Tigers earning their stripes: DHS grinds out win, improves to 4-0 in areaPublished 1:33pm Saturday, January 12, 2013
By Ed Bailey
The Tigers of Dadeville High gutted out a 53-48 victory over the Handley High School Tigers Friday night.
With the victory, Dadeville improved to 11-5 on the year and earned their third straight victory while dishing Handley its first area loss.
“We control our own destiny now and if we win out, we host,” Dadeville head boys basketball coach Rodney Taylor said. “This was a huge win for us.”
Jessie Foster paced all Dadeville scorers with 20 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
Foster was nearly unstoppable in the fourth quarter, where he scored eight of his 20 points.
“He’s a shooter, and he always has been but tonight he was finally able to get going,” Taylor said.
Terry Toler and Malik Tolbert each scored 12 points for Dadeville.
The game was a physical, highly defensive affair for much of the night. With both teams evenly matched , both Tigers squads found points hard to come by in the early goings.
“This team (Handley) is as good as we are,” Taylor said. “We’re evenly matched. A lot of our offensive problems was because of having to deal with them. When you’ve got two evenly matched teams, the little things are what make the difference.”
Tomas Foster was a big example of that, Taylor said. The senior provided the team with energy, rebounding and second-chance opportunities.
“I challenged him,” Taylor said of T. Foster. “He did a good job rebounding for us and getting us second chances. Him stepping up as a senior was huge for us.”
Toler was able to penetrate the lane early in the first quarter but outside of two lay-ins and a couple free throws from Tolbert, Dadeville couldn’t get going offensively. That coupled with a 9-0 run by Handley left DHS heading into the second down 14-8.
Taylor said he was proud to see his team handle the physicality of Handley, something that has frustrated his team in games past.
“I knew tonight would be a physical, challenging ballgame against a very well-coached, athletic team,” he said. “Early on, they hit us in the mouth. But we responded well, we got the lead in the second half and even late when they made a run we didn’t wilt.”
Dadeville entered the half deadlocked with Handley at 21. The third quarter saw Dadeville get its offense going by way of the three-ball. J. Foster hit two threes as part of a 8-2 run for DHS. Tolbert knocked down a three to put Dadeville up 35-30 as the third quarter wound down.
The fourth quarter consisted of Handley playing catch-up with Dadeville and while the visiting Tigers were able to cut the lead within two, J. Foster used his inside scoring to dash any hopes of a Handley comeback.
I’m very proud of this team, and that team we just beat is a final four contender,” Taylor said. “We’ve got a good team . We can play with anyone that’s left on our schedule.”