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TA girls wrap up region with win


NORTHPORT | The Tuscaloosa Academy girls basketball team (15-5) clinched the Class AAA, Region 1 title when it beat the Kingwood Christian Lions 58-26 on Friday.

The Knights controlled the pace of the game from start to finish, outscoring the Lions in every quarter and forcing a running clock in the last two minutes. Even though Tuscaloosa Academy took a 21-14 lead into the half, coach William Johnson said his team missed too many shots and didn’t play well defensively.

"I thought we were pretty sluggish in the first half," Johnson said. "I thought we were getting good looks, I just didn’t think we were capitalizing on our opportunities."

The Knights carried their slow start into the second half, allowing the Lions (6-14) to score a quick basket, cutting the lead to five. Offensively, Tuscaloosa Academy was scoreless for a fourth of the quarter.

Senior Taylor Demonbreun provided the spark the Knights needed to take the game over. Demonbreun scored eight consecutive points — six on 3-pointers — as part of a 10-0 run to swing the momentum in the Knights’ favor. Tuscaloosa Academy finished with two more runs of six and 13 unanswered points while allowing only six baskets the rest of the game.

Demonbreun finished with 10 points.

"Those were huge," Johnson said. "I actually challenged her personally at halftime to come out in the second half and help us offensively. She answered the call 100 percent, and I’m really proud of her for it."

Demonbreun wasn’t the only one to contribute, however. The Knights spread the wealth, with numerous players scoring in double digits. Freshman Addison Harrison had 11 points and three assists, while sophomore Hallie Harrison scored 10 points and six rebounds.

Senior Krissy Pruitt led the Knights with 14 points while adding four assists, scoring her last 10 points in the fourth quarter. Still, Pruitt was quick to divert attention away from herself, crediting the win to an overall team performance.

"I think tonight we did really well of everybody getting the score," Pruitt said. "Because they play box-and-one. So we really needed people to step up, and they did."

Pruitt said the game was bittersweet, as it was her last home game. Even so, she said she was happy to leave with a win.

"It’s really emotional," Pruitt said. "I’m going to miss it."