FLORALA TAKES TOURNEY TITLE: Lady Wildcats down Bethlehem for crown
The Florala Wildcats split with Bethlehem with the varsity girls winning and the varsity boys falling in Saturday’s championship round of the inaugural Florala Wildcat Christmas Tournament.
In the opening game of the night, the Lady Wildcats took control early and cruised to a 44-29 win over Bethlehem.
Laken Hadley opened up the game with a 3-pointer to get the Lady Wildcats rolling.
Makayla Parker also hit a 3-pointer in the opening frame.
Hadley’s stroke remained on point as she led the Lady Wildcats with 18 points.
Sharea Coleman finished the game with 12 points.
“We’ve been talking about trying to set the tone of the game from the start of the game,” Florala head coach David Bass said. “We’ve been preaching that since yesterday (Friday). We’ve been playing from behind all season. Even yesterday when we played Elberta, we played from behind so take the chance to set the tone from the start of the game.”
Bass said he was really pleased with the way the Lady Wildcats played defense.
“I was most impressed with our press,” Bass says. “Our girls slid their feet and played the press really well. We executed our offense. We’ve been doing a much better job as we’ve gotten deeper into the season of executing our offense. We did really well. The stat highlight of the night was that we had l6 or 17 steals. Our girls played really good defensively. This was really big for us. We have a really big fan base this year, so we wanted to start a tournament and to actually win the tournament for the first year is really big. They are really excited. This is the second tournament we’ve won this season. They have that hunger for success now. We just hope that carries on over into January when we start area play.”
In the final game of the evening, Bethlehem forced overtime before coming away with a 59-53 victory.
With 45 seconds left in the game, Rashaad Coleman knocked down a pair of free throws that put Florala up 48-40 before an epic comeback by Bethlehem put the game in overtime.
Bethlehem cut the Florala lead down to three points and then got a chance to inbound the ball with 5.5 seconds left on the clock.
The ball was inbounded to the corner, where the Bethlehem player spun and fired up a 3-pointer that hit nothing but the bottom of the net to tie the game.
Florala immediately heaved the ball down court on the ensuing inbound pass.
Two Wildcats found themselves alone on their side of the court, but the rushed layup to beat the buzzer missed and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, Bethlehem surged for a 59-53 win.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” Florala head coach Troy Turman said. “We played really bad and played arrogant the whole game, I thought. We talk about being aggressive, shooting open shots, playing possessions, playing hard on defense and we didn’t do any of that tonight. We missed wide-open layups and we missed wide-open free throws. There were just a lot of negatives tonight. We played hard and tried, but down the stretch and in overtime we made a lot of bad decisions as well.”