TA boys and girls look to advance at AISA tournament

TUSCALOOSA | The Tuscaloosa Academy boys and girls basketball teams are in Montgomery today, seeking to advance to the semifinals in the AISA Class AAA Tournament.

The Knights (20-9) face the Evangel Christian Academy Lions from Montgomery. The Tuscaloosa Academy girls (22-7) play Glenwood School from Smiths Station.

The Tuscaloosa Academy boys are the No. 2 seed from Region 2.

"It’s tournament basketball," said Tuscaloosa Academy coach William Johnson. "If you’re not ready to play, your season’s over on any given moment. I like our team. I like our chances. We’ve had a great two weeks of practice. I was proud of how they competed in the region tournament. I challenged them to handle adversity. We were down 16-2 in the opening round and came back and won by 10. We’re playing really hard and really well.

"I’m excited about what these playoffs may bring for us."

Torrence Brown, a 6-foot-4 guard, and forward Pride Snow are the top scoring threats. Johnson said Brown has been averaging about 17 points per game. Brown missed the first half of the season while recovering a knee injury sustained during football season.

"When he and Pride Snow are both scoring the basketball together, we’re pretty strong offensively," Johnson said.

Sam Brown starts at point guard with Carter Standeffer at guard and Terrell Bush manning the post position. Austin Menard, Sherman Lake and Kwuan Whtifield are key players off the bench.

Snow scored 25 points and Sam Brown had nine when Tuscaloosa Academy beat Evangel Christian 52-48 in December.

"We work an hour a day on nothing but defense and fundamentals," Johnson said. "We like to think we’re a pretty good defensive team, but we’ve got to be able to guard. We play an extremely athletic team that’s going to give us some matchup problems in different places. We’ve got to be able to do all the little things defensively to win the basketball game.

"They put a lot of pressure on the basketball. We’re going to have to do a good job of taking care of the basketball and hit some shots. I know that sounds like everybody’s response, but it’s going to be especially true tomorrow."

Senior point guard Krissy Pruitt, leading scorer for the Tuscaloosa Academy girls, had 12 points in a 31-25 loss to Glenwood in January. Johnson said Glenwood is the only AISA team with a win over Lee-Scott Academy.

"They have a 6-foot post player that can play," Johnson said. "They have two guards that are as good as any two guards we’ve played. They’re going to be a tremendous challenge for our girls basketball team."

Johnson said Pruitt "shoots a very high percentage" on 3-point attempts. Other starters include freshman guard Addison Harrison, sophomore post Hallie Harrison, senior guard Taylor Demonbruen and senior forward Chassiti Kimbrell.

Johnson said the Cochran sisters are usually the first players off the bench. Kaci is a guard, and Carlie is a forward.

"This team has really bought into the concept of playing defense and playing together as a team," Johnson said. "They pick each other up. Since Christmas, it’s seems like we’ve really gotten better defensively."


Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.