Tigers take county tournament championship

Published 12:48 pm Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Chilton County boys basketball team captured the 2015 Chilton County Basketball Tournament championship on Jan. 10.

The Chilton County boys basketball team captured the 2015 Chilton County Basketball Tournament championship on Jan. 10.

By BRANDON SUMRALL/Special to the Advertiser

For the first time in school history, the Verbena Red Devils started the season with a perfect 12-0 record and came into the Chilton County Basketball Tournament championship game looking for their first county title since 1996.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, the Chilton County Tigers stood in their way of another win and their first county title in 19 years.

Turnovers and missed opportunities at the free throw line by Verbena didn’t help its cause any as the Tigers capitalized on those turnovers along with their chances at the charity stripe to pick up a 70-63 win and a county championship.

Juwan Tyus started the game by giving the Red Devils an early two-point lead, but the lead swapped hands on consecutive three-pointers by Tolliver Gilliland that made the score 8-4 in favor of the Tigers.

With Chilton County leading 14-9 late in the first period, Jacob Cleckler cut the lead to three points, and two free throws from Hakeem Underwood tied the game at 14-all with 1:20 left in the period.

Another Underwood free throw gave the Red Devils a one point 15-14 lead at the end of the first period.

Jaquaries Martin and Cade Hatch gave the Tigers an 18-17 lead early in the second period, but free throws by Tyus gave Verbena the lead back with 5:04 to play.

Keaton Sullivan gave the Tigers the lead with a free throw, but three consecutive points from Tyus gave the Red Devils a 24-22 lead with 2:26 to play.

With Verbena leading 31-30 with just 6 seconds to play in the first half, a Garrett Strength three-pointer sent the Tigers to the locker room for halftime with the momentum and a 33-31 lead.

The Tigers started the third period with an 8-0 run before Dorrian Parker ended the run with a three-point basket.

Cleckler added another three-point basket that made the score 41-37 in favor of the Tigers with 4:30 to play in the period.

Consecutive baskets from Devin Williams pushed the lead back to eight, and an old-fashioned three-point play from Hatch made it 48-38 with 2:17 left on the clock.

Baskets by Hatch and Keishun White along with a free throw by Gilliland gave the Tigers a 53-41 lead at the end of three periods of play.

Parker and Tyus powered a 5-0 Verbena run to start the fourth period before Sullivan ended the run with a basket for the Tigers.

With the Tigers leading 57-49, back-to-back baskets from Cleckler cut the Tigers’ lead to four with 4:05 to play.

A basket by Williams pushed the Tigers’ lead back to six, and with 2:46 to play Gilliland knocked down a three to make the Tigers’ lead nine with 2:46 left to play.

With Verbena going 1-for-7 from the field and the Tigers knocking down 7-of-10 from the free throw line, Chilton County went on to pick up the win and the county championship.

Williams led the Tigers with 19 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Tyus led the Red Devils with 26 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and a block.