Tigers, Dawgs advance to tourney finalsPublished 9:30pm Monday, December 27, 2010
Terry Toler and Zeke Heard combined for 31 points to lead the Dadeville Tigers to a 50-48 win over Loachapoka in the first round of the DHS Christmas Tournament Monday.
Toler scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and Dadeville held the Indians to just two field goals over the final eight minutes to improve to 6-3 overall.
Dadeville fell in an early 10-2 hole, but the Tigers cut the deficit to two after one quarter following 3-pointers by Heard and Quin Alvies and a Ladarius Wilkerson bucket.
The Tigers scored the first nine points of the second stanza, but the Indians closed the period on a 10-1 run and led 22-20 at the break after back-to-back lay-ups by Tracy Brooks.
Heard opened the second half with a two-handed slam and a pair of threes to put the Tigers up 29-27 with 3:28 to play in the third. JacQuez Crawford put the Indians ahead with his second triple of the period with 2:42 to go, but Darrion Hutcherson, Wilkerson and Heard all found the net to give Dadeville a 35-34 edge entering the fourth.
Toler then scored seven of his team’s nine straight points to begin the quarter before the Indians got a pair of free throws from Marvin Hunter with 3:09 remaining to break a long scoring drought.
Though Loachapoka didn’t make a shot from the field until Crawford’s bucket with 1:52 left, the Indians went 9 of 10 from the line to stay close.
Crawford trimmed the Tigers’ lead to three with 11 seconds to go, and Loachapoka stole the inbounds pass to have a shot to tie. A 3-point attempt was no good, however, and Toler sealed the game with two free throws with three seconds to go.
Dadeville will meet LaFayette today in the tournament finals after the Bulldogs beat Edward Bell 69-62.
LaFayette’s Emmanuel Higgins nailed seven of his team’s 11 threes in the game and closed with 25 points. He sank five treys in the first half to help the Bulldogs to a 12-point lead midway through the second quarter.
But, the Bears battled back behind D.J. Black’s four first-half threes to stay in striking distance. Quantavis Dinkins, Akeem Holloway, Black and Kiunte Dowdell scored on consecutive possessions to end the half for the Bears, and they trailed by just four at halftime.
“To lose to them by more than 30 the first time, I thought we played pretty well,” said Edward Bell head coach Mitch Joiner, whose team lost 85-53 earlier in the year to LaFayette. “We cut down from 35 to 13 turnovers, but we still made too many mistakes. We’ve got to throw it to the guys with the same color jersey on.”
The third quarter was fairly even until the last two minutes, when the Bulldogs scored eight points in a row to take a 46-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
The lead was still 14 a few minutes into the fourth, but Eddie Webb and company heated up for the Bears. Webb hit three 3-pointers, D.J. Black made two and Chris Black added six points down the stretch, but LaFayette sank 12 free throws to preserve the win.
D.J. Black finished with 21 points, and Webb had 16 for Edward Bell (2-7). Dowdell was also in double figures with 10.
The Bears will play Loachapoka in the third place game before tonight’s title game.
“The guys are dejected with seven losses, but we’ve played some great teams down to the wire,” Joiner said. “We’re in the toughest area in the state. We’ve got some games at home and several in a row against 1A competition coming up. I’m hoping we can turn these close losses into wins and we can get on a roll by February.”