E.A. Sports Today

Faith falls short

Garrett’s 25 points powers TCC’s second-half subregional comeback; Faith’s Stephens goes out with 1,666 career points

TCC's Savona Garrett (5) drives the lane for two of her 25 second-half points in Monday night's Class 1A subregional game at Faith Christian. Below, Faith's Madison Stephens (4) finished her high school career with 1,666 points. On the cover, Emily Sills passes the ball inside. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

TCC’s Savona Garrett (5) drives the lane for two of her 25 second-half points in Monday night’s Class 1A subregional game at Faith Christian. Below, Faith’s Madison Stephens (4) finished her high school career with 1,666 points. On the cover, Emily Sills passes the ball inside. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Garrett Steward
For East Alabama Sports Today

Just three days ago, the Faith Christian girls basketball team was hoisting the area championship trophy for the very first time. Monday night, the Lady Lions’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion.

The Lady Lions were eliminated from the Class 1A tournament in by a 47-41 loss to visiting Talladega County Central, the victim of a second-half TCC comeback.

Faith had high expectations for this game, but came up just short of history. The Lady Lions were playing in only their second sub-regional playoff game in school history and first at home.

“I thought we played well the first half and came out flat in the third quarter,” Faith coach Bradley Dawson said. “They turned up the defense and we weren’t ready to play. It’s my fault; I didn’t have them ready after halftime.

“I told the girls at shoot-around if we lost the rebound battle we would lose and that is what happened. We didn’t box out well in the second half.”

The pressure was on TCC to fight its way back into this game. Down by nine at the half, it would be hard to take over the game at this point. But the Tigers turned to Savona Garrett and she responded by scoring all 25 of her points among TCC’s 36 second-half points. Devona Gover had the other 11.

“Coach told me that I had to step up my intensity and put the weight of the young team we have on my shoulders,” Garrett said. “I had to carry us through.”

Her coach surely was not disappointed. Garrett opened up the half with a 2-pointer and didn’t slow down from there. The Tigers started the third quarter on an 8-0 run to draw within a point of the lead.

“I think she came out with more determination to score and took more shots,” Dawson. “She passed the ball a lot first half. (They) made her a priority the second.”

The pressure TCC put on Madison Stephens continued throughout the second half, where they held the Faith captain to 10 points. Stephens had 22 points in the game to finish her career with 1,666.

TCC gained the lead for the first time with 4:28 left in the third, and they finished the quarter ahead 31-29.

The Lady Lions were looking to bounce back and finish the game strong. After a putback by Garrett, Emily Sills hit a corner 3 to bring the lead within one. Garrett responded with another 3 and the Tigers stretched it. The Lady Lions brought it within 6 points with 48 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough.

Faith began the game fast and hard in the first quarter. Logan Boyd got a quick steal to start them off, which lead to a fast break layup by Stephens. The Tigers coughed up three turnovers in just 2 minutes and it led to a quick 10-0 run by Faith.

The second quarter began with a quick four points by the Tigers, but Faith battled back. Stephens scored on a fast break started by another TCC turnover, and it was immediately followed by a long 2 from Shelley Phillips.

The Tigers started putting some pressure on the Lady Lions, playing some very physical defense. They played especially hard on Stephens. Sills ended the half in exciting fashion, hitting a floater with one second left on the clock, giving Faith a 20-11 halftime lead.

“They came out in the second quarter and face guarded me, and I knew I would have to play twice as hard at that point,” Stephens said. “I had to focus mentally and not think about the pain or the outcome, just focus on giving it my all.”

Stephens went through the second half of the season battling mononucleosis that limited or kept her out of at least nine games. Dawson said the stretch without the player he called Friday night “Faith Christian basketball summed up” was important in the Lady Lions’ growth as a team.

“That is next year’s team, he said. “I think we got a good head start with the younger girls in learning how to take care of the basketball and to trust each other. We knew Madison was going to have to graduate at some point.”

As she finishes a phenomenal career at Faith Christian, Stephens has one particular memory of her time on the court — winning the school’s first area championship. That came last Friday in victory over Ragland.

“Since that has never happened before, it is definitely special to be on the team that accomplished that for the first time,” she said.

Garrett Steward is a junior at Faith Christian School and an aspiring sports writer. This is his first contribution to East Alabama Sports Today.

Talladega County Central 47, Faith Christian 41

TCC – Devona Gover 6 1-4 13, Alisha Morris 0 0-0 0, Tyra Gooden 0 0-2 0, Savona Garrett 11 1-5 25, Nyah Garrett 0 0-0 0, Davionna Stockdale 1 0-4 2, Marlonda Pemberton 1 0-2 2, Janyia Wallace 2 0-0 5. Totals 21 2-17 47.

FAITH CHRISTIAN – Logan Boyd 0 0-0 0, Shelley Phillips 1 0-0 2, Emily Sills 4 0-0 10, Madison Stephens 9 2-7 22, Kristin Covington 1 0-0 2, Sydnee Johnson 2 1-2 5, Regan Crosby 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 3-9 41.

TCC 2 9 20 16 — 47
Faith 10 10 9 12 — 41

3-point goals: TCC 3 (Garrett 2, Wallace); Faith 4 (Sills 2, Stephens 2). Total fouls: TCC 11, Faith 16. Officials: Madson, Lail, Fair.


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