E.A. Sports Today

Vols deny milestone

Clay Central keeps Talladega at arm’s length to take the upper hand in Class 5A Area 10, Tigers coach Miller on hold at 699

Clay Central coach Joby Burns goes over some strategy with his team during a late timeout Tuesday night. On the cover, Talladega coach Chuck Miller walks down his bench with big man Robert Houston.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

TALLADEGA – Because Chuck Miller knows what’s important he was more upset Tuesday night that an important area game got away from his Talladega basketball team than any personal milestone that might have been linked to it.

Central of Clay County denied Miller his first chance at career victory No. 700 with a 76-69 loss that likely took any chance of the Tigers hosting the Class 5A Area 10 tournament this year.

While the Volunteers (10-4, 2-0) still have to go through the rest of the league, they have swept the season series with their expected closest challenger. Miller is convinced his Tigers (13-6, 3-2) will be heading to county Clay for the area tournament “if they (the Vols) win out.”

“All this was about the area,” Miller said.

The Tigers fought an uphill battle all night. They’d fall behind and fight to catch up only to fall behind again and repeat the process. They led only once, at 39-36 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

The big momentum killer came midway through the third quarter when Talladega’s Jae-lyn Russ picked up a technical foul right after Ashton Duncan had hit the last of three straight 3-pointers — each one deeper than the one before – to give the Tigers that lead. The two technical foul shots made by Vols’ senior Davyn Flenord gave Clay Central a lead it would never relinquish.

“They are a very legitimate team because of their size,” Miller said. “Everybody is about 6-2 to 6-4 and they can all play multiple positions, plus they have the superstars in 3 (Flenord) and 30 (Joe Bullock).”

Flenord led all scorers with 29 points. Bullock had 16.

Duncan led the Tigers with 21 points. Fred Dickerson had 15. Russ scored nine before fouling out. With post Robert Houston struggling the score, the Tigers needed to find points elsewhere and were fortunate to get them off the bench from Jamonte Twyman (eight) and Chrishawn Williams (10).

“If we hadn’t had them we’d have gotten beat by 20,” Miller said.

Vols coach Joby Burns, meanwhile, didn’t think his team played its best game but led at the end of all four quarters. “We made plays when we had to,” he said.

They certainly made free throws. The Vols were 13 of 15 from the line in the second half.

Flenord dominated the fourth quarter. He scored 17 in the quarter, including 12 of the Vols’ first 14.

“The first half I played like crap, so I just had to let that behind me,” Flenord said. “I just had to keep my head up and play the game, so in the fourth quarter I just played my regular game. I left all the things behind me and just started playing.”

Burns said he didn’t know Miller was going for a milestone in the game, but now that he’s aware, he hopes the veteran coach of 37 seasons gets it his next time out.

Miller’s next chance to claim No. 700 will be Wednesday in a 1 p.m. matinee against Coosa Central. He is now 699-318; 409 wins have come at Talladega. His father, Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Miller Sr., for whom the Tigers’ home court is named and in attendance Tuesday night, retired with 704 career victories.

Clay Central 76, Talladega 69
Davyn Flenord 7 13-15 19, Cole Burns 0 0-0 0, Ben Street 0 1-2 1, Jamal Williamson 2 0-0 4, Camerun Peoples 3 6-10 12, Shamari Simmons 0 1-2 1, Quan McKinney 5 3-4 13, Joe Bullock 7 0-0 16. Totals 24 24-33 76.

TALLADEGA (13-6) – Fred Dickerson 5 5-8 15, Chaztin Tanner 0 0-0 0, Tyrese Scales 0 0-0 0, Jarvius McKenzie 1 0-0 3, Ashton Duncan 6 6-7 21, Chrishawn Williams 4 0-0 10, TaShaundez Bolden 0 0-1 0, Robert Houston 1 1-2 3, Jamonte Twyman 3 0-0 8, Jae-lyn Russ 4 1-1 9. Totals 24 13-19 69.

Clay Central 16 16 14 30 — 76
Talladega 13 17 14 25 — 69

3-point goals: Clay Central 4 (Flenord 2, Bullock 2); Talladega 8 (McKenzie, Duncan 3, Williams 2, Twyman 2). Technical fouls: Tanner, Russ. Fouled out: Street, Russ. Total fouls: Clay Central 22, Talladega 21. Officials: Stringer, Walker, Wood.

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