E.A. Sports Today


Ervin’s only basket of the game caps furious rally that gives Cleburne County’s girls an important area win over Lincoln

Cleburne County coaches Todd Gable (front) and Ron Ervin celebrate after Tatiana Ervin’s layup in the final seconds lifted the Lady Tigers to a 37-35 victory over Lincoln. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN – Tatiana Ervin scored only one basket all day, but it was the biggest one of the game.

Ervin’s layup in the lane with 2.7 seconds capped a furious last-minute rally that lifted Cleburne County’s girls to a 37-35 win over Lincoln that kept alive their chances of earning a 2 or 3 seed in the upcoming area tournament.

The win moved them a tie with the Lady Bears in the win column in Class 5A Area 10. Lincoln still has two area games remaining, including a date with first-place Talladega, while Cleburne County has only last-place Clay Central remaining on its area schedule.

They likely will play Lincoln in the opening round of their area tournament, but by staying in the middle of the standings they having to meet Talladega in the first round.

“We were just trying not to get the 4 seed,” Ervin said.

Her basket capped a 7-0 run after Carlee Mullinax’ third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter gave Lincoln a 35-30 lead with about two minutes to play. She opened the fourth quarter back-to-back treys.

Lauren Brown matched Mullinax’ 3 to get the Lady Tigers closer. Erykah Ware got the tying basket with 23.7 seconds to play. The game-winner passed through a lot of Heflin hands, but it started and ended with Ervin.

She knocked a lob pass away from Lincoln’s Amaz Carmichael. Shawntavia Boyd saved it along the sideline to Kiara Akles, who pitched it to Ware, who got it to Boyd, who eventually passed it to Ervin.

“Just the way we drew it up,” Lady Tigers coach Todd Gable said.

When the final horn sound, the students who packed the lower bleachers for the in-school game rushed the floor.

“I’ve made baskets against other teams, but that was the biggest one I ever made,” Ervin said. “I didn’t even hear the buzzer.”

Ervin finished with three points; she had a free throw in the final minute of the third quarter that gave her team an 18-17 lead. Ware and Brown led the Lady Tigers with 10 each. Mullinax led all scorers with 13.

“When (Mullinax) hit that last 3 I was worried,” Gable said. “We were focusing our attention on 4 (Carmichael) and when we did, it hurt us closing out on Mullinax. I hated giving up those 3s, but I was still feeling we had a good shot as long as we could, didn’t have any dead sets on our end. If (the margin) got to seven I was going to get worried, but in that five range, I thought we’d be OK.”

Cleburne County 37, Lincoln 35
Carlee Mullinax 5 0-0 13, Taylor Lett 0 0-0 0, Amaz Carmichael 3 5-7 11, Halimah Binyamin 2 0-0 4, Jayla Brown 0 0-0 0, Jayla Morris 1 0-0 2, Hanna Carmichael 2 1-2 5, Taylor Conway 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 6-9 35.

CLEBURNE COUNTY – Shawntavia Boyd 3 2-2 9, Erykah Ware 4 2-4 10, Lauren Brown 3 3-6 10, Kiara Akles 1 1-2 3, Alex Casey 1 0-0 2, Tatiana Ervin 1 1-2 3. Totals 13 9-16 37.

Lincoln 5 2 12 16 — 35
Cleburne County 8 3 9 17 — 37

3-point goals: Lincoln 3 (Mullinax 3); Cleburne County 2 (Boyd, Brown). Total fouls: Lincoln 16, Cleburne County 13. Officials: Ortiz, Winn, Batey.

Carlee Mullinax’ third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter gave Lincoln a five-point less with less than two minutes to play. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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