Tigers look to limit turnovers after defeat

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2016

By Austin Franklin | Special to the Advertiser

In a duel of press defenses, the Chilton County High School boys basketball team was outlasted 82-72 on the road by Calera High School Jan. 15.

The tone of the game was set early on by Calera, as it opened and maintained a full-court press throughout the first quarter against CCHS.

Chilton County responded as it matched Calera’s press with its own, resulting in a game with a litany of turnovers and quick whistles.

Both teams finished the first quarter with 10 team fouls and lived on the free throw line throughout the early going, as Calera led 26-19 at the end of one.

Calera managed to generate offensive looks before the half by exploiting Chilton County’s press, as Eagles players consistently managed to slip free down the court for a fast-break look.

With Calera’s lead extended, CCHS began forcing passes and continued to turn the ball over.

The Eagles were committed to forcing the Tigers out of the paint. The Eagles double-teamed any Tiger in the paint and dared the Tigers to live on the three-ball.

On the other end of the court, Calera was led by Yatil Gant, who took advantage of Chilton County’s press and finished with a team high 16 points.

Gant utilized the paint, and O.J. “Juice” Williams made the most of his touches, as the Eagles took a 46-30 lead into the half.

In the second half, the Tigers finally had some success from outside the arc, as Cade Hatch contributed five second half three-pointers. Hatch led all scoring with 24 points.

With every shot that fell for the Tigers, the Eagles always had an answer as C.J. Smith came on in the second half and added 12 points of his own.

While the offense of Chilton County began to click in the second half, the defense was unable to force enough stops to allow the Tigers back into the game.

“We had a lack of focus,” CCHS head coach Deon Timmons said. “We might be a little fatigued at this point. We just couldn’t find a way to hang onto the ball tonight. Turnovers killed us.”

Chilton County will look for some much needed rest and prepare for its next game Wednesday at Billingsley High School.