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Tuscaloosa Academy boys miss shot at region title


NORTHPORT | The Tuscaloosa Academy boys basketball team fell to the Kingwood Christian Lions at home, 57-44, Friday night.

With a win, the Knights (16-6) would have split the AISA Class AAA, Region 1 championship with the Lions, and a tiebreaker between the two teams would have determined the champion. The Lions instead won the area outright.

The Lions (19-1) were simply too much for the Knights. Outside the first quarter, Tuscaloosa Academy couldn’t keep up with the faster Kingwood Christian team.

The Lions also put heavy pressure on the Knights throughout the game, using a full-court defense to cause numerous turnovers in transition.

Still, the Knights were able to keep the game close late in the second quarter, when only one point separated the teams. A 3-point buzzer-beater by the Lions’ Daniel Fillingim made the score 26-22 at the half and took the air out of the Knights’ momentum.

"I thought we had the game where we wanted it," Knights coach William Johnson said. "I just didn’t think we made enough plays down the stretch of the basketball game."

Junior Torrence Brown, who led the Knights with 18 points while adding three assists, shared his coach’s sentiments.

"We just got to make stops," Brown said. "We didn’t make enough stops on defense. If we would have made some stops, then we would have been leading that basketball game."

That was apparent in the fourth quarter, when the Knights had success offensively but failed to make any defensive stands. Tuscaloosa Academy never cut the Lions’ lead to less than six in the fourth quarter.

Johnson said he didn’t criticize his team’s effort, however.

In fact, Johnson said he told his players they would likely win the remainder of their games if they continued to play with the effort they put out against Kingwood Christian.

"If we play with that effort and that intensity, you’re going to win most of your basketball games," Johnson said. "They know that. They know what it takes."