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Ryne Gallacher / For The Outlook The Dadeville boys basketball team poses for a photo after winning the area title Thursday night.

The Dadeville boys basketball team had its hands full for the first half of play against Randolph County but came out in the second half ready to win as they secured the Class 3A Area 7 championship title Thursday night. 

Tied up at 26 at the half, the Tigers were trying to find their footing early in the game but that all changed in the third quarter. Dadeville came out of the half pressing hard on defense, forcing turnovers and rushed shots, which led to a dominant quarter on the boards for the Tigers. It was a true team effort and looked to be one of the most complete team games Dadeville has played all season. 

“I’m very proud of this group,” Dadeville coach Jesse Foster said. “Their effort and coachablity, I just love working with these kids.”

Jamauri Chislom and Tripp McKinley’s efforts on the defensive end and rebounding helped the Tigers put on a clinic in the third quarter, allowing only seven points after giving up 18 in the previous quarter. 

While McKinley and Chislom held up their end, PJ Eason, Jay Patrick and tournament MVP Jamarion Wilkerson led the offense. Wilkerson was in control of the offense all night and it was his two dunks in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal in favor of the Tigers.

Although many Tigers had a good night on the boards, Jay Patrick was the hero throughout the second half, giving Dadeville a 10-point lead in the third quarter and later closing the game out when Randolph County made a late game push in the fourth. 

Foster was surprisingly calm throughout the nip-and-tuck first half and fourth quarter. His demeanor translated to his players who had already beaten Randolph County twice this year by 18 and 24 points. 

“We got complacent already have beaten them twice. I give (Randolph County) credit; they played a heckuva game tonight,” Foster said. 

The start of the game got off to a slow start for both teams. Dadeville put Randolph County in foul trouble early, but the free throws were falling and neither were the open shots both teams were getting. 

“We didn’t have a good game shooting the ball,” Foster said. “Free throws and shots weren’t falling but we stuck together as a team and that’s what we preach to the guys all the time.” 

After feeling each other out, both teams went on a three-point scoring tear, getting three deep shots from freshman guard Daquan Doss. The score at half was a tied at 26 thanks to 18-point quarters from both teams. 

Although they found themselves behind and trying to tie the game in the first half of play, it was the Tigers who pulled away in the second half and secured the victory on their home court. 

Ryne Gallacher is a regular columnist and correspondent for The Outlook.