Late Greene surge defeats Demopolis Times

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

With less than five minutes to play and the game between Demopolis’s and Greene County’s boys tied at 37, Greene’s biggest player came up big.

Curtis Nickson, the Tigers’ 6-9 All-State center, threw down a monster dunk with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter, breaking the tie and sparking an 11-2 run that sealed a 49-42 home win for Greene County Friday night. With the win, Greene maintains a perfect 4-0 area record and is now a game ahead of 3-1 Demopolis in the race for the area championship.

“That was so big,” Greene coach Rodney Wesley said of Nickson’s slam. “It got our crowd back into the game and really picked us up. We got some defensive pressure after that and were able to win the game.”

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The slam gave the UAB commitment two of his 16 points, one shy of teammate Howard Crawford’s game-high 17. Demopolis was led by Dontrell Miller’s 13.

“We had some opportunities, but you can’t make mistakes at crucial times” said Demopolis head coach Jesse Bell of the Tigers’ defensive lapse and subsequent failed possessions as Greene County took hold of the game down the stretch.

“We’re a young team. We’re still learning to do things like block out, not turn the ball over, and hit our free throws. Once we do those things, we’ll be a good basketball team,” Bell added.

To reach the 37-37 tie, Demopolis had to rally from a 10-point second-quarter deficit. A Robert Jones basket with 1:52 remaining in the first half capped a 12-2 Greene County run that turned a 13-13 tie into a 25-15 lead. But Demopolis scored eight of the half’s last 10 points, the final three coming on a Miller shot at the buzzer that sent the visitors in at the break down only 27-23.

Back-to-back baskets by MacArthur Johnson and Miller to close the third quarter brought Demopolis within one, 36-35, at the end of three. After Nickson had added a free throw, a Casey Cantey basket with 5:09 to play gave Demopolis their first tie in more than 15 minutes. But Nickson responded, first with the momentum-changing dunk and then with a second basket to push the lead to four.

Dwiuan White scored to pull the lead back to two with 1:35 to play, but that was as close as Demopolis would get. Jones hit the first of two free throws and Crawford scored off the follow-up miss, putting the Tigers up 44-39. After back-to-back missed three-pointers by Miller and Patrick Robertson on the other end, Nickson hit two more free throws to seal the victory.

Helping Crawford and Nickson’s efforts for Greene County were Jones with 9 points, Michael Powell with 5, and Charlie Hutton with 1.

Miller was followed by Willie Blount’s 11 points, White’s 7, Cantey’s 4, Johnson’s 4, and Robertson’s 3. The four points represented Cantey’s lowest output of the season.

“We’re happy with the win,” said Wesley. “It was just defense. We gave them a chance to take the lead and grab the momentum, but we stress defense and they came up big.”

Greene County plays at Akron Monday night and hosts area foe Thomasville Tuesday. Demopolis will look to rebound in area play Tuesday at home against Choctaw County.

Demopolis girls 56, Greene County 35

Demopolis bounced back from their two-point loss to Greensboro by handling the Greene County Lady Tigers on the road.

Shawnese Armstead and Katerria Johnson each scored 15 points to share game-high honors for Demopolis. They were followed by Jasmine Simmons with 8, Alicia Arnold, Kelli Johnson, and Krystal Walker with 4, and Loreal Moore, Kierra Plaskett, and Shay Smith with 2.

Greene County was led by Shaniece Cockrell, who scored 10.Cassandra Ross added 8, Kendra Smith 7, Ashley Bolden 5, Shynessia Nickson 3, and Ashton Bolden 2.