Speights spoils Choctaw party

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

MOBILE — First year Choctaw County head coach Clinton Thomas must not have known that Livingston High senior guard Cory Speights doesn’t allow any dancing in his house.

Thomas, who has quickly become known for his in-your-face sideline moves, didn’t have much to dance about Saturday in the Southwest Regional semi-final match-up with the defending 4A state champion Livingston High Cougars. Speights spoiled Thomas’ party by racking up 33 points, eight rebounds and four steals to lead his Cougars to Birmingham with a 73-52 win over the Tigers of Choctaw County.

The Demopolis High Tigers must have just caught the Choctaw County Tigers on a very good day, for they were 19 of 51 from the field and a shocking 2 of 17 from behind the arch against the Cougars.

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“No it wasn’t a bad night, it was a terrible night for us as far as our three-point shooting,” Thomas said. “We depend highly upon our three-point shooting and tonight it just wasn’t there.”

If drawing the foul were an art form, Speights would be its master. Against the Choctaw Tigers, Speights was sent to the line eight times, where he hit 9-of-12 on the night. But that’s to be expected from a team that knows that winning at this level is determined at the free throw line.

“We work on it every day for long periods of time,” Speights said. “Coach Threadgill wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The hard work has paid off for the Cougars as they hit 22-of-30 (73 percent) from the line as a team in their 21 point win over Choctaw County.

The Cougars return to Birmingham for the second consecutive year in hopes to defend their state title on Saturday. But first the Cougars must get past Jacksonville on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Civic Center.