BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Aggies continue to tear through the basketball playoffs. On Wednesday night in the BJCC’s Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Sylacauga took down Talladega 59-55 in the Class 5A Semifinals and will advance to the state title game on Saturday morning.
Coming in to Wednesday night’s match-up between the two arch-rivals, Sylacauga was 0-3 against the Talladega Tigers on the season. That record gave Sylacauga ammunition for this game according to senior forward Malik Crawford who starred for the Aggies scoring 27 points and recording seven rebounds. “All week during practice our coaches preached to us that Talladega beat us three times, but we knew we were going to beat them this time because our coaches put us in position to win,” Crawford said emphatically in a post-game press conference.
The final three quarters were part of nail-biting thriller as the game was tied or saw a lead change nine different times, but the Aggies hung their hat on a dominant first quarter from Crawford and senior guard Darian Garret, outscoring the Tigers 21-13. After the first quarter, the Aggies cooled down, but the still took a 32-25 lead into halftime. 26 of those 32 points came from Crawford and Garrett.
Talladega came out of the locker room on fire in the third quarter outscoring Sylacauga 20-13 to head into the fourth quarter with a tie game (45-45) and a championship appearance on the line. The Aggies simply out shot the Tigers in the final quarter where Talladega shot 4-19 (21.1%) from the field. Overall Chuckie Miller’s Tigers shot a poor 33.3% from the field compared to Sylacauga’s 44.2%. Sylacauga’s three star seniors, Crawford, Garrett, and Erron Bryant, all received priase from head coach William Copeland following the game. “I am very proud to have them. I would not be here at this podium without them,” Copeland said. Garrett finished the contest with 11 total points, going scoreless in the second half. Bryant finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Kobe Simmons led all scorers for Talaldega with 16 points. Three other Tigers finished with eight points including star guards Fred Dickerson and Chaztin Tanner.
Sylacauga will advance to play Eufaula in the Class 5A Finals on Saturday morning at 10:45 in Birmingham.