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Demopolis boys sweep Raiders

With the Demopolis frontcourt in need of a boost, head coach Jesse Bell decided to call up sophomore Shantrell Braxton from the Tiger “B” team and give him the opportunity to make a difference. Consider the most made of that opportunity.

Braxton led the Tigers with 13 big points as the Demopolis defense led the way as usual to a 47-40 win over Greensboro in Greensboro last Friday. With the win, the Demopolis boys sweep the season series from the Raiders four games to none.

Between his 13 points Friday and the eight he scored in the Tigers’ previous game, a 37-31 win on the road against Bibb County, Braxton’s 21 points is the highest total for a Demopolis player over those two outings.

“He hadn’t played a lot and he’s stepped up for us,” says Bell. “He’s got some self-confidence and we need that.”

In front of a large and vocal Greensboro home crowd, the Raiders got out to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Tiger defense clamped down on the home team in the second quarter and took a slim 19-17 lead into the break.

Both offenses became somewhat sharper in the second half, but behind the interior scoring of Braxton and sophomore Casey Cantey, who broke out of a recent slump with 12 points, Demopolis was able to extend their lead to 32-29 at the end of three quarters. The Tiger D held the Raiders to 12 points in the final period and hit 4-of-7 free throws–a respectable number given the team’s sub-50 percent average–to pull away and secure the seven-point win.

Dangerous junior forward Ivory White led Greensboro with 12 points, but no other Raider was able to finish in double figures. Bell was particularly happy with Cantey and Braxton’s defensive work against Greensboro’s powerful junior center Adrian Williams, who finished with 7 points.

“I think we did a great job against the kind of athletes Greensboro has,” Bell said. “We picked it up in the second half offensively and I was proud of our defensive effort. I’m pleased with the way we played.”

Following Braxton and Cantey’s efforts for Demopolis were Brian Taylor with 8 points, Patrick Robertson with 7, Dontrell Miller with 4, and Brad Braxton with 3.

White’s 12 for Greensboro was followed by Rashad Hobson’s 8, Williams’s 7, Demarquelle Tabb’s 4, Lloyd Hambright’s 4, David Tubbs’s 1, Mike Wiggins’ 1, and Kendrick Tabb’s 1.

Greensboro plays Francis Marion at home Tuesday as one last tune-up before hosting the 4A Area 6 tournament. The top-seeded Raiders play Jemison Friday, whom they swept comfortably in two regular season meetings.

For Demopolis, the win concludes the regular season. The Tigers head into the 4A Area 5 tourney with a 14-7 overall record and a modest two-game winning streak. Bell hopes the win inspires some confidence in his third-seeded team as they prepare to take on second-seeded Livingston in Eutaw in an all-important game Friday. For the loser, the 2006 season is over.

“It should give us confidence,” Bell says. “This was a great win on the road. We just have to believe in ourselves.”