CCHS boys secure title spot with big fourth quarter

Published 3:30 pm Friday, January 5, 2018

Chilton County High School won 60-49 in back-and-forth game against the Thorsby Rebels and punched its ticket to the county championship game on Jan. 6.

The Tigers were clinging to a 43-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the final eight minutes belonged to CCHS, as it outscored Thorsby 17-9 during that stretch.

Keyuntay Kine scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter for the Tigers, as they slowly wore down the Rebels with their depth.

“I was on fire, so I just kept shooting,” Kine said. “If I see my teammates producing, I know I’ve got to produce myself.”

Kine put the game away for good in the final minute with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer from the left corner.

“He’s one of our young guys that we’re expecting a lot of down the stretch,” CCHS head coach Deon Timmons said.

Mondez Jones of CCHS hangs in the air as he drives to the basket against Thorsby’s Cain Niece during the semifinals of the county tournament on Jan. 4. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

Joey Cleckler also began to get more involved late in the game as a scorer, as CCHS grew its lead to double digits with just over three minutes to play.

Thorsby remained within shouting distance of the lead throughout the game, trailing by one at the end of the first quarter and by four at halftime.

Cain Niece of Thorsby finished with 11 points on the night, none bigger than buzzer-beating three-pointers at both the end of the second and third quarters, which brought the crowd to its feet on both occasions.

The go-to players on offense for Thorsby were Niece and Christian Fortner, who turned in a memorable performance with a game-high 30 points and 13 rebounds.

It was an off night for CCHS’s Mondez Jones who finished below his season average with eight points, all coming during a stretch in the third quarter.

“Thorsby did a good job of defending him [Mondez Jones],” Timmons said. “They’ve been playing against each other since AAU and they knew what style of ball he plays.”

Chilton County’s Joey Cleckler attempts a shot against the defense of Thorsby’s Sawyer Sellers (No. 14) and Christian Fortner (No. 25). (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

There was a stretch in third quarter when Fortner and Jones, two of the county’s elite scorers, traded baskets on multiple possessions.

The Tigers had three players finish in double figures scoring, including Shi Keem Laister with 13 points and Patrick Rogers with 10.

The CCHS defense did a nice job disrupting Thorsby passing lanes and created its share of turnovers and transition points as a result.

“We try to preach to the guys to have active hands,” Timmons said.

With the win, Chilton County has secured a spot in the championship game on Jan. 6. Its opponent will be the winner of the semifinal matchup between Verbena and Maplesville.

“The county tournament is a big show,” Kine said. “It’s a different energy than just your regular game.”