Photo: Gadsden City’s Trey Woods (left) moves against Fyffe’s Parker Godwin during the Titans’ 85-72 loss at the MLK Classic Showcase last Monday (Jan. 20) in Rainbow City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Gadsden City High boys basketball coach Reginald Huff did not hesitate to identity the main reason for his team’s sixth straight loss last Monday (Jan. 20) in Rainbow City.
“We shot something like 40 percent (actually 43 percent on 10-for-23 shooting) at the free throw line, and that killed us. If we made all our free throws, we probably would have had a 17-point lead. We were able to drive to the basket and drew fouls, but we just didn’t make enough of them. I though we shot well from the perimeter (the Titans made eight three-point basket) but we missed way too many foul shots to have a chance to win at the end.”
By contrast, the Class 2A No. 4 Red Devils (22-2) shot 81 percent (26-for-32) from the charity stripe, including 14-for-19 over the final six minutes when GCHS remained within striking distance, on the way to a 85-72 victory in the first of three games at the MLK Showcase at Westbrook Christian.
The Titans (13-12) trailed only by two points at halftime but failed to take the lead during the third quarter. Gabe Gardner scored 12 points and Brody Dalton added eight as Fyffe maintained at least a five-point advantage. Gardner’s buzzer-beating jump shot put GCHS in a 66-57 hole entering the fourth period.
“Fyffe is a very good team that shoots the ball well,” said Huff. “We also missed some defensive assignments that hurt us.”
Three consecutive three-point baskets by Cam Williams helped cut the deficit to 77-71 with just under a minute left, but at that point the Red Devils were in the double bonus free throw situation, and Gardner, Dalton, Parker Godwin and Micah Johnson combined to go 8-for-8 at the foul line over the last 1:12 to put the game away.
Gardner finished with a game-high 25 points, followed by Godwin with 20, Dalton with 18 points and Johnson with 17.
Gadsden City’s last lead of the game came two minutes in to the first quarter on a pair of free throws from Demarcus Macon that made it 7-6. Fyffe answered with an 18-6 run to go up by double digits. Shamar Huff’s three-pointer in the closing seconds pulled the Titans within 31-21.
After falling behind by 12 points early in the second period, GCHS slowly chipped away at the Fyffe lead. A foul shot by Maleek Kidd tied the score at 39-39 before a layup by Dalton provided the Red Devils with a 41-39 lead at intermission.
Rod Orr and Trey Woods paced the Titans with 14 points each, while Williams, Phillip Hunter and Jay Lawson each scored eight.
“We’re sliding down a slippery slope right now,” said Huff. “When you’re in a funk, you need something good to happen, and we were hoping that today would have been it. But we’re going to keep fighting until we dig ourselves out of this ditch.”