Straughn boys fall to host at Ozark tournament

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

OZARK — Carroll-Ozark didn’t start out strong and didn’t finish well Saturday against Straughn, but did enough in the middle to claim a win.

Sparked by a first-half 17-0 run, the Eagles built a double-digit lead on the way to an error-filled 53-44 victory over the Tigers at the Dothan Eagle/Dothan Progress Holiday Prep Classic.

“We definitely came to play,” Straughn coach Todd Reynolds said. “It was a real good game for us. I got everything I wanted except for a ‘W.’”

Carroll hit only 29.5 percent from the floor (18-of-61) and just 58.3 from the foul line (14-of-24). It had 16 offensive rebounds, but scored off only four of them.

The Eagles also had 23 turnovers, many of them traveling or double-dribble violations.

“We didn’t value the ball at all,” Carroll coach Phillip Landers said. “The turnovers were horrible. At the beginning of the game, we missed about seven lay ups in the first quarter that could have broken the game open early, but we missed them. We just didn’t play well.”

Straughn (5-6) also struggled offensively in the game. The Tigers hit just 38.1 percent (16-of-42) from the floor and 6-of-11 from the foul line. They had 18 turnovers.

Robert Miles led Carroll with 13 points. Bryon Bell had 12 and Sylvester Sikes 11.

C.J. Christopher, who hit five 3-pointers, had 17 points to pace Straughn. James Byrd had 12 points and Caleb Cochran 10.

“We knew it would be tough to go into a (Class) 5A gym to beat them,” Reynolds said. “We were only able to put together three quarters. The effort was there. I felt we out-worked them. Our margin of error is so much smaller than everybody else’s.”

Reynolds said one thing his team learned from the experience is they can “play in a big environment.”

“The ability to show up in the big game,” he said. “That was good. There was a big crowd and it was a big game. That’s what you want going into area play. There was no pressure on us. For three quarters, we played solid basketball.”

Carroll missed its first nine shots and committed three turnovers in the first five minutes.

Straughn capitalized enough to seize an 8-0 lead behind a 3-pointer each from Christopher and Byrd.

The Tiger lead was 13-8 with 1:10 left in the quarter when Carroll went on its 17-0 run to grab a 25-13 lead with 4:14 to go before intermission.

Carroll would lead from seven to 12 points from that point until a Straughn surge in the fourth quarter cut the gap to four with 2:39 left.

Carroll’s Shakeel Johnson added insurance with three free throws in the final 2:39 of the game.

Straughn will host Central-Hayneville this Saturday in its first area game of the season. Tip off is at 4:30 p.m. with the B-team.

Andalusia Star-News editor Andrew Garner contributed to this story.