E.A. Sports Today

Tigers clinch Area 9

Talladega trims Anniston to clinch top seed, hosting rights in Class 4A Area 9 tournament, leaves Bulldogs to battle Lincoln for postseason survival
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
ANNISTON – The last thing Chucky Miller wanted was a coin flip to determine his area’s top seed and home court advantage in the upcoming area tournament.
Now, the Talladega coach doesn’t have to worry about it.
Miller’s defending Class 4A state champion Tigers took care of the only thing they had to do Tuesday night and edged Anniston 78-74 to clinch the No. 1 seed and hosting rights in Area 9.
The loss leaves Anniston to play Lincoln in a 2-3 seed area tournament game that will eliminate one quality team from playing in the state tournament.
Had the Bulldogs won it would have created a tie at the top and likely created a coin toss for the top seed.
That’s what happened last year and the toss went Anniston’s way.
“I’m not very good at coin flips,” Miller said.
Anniston (10-6) led by 10 late with three minutes left in the second quarter and held a five-point lead at halftime. But Talladega’s Kobe Simmons set the tone for the second half when he cored the first seven points of the third quarter to bring the Tigers back and give them their first lead of the game.
“We just came out playing aggressive, playing our game,” Simmons said. “We were just trying to play as best we can.”
The game was tied 57-all going into the fourth quarter, but Talladega (12-4) scored the first six points to take charge and never lost the lead.
The Tigers led by six with 4:24 to play, but the Bulldogs got it to a one-possession game for the final 90 seconds.
Mark Toyer’s 3-pointer with 17 seconds left got Anniston to within 76-74, but Simmons converted a crisp pass from D’Corian Wilson with nine seconds left to bring the final margin. Wilson delivered can equally sharp pass on Rontavious Barclay’s layup with 38 seconds left that put the Tigers up 76-71.
“The plays at the end were very big for our team because we needed them in the end,” Wilson said. “This was a big area game and it determined who was hosting the area. It was big for me and my teammates. Me being the point guard, I knew I had to set up my teammates the best I could.”
The Tigers were 18 of 23 on 2-point shots in the second half, 19 for 27 overall, and cleared almost every rebound on the other end. 
Wilson led Talladega with 24 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Simmons had 23 points, 15 in the second half, and eight rebounds. Barclay had 11 points and seven boards.
Anniston’s Antonio Kite led all scorers with 26 points. Milton had 16 points with four 3-pointers (all in key situations), and Harvey had 12, several on spectacular dunks that brought the roaring crowd to its feet.
“That’s what we’ve been working for for four years to have an atmosphere like tonight,” Anniston coach Torry Brown said. “We fed off it at times, but we just didn’t do enough tonight to really finish the game. They made more plays than us. We’ve got to learn to finish games and make the plays. They made the plays and we didn’t.
“We played well in spurts. I thought we should’ve probably been up a lot more the first half than five points and that was because we couldn’t make a foul shot. We turned it over too much and we couldn’t keep them off the glass. When you put all three of those things together that’s not a recipe for success.”

Talladega 78, Anniston 74
TALLADEGA (12-4) –
Nigel Scales 0 0-0 0, Jay Spratling 2 1-2 5, Arron Green 2 2-2 7, Michael McGregor 3 2-2 8, Rontavious Barclay 5 1-3 11, D’Corian Wilson 11 1-2 24, Roderius Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Kobe Simmons 10 3-5 23, Keontae Funderburg 0 0-0 0. Totals 33 10-16 78.
ANNISTON (10-6) – Mark Toyer 4 0-0 9, Antonio Kite 9 4-7 24, Kwame Milton 6 0-0 16, DeMarien Stewart 2 0-0 5, Tahj Jones 1 0-0 2, Malcolm Harvey 6 0-2 12, Daveon Dukes 1 2-5 4, A.J. Brown 1 0-0 2, Troy Hall 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 6-14 74.
Talladega               16  18 23  21  –  78
Anniston                22  17 18  17  –  74
3-point goals: Talladega 2 (Green, Wilson); Anniston 8 (Toyer, Kite 2, Milton 4, Stewart). Technical fouls: Harvey. Total fouls: Talladega 15, Anniston 16. Officials: Walker, Prociuk, Lemon.

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