 points and six rebounds. Jada Watkins finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Shacorie Cockrell had 12 points for Demopolis. Johnson finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Bell had 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.