Demopolis teams split vs. Choctaw

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Demopolis boys and Demopolis girls are headed in different directions as the all-important 4A Area 5 tournament approaches.

The Tiger boys suffered their third consecutive area defeat Friday, falling 37-34 to Choctaw County on the road in Butler. After starting the season 11-4 overall and 4-1 in area play, Demopolis is now 12-7 and 4-4. The Tigers had defeated Choctaw by a whopping 42 points in the teams’ first meeting, an 86-44 decision Jan. 17, but scored 52 fewer points in the rematch.

“Our effort on defense wasn’t bad,” said Demopolis head coach Jesse Bell. “But that was our worst offensive night since the first game of the season (a 45-35 loss to Francis Marion). We’re not attacking the basket. We’ve got to get into a flow on offense … It comes back to patience. We’re rushing everything and not getting into a flow.”

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Bell said the Tigers’ failure to attack the Choctaw basket was evident in the number of three-point attempts the team took. Demopolis connected on only 2 of 26 three-pointers for a meager 7.6 shooting percentage from downtown.

As a result, the Tigers finished with a second straight sub-40-point effort and did not have a double-digit scorer. Leading scorers Casey Cantey and Dontrell Miller combined for 12 points, with Cantey going scoreless in the second half after hitting for 6 in the first two quarters.

Demopolis trailed virtually the entire game, falling behind 12-8 after the first quarter, 17-12 at halftime, and 25-20 at the end of three. The Tigers had their best offensive quarter in the final eight minutes, with Willie Blount scoring 6 of Demopolis’s 14 points in the period. But it wasn’t enough.

“They thought since they’d beaten them already, they’d just roll over and die,” said Bell, who now has road games this week against Bibb County and Greensboro to get his team prepared for the do-or-die game Area 5 tournament game Feb. 10 against second-seeded Livingston. Win, and the Tigers advance to at least the sub-regionals. Lose, and their season is over.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for it,” says Bell.

Things look much brighter for the Demopolis girls team. The Lady Tigers defeated Choctaw handily to finish their area slate with a 7-1 record, taking the area’s regular season title and with it the right to host the area tourney. Demopolis will face the winner of the play-in game between fourth- and fifth-seeded Livingston and Choctaw at home Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.

The Lady Tigers are now 13-4 overall.