Chilton girls come up short to Pelham in Sweet 16

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The Chilton County High School varsity girl’s basketball team’s historic season ended on Feb. 15 at Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham in the Sweet 16. The Tigers fell 41-35 to Pelham High School in the program’s first AHSAA Class 6A Sweet 16 appearance.

The first quarter started off slow with Pelham holding a 6-2 lead after the first quarter, but the scoring picked up in the second frame. Pelham built a lead that bloomed to as many as eight points, but the Tigers fought back. Iasia Anderson hit a layup just before halftime to cut the deficit to four points at the break.

CCHS hit only three field goals in the first half, but knocked down six of 10 free throws to keep it close — three by Anderson and three by Tyeshia Williams.

“I think the girls stuck to our game plan, and we came out a little bit nervous with our first time being here, but they calmed down and started playing good basketball,” CCHS head coach Rickey Pulliam said. “I think the girls played great, they competed, played hard and we had an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter, but we just made a few mistakes to allow them to pull ahead.”

Ishunti Brown hit a floater to open the second half scoring for the Tigers, and an Anderson layup midway through the quarter cut the deficit to one point at 22-21. Pelham earned a little more breathing room, but Brown cut it to one point again before the end of the third quarter to make it 28-27 with one frame to play. Brown had seven points and seven rebounds in the Sweet 16 game.

Tania Wyatt hit a 3-pointer on the Tigers’ first possession of the fourth quarter to give them their first lead of the game at 30-28. They regained it again later with an Anderson floater, but the game stood gridlocked at 32 with six minutes left.

From there, Pelham outscored CCHS 9-3 in the final six minutes to advance.

Anderson led CCHS in scoring with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, and added five assists and five rebounds. Williams was close behind with 10 points, six coming via the free throw line, and she grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

“(Tyeshia) came back for her senior season, and she told us ‘I want to go to the Sweet 16,’” Pulliam said. “To see how much the girls improved over the summer, and we worked hard to just get here. It is a great accomplishment for them because of all the hard work they put in this season to get here. It is a blessing, we hope we get back here again next year, and I think we can do it. I appreciate all of the fans coming out and supporting us.”

Chilton County ends its season with a 21-11 overall record, and have won 44 games over its last two seasons.