Tigers hoops tamed by AuburnPublished 6:44pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Despite coming back from being down double-digits, the Dadeville Tigers were unable to finish the comeback, as they lost to Auburn 67-59 in overtime. The loss drops Dadeville to 4-2 (2-0 in area) on the season.
Auburn held an 11-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but Dadeville was able to roar back to claim a four-point lead late in the game.
“We made a great run there to get back in it, and we eventually got up 54-51,” said Dadeville boys basketball coach Rodney Taylor. “But basically, we missed the front ends of two one-and-one free throws.”
The second miss ended up being the costliest, as Auburn’s Tez Brooks knocked down a three-ball to tie the game with four seconds left. In the extra session, Auburn out-scored Dadeville 13-5.
“We should’ve won the game,” Taylor said. “I thought we played well against a team that was bigger than us, and actually, they were taller than I thought they would be. But if we hit our free throws and make our layups, we’re 5-2 instead of 4-1. This was a game that we kind of let off the hook. But given how we played in the Pepsi Classic finals (versus Benjamin Russell), I liked how the kids responded against Auburn. I was impressed with it.”
C.J. Tolbert led Dadeville with 16 points. Anfernee Jennings added 15 points, finding a lot of success in the paint.
“He gives us that physical presence on the inside, and he makes plays around the basket,” Taylor said of Jennings. “When he had the issues with his back and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, I knew it would be a problem. But he’s going to be a kid that helps us down the stretch.”
Despite the loss, Taylor said there is no sense of panic amongst the team, knowing that a couple plays here or there could have been the difference between 6-0 and 4-2.
“We’re fine,” Taylor said. “We’re going to keep working on making our free throws and layups, and we’ll be OK. Our kids competed and battled, and we made some plays offensively and defensively.”
Next for Dadeville is a rematch with undefeated Benjamin Russell, which blew out Dadeville in the finals of the Pepsi Classic. Taylor said he expects a different story in the rematch, provided the team can maintain its focus on the court.
“We didn’t play well against them the other night,” Taylor said. “Some of that has to be credited toward Benjamin Russell, but I think we got caught up in the verbal battles and the atmosphere of the game. They fed off of it , and we went the other way. It kind of got away from us. We’re a better team than that, and we didn’t fully show it in that game.”
With the Wildcats coming to town, Dadeville is expecting a lot of BRHS’ pressure defense that has led the Wildcats to an 8-0 start on the year.
“We know that’s what they want to do,” Taylor said. “When you play a team that presses that much, turnovers and tough shots are going to happen. But we have to play better and finish around the basket. We have to focus on playing basketball. We’re going to go out there and compete, and that’s the main thing. From there, whoever makes the most plays will win the ball game.”
DHS and BRHS tip-off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.