Tigers lose despite early lead

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2007

THOMASTON &8212; The Demopolis High School varsity basketball team has struggled of late to finish in the win column.

Not that there hasn&8217;t been adversity to overcome.

The group started well enough, with two wins. But a loss at Sunshine High School sent the group into a tailspin, later fueled by injuries, which it has yet to pull out of. The team&8217;s latest loss came Wednesday night at A.L. Johnson&8217;s Christmas Tournament at the hands of Keith High School, 55-41.

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The 14-point loss could have been worse. It also looked improbable to the packed house that watched Demopolis dominate the first quarter, and control the first half. Tiger head coach Jesse Bell points to a gamut of reasons why his team self-destructed in the second half.

For Bell, defense has been a hot topic issue so far this season &8212; it&8217;s something he has continually pointed to as a weakness and something he has drilled into the team during practice. But defense, like the teamwork issue, has been affected by injuries of two key players, which have forced younger guys to contribute on the court.

Bell said a part of his younger players having to step up, is getting the group to understand how to take contact for the benefit of the team. He said he saw several instances late against Keith where the group could have picked up fouls &8212; both resulting in a trip to the free-throw line and putting some Keith players in foul trouble late.

Demopolis&8217; leading scorers in the loss were Casey Cantey with 13 and Anthony Hardy with 10. A. Collins led the Bears with 20, followed D. James with 13.