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SATURDAY'S LOCAL COLLEGE/PREP HOOPS ROUNDUP: Lady Titans close Classic with loss; ATC, SGT men and Darton women all roll

Albany Tech’s Richana Jackson, left, drives on an Alabama Southern defender during Saturday’s finale for the Lady Titans in their home Holiday Classic at the Civic Center. ATC lost, 60-41. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

Albany Tech’s Richana Jackson, left, drives on an Alabama Southern defender during Saturday’s finale for the Lady Titans in their home Holiday Classic at the Civic Center. ATC lost, 60-41. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ATC men win second straight

ALBANY --- When the Titans met the rims at the James H. Gray Civic Center, it was love at first sight.

The irons were more than kind to the Titans over the weekend at the inaugural ATC Holiday Classic, where Albany Tech went 2-0 and dominated Alabama Southern Saturday night, 83-67.

“They shot the ball well,” Titans’ head coach Sylvester Patterson said after his team improved to 4-11 with a hot-shooting night. “When we first came to play here (at the Civic Center) they said they really liked the rims.”

Those Civic Center rims returned the feelings, helping Albany Tech shoot over 52 percent and 9-for-19 from 3-point range.

“We ain’t really as consistent as we want to be, but when everybody plays like they’re supposed to play that’s what you’re gonna get,” said Titans’ sharpshooter Antwon Tuff, who scored a game-high 18 points with eight rebounds, including hitting 4-of-9 from 3-point range.

The Titans (4-11) finished the basketball classic with a 2-0 record and hope they have started their own hot streak. Albany Tech plays at Daytona State Wednesday.

“They played really well this weekend,” Patterson said. “It was a good weekend for us. They’re just starting to buy in, starting to execute. They’re starting to play as a team.”

Despite the overall record to finish out 2012, the Titans feel like they’re capable of playing like they did Saturday every night. Albany Tech led Alabama Southern, which nearly knocked off 13-1 South Georgia Tech the night before in a 104-100 loss, by 18 at the half and maintained a 20-plus point lead for most of the second half before giving way in the final two minutes. The Titans best bet to stay out of the loss column may just be to shoot lights out like it did Saturday while cutting down on the 3-point shooting but still hitting nearly 50 percent from behind the arc.

“We’ve lost something like five games by less than three points,” Tuff said. “The record doesn’t really show it. Those (close losses) will roll back over.”

After seeing several nail biters go the wrong way early in the season, it’s time for the law of averages to come into effect.

“We hope so,” Patterson said. “We’re counting on it. We’ve lost a lot of close games to some really good teams.”

Tony Fear added 12 points in the ATC win, while Lafonzo Smith chipped in 10 points and six boards. Twelve Titans scored on the night. Alabama Southern (3-10) was led by Orlando Coleman's 10 points and 17 rebounds, one night after he scored 31 points. Will Bailey scored 16 in the loss.

Albany Tech came out in the first half blistering hot, hitting five threes in route to a 39-21 halftime lead. The Titans shot out to a 14-2 lead in the opening two minutes after a jumper from Nouhoum Bouchoum fell. Alabama Southern finally woke up but got no closer than 29-15 in the first half after Charvis Teacher's jumper.

ALBANY --- Albany Tech’s women went 1-1 in the 2012 Holiday Classic at the Civic Center after Saturday’s 60-41 loss to Alabama Southern Community College.

The Lady Titans shot a dreadful 28 percent from the floor and were outplayed by the Lady Eagles and former Westover High star Cessiley Colwell. Colwell scored 10 points with three steals in her return to Albany.

“We played great defense,” said Colwell, who is averaging just above eight points per game as a freshman starter at Alabama Southern.

Colwell scored five consecutive points in the first half to help Alabama Southern (8-7) open up an early 17-9 lead.

DeShanti Lewis scored 15 points and had eight steals to lead the Lady Eagles. Albany Tech was led by Toni Greir’s 14 points and seven boards, while Lashay Lettingham added eight points and nine boards.

“The defense is there,” ATC head coach Kenneth Williams said. “We’re just having trouble scoring. The only solution I have is to put up more shots and practice.”

Albany Tech (9-8) got as close as 31-23 in the second half before Southern went on a 13-4 run to blow the game open after the Lady Titans could never find their shooting stroke.

“Both teams (in the holiday classic) saw we weren’t shooting well and played zone defense all night,” Williams said. “That killed us. I don’t think we ran a man offense all weekend.”

The Lady Titans were also without three starters, who are out until the new year. They next travel to Florida for games Wednesday and Thursday at Daytona State and St. Petersburg College, respectively.


South Georgia Tech men win fifth straight, Darton women win fourth in a row in finales of Albany Tech Holiday Classic

ALBANY — A pair of red-hot teams closed out the Albany Tech Holiday Classic on Saturday with wins as the Darton College women beat Middle Georgia Tech, 80-50, and the South Georgia Tech men edged the MGT men’s program, 67-61.

Darton’s win — the Lady Cavs’ fourth in a row — was most impressive because they sat their top two scorers: Michelle Mitchell (ankle) and Chanteneice Fann (knee).

In their absence, Tamarah Fisher stepped up big with a double-double (26 points, 12 rebounds), as did Iesha Bonner, who finished with her own double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds). Darton won the rebounding battle, 66-31, and improved to 14-2. The Lady Cavs play again Thursday at West Georgia Tech.

The Jets, meanwhile, won their fifth in a row behind two double-doubles as well: Anthony Etheridge (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Octavius Green (17 points, 18 rebounds). Stedman Lemon added 12 points for SGT.

South Georgia Tech (14-1) now gets set for a huge showdown Friday at Chattahoochee Tech, which is 5-0 in conference — just ahead of No. 2 SGT.


Terrell girls avenge loss, win tourney

EUFALA, Ala. — After a 21-point loss Friday night to Lakeside School in its Christmas tournament, Terrell Academy girls basketball coach Keith Jones assessed the loss this way: “I don’t think they’re 21 points better than us,” he said.

Turns out, he was right.

Playing in the first double-elimination tournament Jones says he’s ever seen, the Lady Eagles got a chance at revenge Saturday night against Lakeside — and took advantage to the tune of a 65-53 win.

“This was one of those gut-check games where we had to decide whether we were a good team or a team that made excuses,” Jones said. “We found out who we were (Saturday night).”

Terrell (9-5) got into the championship game after routing Ashford Academy, 64-16, in the first of two contest the Lady Eagles were forced to play Saturday.

That, in itself, was also curious to Jones.

“I’ve never played two games in one day, but I guess things are different in Alabama,” he said. “I’ve never seen any format like that before in my life.”

Instead of laying down in the final on tired legs, Terrell shot out to a halftime lead and never looked back. Maura Milliron led the way with 20 points, followed by 15 from Marilauren Farr and 14 from Lauren Barfield. Olivia Rogers added 13 in the nightcap win, while Farr scored 16 in Game 1 on Saturday, Barfield added 11 and Sarah Bridges chipped in 10.

When asked what adjustments he made between the first and second meetings, Jones said it was all about defense.

“We just weren’t aggressive, and we didn’t pressure. And they took it to us,” he said. “Well, we got aggressive Saturday and took it to them.”

SUCCESS (ALA.) BOYS 63, TERRELL ACADEMY 56: The Eagles were led by Conor Walsh’s 20 points, while Raleigh Carlson added 12 in the finale of the Lakeside Christmas Tournament.

Both Terrell Academy teams are off until Jan. 7 when the Eagles and Lady Eagles will host Randolph Southern.