WILDCATS NEVER GAVE UP: Houston County downs Florala in area title game

Published 12:05 am Saturday, February 10, 2018

Florala played their hearts out, but a big third period from Houston County lifted the Lions to a 76-58 win on Friday night in Class 1A, Area 2 championship game in Florala.

The Wildcats came into the game without their leading scorer Rashaad Coleman. Coleman came down with the flu on Friday morning.

Houston County won the tip, but missed on their first scoring opportunity.

Florala got the rebound and Nealand Stone turned it into two points on the other end.

Houston County then got three-straight baskets to go up 6-2.

The Wildcats battled back with a layup from Anthone’ Stone, and then a pair of free throws from Mekhi James to tie the game.

The Lions then went on a scoring run and took a 15-6 lead.

James ended the Lions’ scoring run when he knocked down a 3-pointer for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats followed that up with a basket from Shon White, and then a buzzer-beater from Stone to leave Florala trailing 15-13 heading into the second period.

Houston County started the second period with a 5-0 run to build a 20-13 lead.

Stone grabbed a steal and took it down the court for a layup.

White followed up with a jumper to cut the Houston County lead down to 20-17.

The Lions responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to inch the lead back up.

White got the final three buckets of the second period for the Wildcats, but Houston County was up 35-24 going into halftime.

Houston County scored the first bucket of the third period, and then Jacob Hammac answered with a 3-pointer to make the score 37-27.

The Lions then began to heat up from behind the arc, and a flurry of 3-pointers quickly allowed Houston County to build a 48-27 lead.

Florala’s next basket came from a layup by White, but then back-to-back 3-pointers put the Lions up 56-29.

The Wildcats weren’t going to lay down, and give the game to the Lions.

Stone made a strong move to the basket and pulled up on a mid-range jumper to cut into the lead.

Hammac then got a steal on the inbound pass and put it up for layup.

White came up big with a layup and then a fade-away jumper, but the Lions ended the period with a 3-pointer to take a 68-41 lead into the final frame.

Opening up the fourth period, White came down with an offensive rebound and was pushed as he put the ball back up.

Falling to the ground, White released the ball and watched it fall in for an and-one opportunity. White missed the free throw.

Houston County then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to go up 76-43.

Even though they trailed by 33 points, the Wildcats continued to get after it on both sides of the floor.

James got things going with a pair of free throws and then a free throw from Stone made the score 76-46.

After getting a stop on the other end, White knocked down a 3-pointer.

The Wildcats’ defense then forced another turnover.

White got the ball and found Hammac open in the corner for a jumper.

After forcing another stop, the Wildcats went back on offense with White drawing a foul as he knocked down a jump shot.

White was true on the free throw to cut the Houston County lead down to 76-54.

Logan West then got a free throw and the final basket of the game came on 3-pointer from White.

White’s 3-pointer cut the score to 76-58, but the Wildcats ran out of time on their comeback attempt.

“There isn’t much you can do when a team gets hot like they did,” Florala head coach Troy Stewart said. “I thought we came out well in the first half and stuck with our game plan. Then they started running a box-and-one on Mekhi (James). That threw us off and we had to try and work around that. In the second half, they just started  nailing threes. There isn’t much you can do when a team catches fire like that.”

White led the Wildcats with 30 points.

The Wildcats will travel to J.F. Shields on Tuesday for sub-regional action.