Wildcats punch ticket back to regional with 18-point trouncing against Leroy

Published 11:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2024

Florala will have an opportunity to defend its regional title in the capital city following an 81-63 win over Leroy in a 1A boys’ sub-regional game on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Dalton Jackson shoots a jumper for the Wildcats as Brayden Huebner defends the play for the Bears. Jackson earned 17 points on the night.

The 1A Area 2 champion Wildcats improved their season record to 20-9. The Bears finished the year at 7-11.

“I’m proud of the efforts of everyone involved but most of all the players. This team has faced more adversity this season than any team I’ve coached, and they continue to work and meet challenges. We preach no excuses and lean on each other to overcome adversity, and that’s what I’m most proud of for this team. Not the wins, although we’ll take them for sure, but how the guys have evolved as a team and have met the mental and physical challenge while not making excuses. Even our injured players continue to contribute and stay positive. I think this is a team the Florala community can be very proud of. We are thankful for another 32 minutes on Wednesday,” FHS Head Coach Troy Turman said.

Florala roared out of the gate with an explosive start on both sides of the ball in the opening period. Noah Bryan had a pair of threes and made three free throws for a total of 11 points. Christian Greasham added six, while Rayshon Coleman and Dalton Jackson each contributed four. Taylor Crumedy and Damien Phillips led Leroy with four apiece, but the hosts held a 25-12 lead after the first eight minutes.

The offense remained hot in the second period led by Jackson’s seven points. Greasham continued his spark from the floor with three more buckets giving him six in the first half. Coleman converted a three-point play as Bryan chipped in the final two. Crumedy and Phillips both scored six for the Bears, and JaQuan Scott had four. Malik Howell went one-for-two at the line. The Wildcats carried a 43-29 lead into halftime.

Florala’s Christian Greasham makes a strong drive to the goal against a Leroy defender. Greasham finished with 16 points.

Coleman matched his first-half output of seven points in the third period as Florala scored 17 total. Jackson found the hoop on two occasions, and Jayden Bradberry sank two free throws for his initial points. Greasham and Bryan notched two in the frame. Leroy kept up with 16 points and was led by Crumedy who had seven including a three-pointer. Scott had a pair of buckets, while Phillips and Howell combined for five. The game shifted to the final eight minutes with the hosts holding a 60-45 lead.

The nets kept getting a workout with 39 combined points from the two sides in the final period. Coleman sank a three and earned seven of the Wildcats’ 21 points. Bryan also had a triple along with two free throws. Bradberry made a three-point play as Greasham, Jackson, and Charles Greer chipped in two. Phillips mustered seven points including a three for the Bears but was just two-for-five at the line. Crumedy found the hoop three additional times, and Scott hit another two baskets. Howell also had a free throw.

Coleman scored a team-high 21 points for Florala followed by Bryan who grabbed 20. Jackson and Greasham completed the double-digit scoring quartet with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Crumedy paced Leroy with 23 points, and Phillips took 20. Scott garnered 14 as the final six points went to Howell.

Jonathan Neal attempts a shot for the Wildcats.

Florala snapped Brantley’s streak of 23 consecutive home wins over the last two seasons with a 78-72 win in the area championship game on Thursday, Feb. 8.

“We played good tonight and could have played much better. Now that we are getting into the playoffs, we have all come together and played some great team ball the past two weeks. Georgiana is a good team and so are we. We’ve been here before with a lot of experienced guys. I’ve been looking forward to this game all year, and now it’s time to handle business. We have all we got and all we need to be ready to go to war with my guys,” Coleman said.

The Wildcats square off against Georgiana (24-3) at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum in the 1A South Regional semi-finals on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 4:30 p.m.