By Matthew Martin /Sports Correspondent
A playoff game is a bad time to have a poor-shooting performance, but that is exactly what happened to the Gadsden City High boys basketball team on Friday (Feb. 14).
The Titans made just 2-of -22 shots from the 3-point-line in a 60-52 loss to Grissom in the sub regional round of the Class 6A state high school playoffs at GCHS.
Eighth-ranked Gadsden City kept the game close throughout, but No. 10 Grissom made its free throws down the stretch to earn the trip to this week’s Northeast Regional Tournament at Jacksonville State.
The Tigers made 9-of-10 free throw in the game’s final minute.
“They weren’t falling for us,” GCHS coach Reginald Huff said. “That’s the game; you’ve got to make shots. We really didn’t attack the basket as much as we would have liked to. We still had a chance to win. The kids continued to fight.”
Gadsden City (20-6) trailed 42-33 heading into the fourth quarter but was able to cut the deficit to two points following Josh Juddine’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the game. Juddine’s basket was the Titans’ first points from the outside since early in the second quarter.
That was as close as the Titans could get, as Grissom (22-11) iced the game from the free throw line.
While the Tigers were making their free throws, the line was not kind to Gadsden City, as the Titans made just 14-of -25 for the game.
“The guys began to feel pressured to make that next shot to get us back in it,” Huff said.
The first half featured several runs by both teams.
Grissom opened the game on a 6-0 run before the Tigers built an 11-8 lead after one quarter.
Gadsden City eventually answered with a 9-0 run that bridged the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second. The spurt gave Gadsden City a 15-11 lead with about five minutes left in the first half.
Grissom eventually held a 24-21 halftime edge, however, as the Titans shooting woes continued.
“Grissom made shots,” Huff said. “They were solid. They were big-bodied guys and when they touched us, it had a little bit more of an effect on us than when we touched them. We’re small, little guys.”
The Titans were led by Chris Turk, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Tevin Wise, who had 13 points and seven assists.
Juddine added seven points for the Titans.
“Tevin Wise and Chris Turk tried to will us to the next game,” Huff said.
For Grissom, Ryan Jones scored 18 points to lead all players. Jaquez Johnson had 11 points, while Luke Luna contributed 10.
Huff said while he and the team was disappointed with the loss, he also credited his team for getting farther than many thought this young Titan squad would this season.
“We have a young group, and a lot of these guys will be back next year,” he said.
“Nobody gave us a chance this year. Nobody thought we would be area champs. Nobody thought we would be 20-6. The coaches believed in the players and the players believed in the coaches, and that was big.”