By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Gadsden City High held off a late rally by Midfield to post a 65-62 win in boys basketball on Tuesday (Dec. 13) at GCHS.
Torque Bateman’s put-back with 3:17 left in the fourth quarter gave the Titans a 61-51 lead, but Class 3A No. 1 Patriots went to a full-court press that resulted in several turnovers that fueled a 9-0 run.
Kalon Williams’ basket with just under a minute remaining drew the visitors within one point.
Gadsden City drained the game clock to 17 seconds, at which point Jalen Cole made a lay-up to put the Titans up 63-60.
Following a time-out, the Patriots gain narrowed the gap to one point on a jump shot by Anthony Brown.
Midfield intentionally fouled, sending Cole to the free throw line. With five seconds left, the junior guard sank both shots to extend the GCHS advantage to 63-62.
After a time-out, a last-second three-point attempt by the Patriots fell short.
After trailing by one point at halftime, the Titans used a 14-5 run in the third quarter to build a 57-45 cushion entering the final eight minutes. GCHS head coach Reginald Huff, however, knew that Midfield was far from finished.
“They’re the number one team in 3A,” he said. “Teams that are used to winning don’t go down without a fight. No matter what the deficit is, they believe that they’ve got a chance. Coach (Darrell) Barber does a heck of a job with that program. This was a much-needed win against a very good team.”
Cole and Deonte Jones each finished with 12 points, followed by Dee Pearson with 11 and Darien Hollis with nine.
Jones added eight rebounds and five assists, while Mykel Woods had eight rebounds and four blocks.
Brown paced Midfield with 19 points, while Williams added 11.
In a back and fourth first half, Gadsden City emerged from the first quarter with a 20-16 lead.
Jayln Brewster’s three-point basket with 52 seconds left in the second period made it 38-35 in favor of the hosts, but the Patriots scored the final four points of the half for a 39-38 lead.
“With out halftime adjustments, we talked about covering the high posts and the corners and blocking out and rebounding better,” said Huff. “On the offensive end, we talked about not being in a rush and taking care of the basketball and taking the shots that we wanted to take instead of them dictating our shot selection. They started to press when they got desperate, and they were a couple of times when we could have made an easy lay-up and we didn’t. But our kids got the job done and I’m proud of them.”
Cole was a big part of the Titans’ third-quarter surge. After not scoring in the first half, he netted seven of Gadsden City’s first 11 points of the second half.
“At the start of the second half he told me not to lose faith in him, and I told him to go out there and keep jacking them up,” said Huff. “I’m very proud of him for how he responded, especially with those free throws at the end.”