Andalusia falls to top-ranked Jackson in thrilling regional semi-final

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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The Andalusia Bulldogs were poised for an upset in the 4A South Regional semi-final, but in the end, the state’s top-ranked Jackson Aggies pulled away for a 65-58 victory, ending the Bulldogs’ season.

The 2023-24 season ends with Andalusia earning the area championship, making the Sweet 16, and securing an overall record of 21-9.

“It was a tough and hard-fought game, but unfortunately, we didn’t make a play when we needed them to. I’m proud of my kids’ efforts. They took on the challenge headfirst and competed their butts off. All in all, this season had a few ups and downs, but we endured them all. I would like to thank the seniors for the opportunity to impact their lives in a positive manner,” AHS Head Coach Marcus Mickles said.

On Monday, Jackson jumped out to an early 11-4 lead before Tevin Sigers hit the first three-pointer of the game for the Bulldogs. Later, Cadariyus Love followed with a shot and a foul to make the score 15-10. The Bulldogs continued to get closer when a Jackson in-bound was stolen and passed out to Tyler Sigers who was good from three-point range, making it a two-point game, 15-13 with 1:58 to go in the first. Jackson rebuilt its lead to five points, but a Laeton Smith three-pointer as time expired on the period closed the gap to 20-18.

The second period began with Andalusia tying the game at 20 on two free throws by Jordan Stallworth. But, the Aggies got on an offensive roll after that, scoring 11 unanswered points before Love hit a free throw to make the score 31-21. Tevin Sigers would help make up some ground, hitting his second three-pointer later in the period to cut the lead to seven, 33-26 with 2:35 remaining in the half. Andalusia would continue to battle back in the final minutes of the second period, as Weaver hit consecutive buckets followed by Tyler Sigers hitting another with 10 seconds remaining, making the halftime score 37-32 in favor of the Aggies.

The third period was the best for the Bulldogs as they outscored the Aggies 17-9. It got started early with Stallworth starting things with a three-pointer. That was followed by an audience-arousing dunk by Tyler Sigers that tied the game at 39. After Jackson hit two consecutive baskets, Weaver evened things up again with two points. At the 1:20 mark, Andalusia captured the lead, 45-44, on a basket from Hudson Kelley. Free throws from Weaver and a bucket by Xavier Hourel secured a 49-46 lead for the Bulldogs heading into the final period.

Jackson put points on the board early in the fourth and recaptured the lead, 54-49. Tyler Sigers cut the lead back down to three, 54-51 with 5:20 remaining. Andalusia tied the game when Love stole the ball, leading to a three-pointer by Hourel.

With only 3:09 to play, Andalusia took a 57-56 lead on a three-pointer from Love. Jackson would tie the game on a free throw moments later and they followed that up with a long three-pointer to give them the upper hand at 60-57 with 2 minutes to go. Jackson’s defense held firm in the final minutes of the game and as time began to run out, Andalusia was forced to foul. Jackson made the most of the opportunity, securing the seven-point victory, 65-58.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Weaver who finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Tevin Sigers also finished with double digits with 11 points, nine of which came on three-pointers. Love added nine points and Hourel had eight. Also scoring was Tyler Sigers with six, Stallworth with five, Smith had three, and Kelley chipped in two.

Defensively, Hourel led the team with five steals while Love and Tevin Sigers each had three.

The Bulldogs finish the 2023-24 season with an overall record of 21-9.