E.A. Sports Today

Tigers trap sluggish Wildcats

White Plains ‘lethargic’ after area win the night before, Talladega takes advantage of it

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Four minutes, that’s about all it took to discern White Plains was in trouble in its TV24 Holiday Showcase game with Talladega Saturday night.

The Wildcats were coming off an emotional area victory over Jacksonville the night before, but history has shown it not to be a good thing if this event is next on the schedule.

For the second year in a row, the Wildcats followed a quality win with a less-than-stellar outing in this event. Last year, they were fortunate to have an off game and beat Fyffe. They didn’t have that luxury this time.

The Tigers jumped on them early, kept them down, and won 70-53.

“You cannot come out as lethargic as we came out,” Wildcats coach Chris Randall said. “We’re supposed to pride ourselves on defense and we make four straight defensive mistakes. They get their first eight points, they knock down shots, we don’t do what we’re coached to do, that’s my fault.

“You think we’d be better defensively and we were lethargic. There was no passion. There was no intensity. There was no pride. It was not pretty. We got what we deserved.”

It wasn’t just their defensive end that hurt the Wildcats (7-2). They only hit four field goals in the first quarter – three of them were 3s – and had seven turnovers. They had 17 turnovers in the game, many in live-ball situations — the Tigers had 12 steals — and shot just 19 of 50 from the field, which Randall called “horrendous.”

Talladega wiped out an early 9-6 deficit with a 16-4 run to the end of the first quarter and never trailed again. The Tigers led by 13 at halftime, scoring 11 points off White Plains turnovers and 14 second-chance points.

While White Plains lamented its guard play, the Tigers finally saw some success from their sophomore-rich backcourt that had been playing more experienced opponents all year.

“We start two sophomore guards,” Talladega coach Chuck Miller said. “We play such tough competition they’re going to take their lumps at times, but they’re getting better.

“When you hit some shots and hit some free throws you loosen up. We’ve played great defense all year but we weren’t scoring a little bit and it puts so much pressure on your defense. You can just tell once we executed and hit a couple shots how much more relaxed we eere tonight than a week ago at Anniston.”

Ashton Duncan led three Talladega scorers in double figures with 16; he was 9-for-9 from the foul line. Jay Smoot and Waderrius Tuck each scored 14 points and combined for 17 rebounds.

Michael McGuirk was the only White Plains scorer in double figures. He had 11.

Talladega 70, White Plains 53

WHITE PLAINS (7-2) – Jerod Guthrie 3-14 0-0 9, Kevin Carr 1-2 3, Eli Hightower 3-8 0-0 8, Michael McGuirk 4-13 2-2 11, Jackson Guthrie 2-2 2-4 7, Quez Wyatt 0-0 0-0 0, Lawrence Jackson 2-4 0-2 5, Macy Carr 3-3 0-0 6, Murphy Doss 1-3 2-2 4. Total 19-50 7-12 53.

TALLADEGA – Tyrese Scales 1-2 0-0 2, Fred Dickerson 4-7 0-0 8, Jay Smoot 5-11 2-2 14, Jarvis McKenzie 1-4 0-0 3, Ashton Duncan 3-6 9-9 16, Jamont Twymon 2-4 0-3 4, Damarco Truss 0-2 0-0 0, Waderrius Tuck 6-7 2-5 14, Robert Houston 3-6 0-0 6, Jaelyn Russ 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 26-51 14-21 70.

White Plains 13 10 15 15 — 53
Talladega 22 14 16 18 — 70

3-point goals: White Plains 8-30 (Je. Guthrie 3-11, K. Carr 0-2, Hightower 2-7, McGuirk 1-6, Ja. Guthrie 1-1, Jackson 1-2, Doss 0-1); Talladega 4-11 (Scales 0-1, Smoot 2-5, McKenzie 1-3, Duncan 1-2). Rebounds: White Plains 26 (Jackson 5), Talladega 42 (Tuck 9, Smoot 8). Fouled out: Jackson. Total fouls: White Plains 15, Talladega 18.

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