Archived Story

Tigers take down Cougars

Published 11:12am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At the end of the day, all that matters is whether or not the scoreboard reads in your favor.
Such was the case in Dadeville this past Friday, when the Tigers withstood a late rally from Central High School – Coosa County to come away with a 51-44 victory.
“We didn’t play great at times, and we were sluggish,” DHS boys basketball coach Rodney Taylor said. “Everybody goes through a bit of a funk in the season. It wasn’t the prettiest of games but in the end, we made enough plays to scratch out a win. Basketball is a game of runs. You try to make yours go long and keep the opponent’s short. We did enough of that in this game.”
After heading into the fourth quarter with a 35-31 lead, Dadeville relinquished the advantage to the Cougars when guard Quin Robbins scored five quick points to make it 36-35.
Malik Tolbert gave DHS the lead again, but the Cougars’ David McKinney nailed a three to knot things up at 39 with 3:56 left to play.
Dadeville outscored CHS-CC 11-5 the rest of the way to pull it out. Anfernee Jennings was a force in the final quarter, scoring seven points to help Dadeville’s cause.
A singular player taking over in key spots was the difference for Dadeville, as Malik Tolbert scored seven in the third to add  to Dadeville’s lead.
“That’s the way the offense went,” Taylor said. “We had a play here and a play there. It wasn’t specifically designed that way but if that’s how it rolls, that’s how it rolls.”
The momentum shift came in the second quarter. The Cougars opened on a 6-0 to lead it 12-8, and spent most of the quarter ahead.
However, Jay Foster helped to key a Tigers run in the period. He scored nine of his team-high 18 points as a change in defensive philosophy afforded DHS with easy baskets to claw back into it.
“We spent a lot of time chasing their guys around but when we went to our trap, I think that caught them off guard,” Taylor said. “That was a big spurt for us, because we were down 17-12 at that point. We stretched it out to start the third and I thought we were going to pull away. But they made some shots and we never got comfortable enough to pull away. You have to give them credit for that. Every time we thought we had them dead in the water, they got back in it.”
Robbins, the No. 1 scorer for the Cougars, came to life with seven points in the fourth quarter.
However, it was the lone bright spot in what was otherwise a tough night for the sharpshooter.
“If you’re going to be the No. 1 guy, you have to be ready every time at all times,” said Cougars boys basketball coach Joe Belyeu. “We didn’t execute down the stretch, and that made it hard for us. Our guard play wasn’t there tonight. If we don’t get good guard play, it’s going to be tough.”
The slate doesn’t get easier for DHS, as they have games against Beauregard, Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell left.
“When you get to this point in the season, you have a few things you tweak but in the end it’s about getting better at what we do,” Taylor said. “But we have to play with more energy and excitement. This is the second time I’ve seen us play where I wasn’t sure if we wanted to be here. We’ve got to get that focus back. We finish the season with some very important games and some very tough games. I’d like us to finish strong.”