Titans to championship

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 2, 2007

TOXEY &045; One of the goals of most basketball teams is to peak in its performance at the close of the regular season, as it advances to the playoffs. The West Alabama Preparatory Titans won five of its last seven regular season games. They lost the last two games of the season, including a lost to South Choctaw Academy. The Titans opened its playoff run with an impressive, 63-60 win over the South Choctaw Rebels in the semi-finals of the ASIA 1A area tournament.

The game wasn’t over until it was over. With West Alabama on top with a 61-57, SCA drained a three-pointer to get within one with 17 seconds left to play in the game. On its ensuing possession, Terrance Irby was fouled, and calmly knocked down two free throws with 16 seconds showing on the ticker.

The Rebels, who had hit eight three-pointers in the game, missed on its opportunity with the clock running down. WAP, however, gave then another opportunity by turning the ball over with three seconds left, but the SCA final shot fell short.

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The Rebels beat WAP in both regular season games, but when the playoffs begin you can throw the books away, because it’s a new season.

The Titans played like it was a new season. Junior Steven Cocreham played big in the first half of the game by carrying the offense. He netted 16 points in the first two quarters of play. Irby scored 10 points in the second half for the Titans.

The WAP defense and speed kept them a step ahead of the Rebels in the first quarter. The Titans set the pace of the game and SCA found them selves forced to play an up-tempo game. WAP led 19-10 after the first quarter.

The Rebels dropped in four straight three-pointers in the second quarter to cut its deficit to one with four minutes until the half. The Titans found some breathing room the last three minutes of the quarter to go up by six with the help of a Cocreham triple and led 34-28 at the half.

South Choctaw came out of half time and went on a 16-5 run to tie and take the lead at the 3:05 mark of the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter the Rebels held a 51-47 advantage.

The Titans held SCA two just two field goals the first three minutes of the fourth, while coming back to tie the game at 55 on an Irby runner. The Titans would score the next two baskets, including a Kris Kimbrough hit a jumper from in the lane.

WAP held on to a 61-57 with 1:31 to play before the SCA triple and Irby’s free throws.

The Titans advance to the area championship and will play Sumter Academy tonight. A win will not only give them the area championship but it will also send them to the AISA regional playoffs.