Tigers finish season as regional runners-up

Published 6:32 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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By Baylen Parker

Special to The Demopolis Times

Demopolis boys’ basketball ended the season with an Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 5A Regional Runners-Up title after a loss to Valley High School, 62-53, on Feb. 21 in the Elite 8 game at Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham.

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The Tigers had their hands full with the second-ranked 5A team. Valley is the defending 5A champs and boasts a record of 56-1 with this year and the previous year combined heading into the Wednesday matchup. 

It was a physical game as both teams got the ball inside the paint early and often. Demopolis had a 4-point lead in the second quarter but the lead was short lived. The Rams got it going late in the second quarter and at the half Valley held the lead 29-23. 

The Rams outscored the Tigers in three out of the four quarters including a third quarter that included 19 points compared to just 12 points for the Tigers. That helped Valley build a double-digit lead. 

Demopolis took control of the fourth quarter, but time was not on their side as Valley responded to prevent any fourth-quarter heroics from spoiling their opportunity at advancing to the Final 4 and a shot of being back-to-back 5A state champions. 

The Tigers had many challenges and factors against them. Multiple players for Demopolis battled foul trouble throughout the game. A lack of rebounds led to less scoring opportunities and allowed Valley to convert on second chance points. Turnovers also became a problem that became too much to overcome and ultimately gave the advantage to Valley as they would get easy baskets and score 10 points off of Tiger turnovers.

The Tigers were led in scoring by senior guard Dalyn Jackson and sophomore guard Zamarion Johnson as they both hit double figures in points. Johnson led the team with 20 points and Jackson had 18 points as scoring was tough to come by for the rest of the Tigers due to a ferocious defense from the Rams. 

Valley was led by senior forward Cam’ron Dooley who finished the game with a double-double featuring 20 points and 12 rebounds.  

This marks the second year in a row that the Tigers have been knocked out of the playoffs by Valley as they lost to the Rams in the Sweet 16 the year prior. It may not be the result the Tigers wanted but the team played with tenacity and resilience throughout the entire postseason and collected three postseason wins. 

Head Coach Tony Pittman and the team have their sights set forward as they continue to make it deeper into the playoffs each year and show growth and improvement.

The Demopolis Tigers boys’ basketball team finished the season as Area 5 champs, with an Elite 8 appearance, and a final overall record of 19-6.