Gadsden City back in regional finals

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By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

The divorce proceedings are officially over between Reginald Huff and the Northeast Regional Tournament fnals.

“It’s been about three years since we’ve been here,” the Gadsden City High boys basketball coach said after a 71-53 semifinal win over Vestavia Hills on Thursday (Feb. 12) at Jacksonville State. “I thought we were getting a divorce. [It] turns out it was only a separation.”

Now Huff gets another date Tuesday at 11 a.m., with a chance to make a trip to Birmingham on the line. Mountain Brook is the opponent. The Spartans defeated Huntsville, 61-42, in the other Class 7A semifinal.

There was never really any doubt in Thursday’s game, but the third quarter really made the difference. The Titans (24-5) took a 28-21 halftime lead and expanded it to 52-34 by the time the fourth quarter commenced.

“We have a hard workout regimen, and the longer a game goes, the stronger we get,” Huff said. “We put our heart and soul into our workouts. Maybe we got into their bench a little more than they planned on.”

Vestavia Hills never led, and after tying it at 2-2, never caught up again. Gadsden City’s Kalin Johnson broke that tie with a 3-pointer at the 5:45 mark of the quarter. The Titans got the lead up to 9-2 before the Rebels’ Spencer Haynes connected on 1-of-2 free throws at the 5:08 point.

Vestavia got as close as 9-6 before Gadsden City scored again, on a Johnson jumper. The quarter ended with the Titans leading 15-10.

Gadsden City scored the first six points of the second quarter, but again allowed the Rebels to hang around. At halftime, the score was 28-21.

Starting the second half, it appeared that Vestavia Hills might catch up, as it scored the first four points. But a Josh Juddine 3-point basket got the Titan offense going again. From that point on, it was all Gadsden City.

Chris Dudley led the Titans with 22 points, hitting 9-of-12 free throws. As a team, the Titans sank 22-of-28 from the charity stripe.

Johnson netted 16 points and Shon Kidd-McKinney scored 12. Gadsden City had 17 steals and forced 27 turnovers.

The Rebels were led by the 19 points of William Macoy. Anthony Evans netted 11 and Eric McCrory tallied 10.

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