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Jhala Anderson
Photos courtesy of Tiger Nation

Fans told to exit before OT finish

By Michael Butler

It was a wild Monday night of basketball at Tallassee's recently spruced-up Stumberg Gymnasium. A trio of games vs. Lafayette took more than five hours to complete.

It began with the junior varsity boys game won by the visiting Bulldogs 42-37. The second game with the varsity girls teams was won by Tallassee 48-26. When the varsity boys teams took the floor, things got interesting.

The THS boys ended up losing the nightcap in overtime 49-45. As intriguing as the game was, the fact that few were able to see it in person, was more of an oddity.

In the final minute of regulation, fans were told to leave the arena. That left just players, coaches, officials and select others inside the gym for the finish.

"I've seen a little bit of everything in 30 years," said THS head coach Keiven Mixson. "I've been a part of a lot of weird stuff. It was just an unusual night."

There was about a 10-minute stoppage by officials when Lafayette signaled for a timeout in the game's final seconds.

"The issue was whether they had a timeout," Mixson explained.

After the lengthy discussion, it was ruled that the Bulldogs were out of timeouts, giving Tallassee two free throws for a technical foul violation.

"Rowen (Thornton) made the free throws,' Mixson added. "Then we threw the ball away."

After Thornton's shots from the line, the Tigers led by a point, but a foul on the other end of the floor and a free throw sent the game to overtime.

Thornton led Tallassee with 19 points. Ja'marrion McCoy had 10 points.


"As far as the crowd, it was just quiet," said Mixson. "It should have been easier to win the game. We just blew it. I just wanted to play basketball. We had all this riff raff going on. Fans from both sides went overboard. Their people started coming down the bleachers. People from our side were coming over. They were yelling. It was just chaos."

The choice to make people depart from the gym was a safety measure. In addition, earlier in the game, a water cooler overturned onto the playing floor causing another 15-minute disruption in the action.

"The biggest takeaway is you've got to execute," said Mixson. "In overtime, we were two of five from the free throw line. They were four of six. We've got to make our free throws and take care of the ball. We're missing layups. We missed 15 layups.

"We've got a decent, competitive team. We've got some size deficiencies. We're getting outrebounded. There's not going to be many teams that have better guard play."

The varsity boys fell to 2-2 on the season.

In the varsity girls win, Jhakhia Anderson had a season-high 12 points to lead Tallassee scorers.

"We're very proud of what our team was able to do versus a very physical and well-coached team," Alfonzo Johnson said of the THS girls squad which improved to 5-1. "(I) saw a lot of improvement when it comes to fouling and offensive ball movement. (We) still have a long way to go in terms of our free throws, but I think we'll get that fixed with time. We've had five different players lead us in scoring in six games which our staff is very proud of."