Stampede comes up short in regional final
Sat. February 25, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Paul W. Bryant’s Dexter Hood pulls in a rebound in front of Sylacauga’s Justin Browning during the first half of the Class 5A Central Regional in Montgomery. (Photo by Robert Sutton)
MONTGOMERY | The 2012 Paul W. Bryant Stampede established milestones for the boys basketball program, but the season ended on Friday.
Senior guard Christopher Oden, the most valuable player, scored 24 points in leading Sylacauga to a 62-49 victory in the AHSAA Class 5A Central Regional final at Alabama State.
Sylacauga (25-9), led by former Tuscaloosa Academy coach Josh Golden, advances to next week’s semifinal round in Birmingham.
Paul W. Bryant, which won the Area 6 regular-season and tournament championships, finished at 26-7. Coach Shon Peck-Love’s team reached the regional final by beating Talladega 53-39.
Paul W. Bryant trailed 36-35 at the start of the fourth quarter but was outscored 26-14.
"I think both teams came out and competed hard," Peck-Love said. "Sylacauga is an excellent team. I think they’re a well-coached team. They did what they needed to do to win the game.
"I’m extremely proud of my guys. They fought hard. They were down. They could have tucked their tails, but we fought back. We exerted a little too much energy and couldn’t sustain our own run. The balls weren’t bouncing our way. We couldn’t get to the loose balls. You want to credit Sylacauga with some of that also."
Paul W. Bryant guard Dexter Hood and forward James Currington made the All-Tournament team. Both are juniors who expect to return next season.
Hood had 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
"This is about the best high-school team I’ve ever been on," Hood said. "It means a lot to me to make it this far."
Currington had 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
"It’s been a good season," Currington said. "We made a lot of history. I want to come back next year and get stronger, faster, go harder."
Guard Kevin Holland scored seven points, and forward Bradley Watts had six for the Stampede.
Sylacauga’s Justin Browning had 12 points and six rebounds. Jaquan Threatt scored nine points.
Paul W. Bryant shot 46.8 percent for the game, 51.9 percent (14-for-27) in the second half. The Stampede committed 24 turnovers and was called for 29 fouls. The Aggies made 15 of 31 free throws and collected 14 steals.
"We wanted to run them off the 3-point line, but at the same time we ran them off the 3-point line we wanted to stop them from penetrating," Peck-Love said. "I think they did a good job of penetrating, getting to the basket and hitting free throws."
Golden said he devised the Aggies’ defense to concentrate on Currington and forward Tony Whitehead.
"We knew we had to contain their big guys," Golden said. "Both of them are really good. We saw them against Talladega (in the semifinals). Currington had 10, and Whitehead had three. I’ll take that."
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.