Worth County’s Brandon Moore watches as Albany High’s Tyler Cheese soars over him after a shot fake in Tuesday’s game. Moore led The Herald No. 1 Rams with 23 points in an 80-77 victory. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — In a matchup of two of the top four teams in Region 1-AAAA, Tuesday’s showdown between Herald No. 1 Worth County and Albany lived up to its billing as both teams traded blows.
After getting steamrolled in the first half, Albany used a 30-point third quarter to spring its way back into the game. But the fourth quarter belonged to Worth County’s Anfernee McLemore, who scored most of his 16 points in the final period to help lead his team past Albany, 80-77, at Albany High.
“At first they were being physical and I was kind of taking it; then I sucked it up and said I wasn’t going to take it anymore and I started playing like the old Anfernee,” said McLemore, a Herald Super 6er who really sprung into action when he scored on a breakaway dunk with a little more than three minutes left in the game. “I think that fueled the whole team. Once we got the big plays, the momentum carried us the rest of the way.”
Brandon Moore had a game-high for the Rams with 23 points. KenDarius Collier finished with 17 points and Jamon Moore chipped in nine points.
The Rams remain atop the region standings with a record of 17-4.
“Our guys just played hard, they [Albany] put a lot of pressure on us but we were able to run our press break and attack and get to the basket,” Worth County head coach Arthur Davis said.
The Indians (11-7) also had a gameplan to do most of their scoring within the paint.
But early on it was Worth County flexing its muscle, proving it could handle the inside attacks with sound interior defense.
“Their length … they did a good job of protecting the basket and they got quite a few blocks down there,” said Albany head coach Archie Chatmon, whose team fell behind 22-8 after the first quarter. “We are an attacking team, so when we cannot go to the free throw line it is tough for us.”
Despite the defensive fortification the Rams erected, Chatmon iterated to his players the need to stay true to the gameplan.
“I was really pleased with my guys that they did not go outside of our gameplan,” he said. “We came back in that third quarter and said we are just going to attack with a little more ferocity. We got under those long arms and got some contact and we able to go to the free throw line.”
Galvanized by a 9-2 run to start the second half, the Indians put up 30 points in the third quarter to Worth County’s 16 points.
“Our defense was lacking at that time, they were being aggressive and we were not stepping up to take charges,” Davis explained. “But in the end our guys found a way to pull it out and win the game.”
McLemore added: “It was just a team effort; no one guy made this happen. We were passing the ball and the players were getting good shots. Right now we are playing our best basketball.”
Albany’s Tyler Cheese finished as the team’s high man with 21 points, while Dezmond Newberry and Malik Dungee-Ali each scored 18 points. Jordan Young had seven points.
Neither team wanted to focus on the impending region tournament or the implications this game may have. Instead Worth County is looking ahead to its next game against Dougherty, while Albany tries to get back in the win column Saturday night against Colquitt County.
Albany girls win first game of season
ALBANY — It was a game abounding with turnovers and missed shots from point-blank range, but Tuesday’s matchup between the Worth County and Albany girls’ basketball teams was a night the Squaws had been searching for all season.
The Squaws celebrated their brightest moment of the year by securing their first victory in what has been a difficult season, beating the Lady Rams, 39-30, Tuesday afternoon in front of their home fans.
“It feels awesome, I mean any win feels good,” Albany head coach Telly Turner said. “It feels so good because the girls needed to know what a win feels like, and what better time to win and turn things around with region tournament play coming up.
“To do it on our home court is awesome too because we had some fans stick around for the game, and the girls wanted to get this win with their peers in the stands watching.”
After a horrid shooting performance in the first half, Worth County reconciled with the basket and ran off six points to trim a nine-point halftime deficit to four (21-17). But Albany withstood the surge with a 7-0 run to end the third quarter.
From there the intensity on defense spiked for the Lady Indians, who could feel win No. 1 slowly becoming a reality.
“We have been practicing hard, and we play every game to win, but things just came together for us (Tuesday),” Turner said. “We sustained the intensity throughout the game, and the girls were really hungry knowing that the season is winding down.”
Julyssa Brown came off the bench to lead Albany in scoring with 12 points. Alondra Calhoun also scored in double figures with 10 points, while Lindneshia Hudson had six points.
Losers of its previous 18 games, Albany now looks to ride Tuesday’s high by putting together its first winning streak of the season.
Meanwhile Worth County drops to 4-14 on the year. Brianna Farley was the only player on her team to reach double figures with 10 points. Andrea Williams added eight points, and Kiambria Green and Andrea Davis had four points apiece.