Tyrek Turner works against a stingy Sipsey Valley defense
Tigers streak, season end in sub-regional
By Graham Dunn
Tallassee basketball was looking for its first-ever trip to the AHSAA Regional Tournament.
The Tigers will have to wait at least one more year.
Visiting Sipsey Valley – also looking for its first trip to a regional - jumped out to an early lead, taking advantage of poor shooting by Tallassee on the way to a 59-51 victory in Class 4A Central Sub-Region action at Stumberg Gym on Tuesday. The game put a wrap on the Tigers' season and halted their nine-game win streak.
Despite a losing record, the Bears advance to play next Tuesday at the Alabama State Acadome against Greensboro while Tallassee ends its season at 15-12.
“The team we played is a special team,” stated first-year Tallassee coach Keiven Mixson. “They shot lights out tonight. They have a lot of quickness. They made it tough on our guards.”
Sipsey Valley (13-14) jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the opening minutes, thanks in part to a 2-of-12 shooting by the Tigers.
The Bears extended the lead to as many as 13 before Tallasse began a mini run of its own, cutting the lead to six points before Sipsey Valley pushed it back to 10 and settled into an eight-point lead at the half.
“I was pleased with our start and I thought it was important that we get out early,” stated Sipsey Valley coach Adrian Scott. “I think we handled the start pretty well and got into a good rhythm with our shots.”
Tallassee would not go away in the second half, pulling within four with 5:30 left in the third quarter on Sandarius Hughley’s jumper.
But the Bears got the lead back to 10 at the three-minute mark and held a 41-33 lead at the end of the period.
“Our guys battled and I can’t ask for much more than that,” stated Tallassee first-year coach Kevin Mixson. “I told our guys that one of the keys was attacking. I knew they were a good offensive team. We settled for too many outside shots. We usually like to penetrate and dish.”
In the fourth quarter, Tallassee cut the lead to two on a couple of 3-pointers by Sandarius Hughley. It would be as close as it would get with the Bears converting 12-of-14 free throws in the final two minutes of the game.
“We’ve been a good free throw shooting team most of the year but those were as big as any we’ve had,” Scott said. “They made a nice run in the second half but our guys kept their cool and made shots.”
Tyrin Lanier’s 16 points led Sipsey Valley. DaKari Smith added 15 points while Drew Long had 13 points.
Tallassee was led by Hughley’s 19 points and Skipper’s 16 points.
Despite the loss, Mixson was excited about the future of his program, considering it had not won an area championship in nearly 20 years.
“I’ve got a special group of guys,” he said. “We have some young players who will continue to get better.
“This was a special season. To do what they did – having three seniors - I’m happy for them. I came in and was a little rough on them but they can be proud of the this season.”