A series of first-half miscues, miscommunications and missed opportunities will cause the Dadeville to miss the basketball regionals following a 58-50 loss to the upstart Pike Road Patriots on Tuesday night.
Dadeville, which fell behind early, allowed nine first-half turnovers. That, according to Tigers coach Jesse Foster, proved to be a contributing factor to the loss.
“Not a good first half,” Foster said. “I don’t know if we were a little nervous. But they fought back and got back in it. I’m proud of them.”
In its first season as a varsity squad, Pike Road jumped ahead early but quickly fell into a 7-7 stalemate and ended the first period riding the crest of a 12-4 wave.
The 21-13 mark expanded to 27-22 in the second period behind the shooting of Shaun Holmes and Kelby Westry, who had 17 points each.
“We are a first-year program and had maybe two weeks as a team in the summer,” Patriots coach Robb McGaughey said.
Dadeville outscored the visitors 9-4 in a frenetic second period and was led by Jamauri Chislom who scored a handful of baskets by utilizing his size and presence underneath the hoop. Chislom finished with 12 points.
“He’s been a rock, solid for us on the inside,” said Foster.
During the intermission, both coaches gave versions of the same message: “We’ve been here before.”
For the Patriots, that “before” was last week in a loss to Bullock County in the area championship.
“In the area championship game we were up and then kind of folded a little toward the end,” McGaughey said. “Dadeville kept coming back and I told them: ‘Guys, we were just here a couple of days ago.’”
Leading by five to start the third period, the Patriots opened the third period with a 3-pointer to go up 30-22 but Dadeville went to work.
The Chislom-led Tigers scored six unanswered — four from Chislom then Jay Patrick scored after forcing a turnover at halfcourt — to cut the margin to 30-28, forcing Pike Road to call a timeout.
Both teams traded baskets and for the second time, the Tigers outscored their opponents, 10-9, but couldn’t capture the lead.
Patrick scored again to start the fourth period but the Patriots answered with a 3-pointer and then a jumper from Westry. Dadeville scored. Pike Road answered with two scores and that was the theme of the final frame.
In front of the Tigers’ bench, Patrick sank a triple cutting the score to 47-45.
But on successive trips to the free throw line, Pike Road pushed ahead, 49-45.
In the same spot as Patrick, Thomas McKinley knocked the bottom out of a 3-pointer to bring the Dadeville faithful to their feet and move the mark to 49-48.
Pike Road answered and expanded the lead to 53-48.
PJ Eason, who had just nine points on the night, spun off a defender and scored to put Dadeville down, 53-50.
“Honestly, in the past, I think our guys would have gotten a little shaky in some of these situations, but tonight, they did just what I asked them to do,” McGaughey said.
As time ticked down, the Tigers were forced to foul and send Patriot shooters to the line. They took advantage of the opportunities and distanced themselves en route to the 58-50 final.