Championship match-ups set in county basketball tournamentBy Stephen Dawkins Published 9:18am Saturday, January 11, 2014
By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser
Had there been an excitement meter inside of Alton Cobb Gymnsasium on Friday night during the semifinals of the Chilton County Basketball Tournament, it would have been maxed out all night.
Hard-fought games, a vast supply of three-pointers, last-minute comebacks and great displays of athleticism gave the capacity crowd a great show.
Trailing late in the fourth quarter and with his team down by double digits, Christian Fortner drained four straight three-pointers to draw second-seeded Thorsby to within six points of third-seeded Chilton County High School, but it wouldn’t be enough as Chilton County held on for a 32-22 victory in junior varsity action.
The intensity would only increase as the varsity girls took the floor with No. 2 seed Thorsby taking on No. 3 seed Isabella.
A back-and-forth battle wasn’t decided until the final period, with the Rebels holding on for a 37-29 win to advance to Saturday evening’s championship round.
With the Mustangs only hitting on one-of-nine field goals in the first period, Sabrina Ellison’s five first-period points gave the Rebels a 13-3 lead at the end of the quarter.
Free-throw shooting was the difference in the second period as the Mustangs scored 11 points from the charity stripe, outscoring the Rebels 17-10 in the period. Isabella still trailed, 23-20, at halftime.
Both teams ramped up the defensive pressure in the second half, as most of the points for both teams was scored at the free throw line.
At the end of the third, the Rebels held onto a 31-22 lead.
Despite a mighty effort by the Mustangs in the fourth period, they couldnt quite muster the offense to claw their way back in.
Lillyanna Barnett led the Rebels with 16 points (including seven-of-11 from the free throw line), seven rebounds and a steal. Ellison added 11 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and four blocks for Thorsby.
Savannah Higgins led the way for Isabella with 11 points, eight rebounds, a steal and a block.
The late game between the No. 2 seed Chilton County Tigers and the No. 3 seed Thorsby Rebels turned into the Darius Davis show.
Davis, who accounted for more than half of the Rebels’ 69 total points, put up a tournament-high 36 points by hitting shot after shot from all over the court.
Despite Davis’ effort, the Rebels couldn’t hold off a late Tigers run and utlimately came up short, 71-69.
Davis got the action started with an early two-pointer and went on to add four more, along with two three-pointers, en route to a 16-point first period performance leading Thorsby to a 24-19 first-period lead.
Davis’ hot hand seemed contagious in the second period as Cameron Castleberry pitched in five points, while Brock Higgins added eight to go along with Davis’s seven to give Thorsby a 46-38 halftime lead.
Davre Williams found a little fire of his own in the third period, accounting for six of the Tigers’ 13 third-period points, but heading to the final period, the Tigers still trailed the Rebels, 56-51.
Facing a four-point lead with 3:36 to play, a Braylen Parker basket cut the Rebel lead to two, and 47 seconds later, Jamarcus Williams tied the game at 63-all.
With 2:00 to play, Williams gave the Tigers their first lead of the game–a lead that they would not relinquish in the closing seconds.
In addition to his 36 points, Davis had nine rebounds, five steals and a block.
Williams led Chilton County with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.
The tournament will reach its final stage tonight with Chilton County taking on Jemison in the JV championship game at 3 p.m., to be followed by Chilton County taking on Thorsby in the girls championship game at 4:30 p.m., and Chilton County against Jemison in the varsity boys championship game at 6 p.m.