Sweet 16: Trojans stay alive in playoffs with win over Tallassee

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Charles Henderson High overcame a furious rally by the Tallassee Tigers to claim a 44-38 sub-regional win Tuesday night in Betty Wagoner Hall on the campus of CHHS in Troy, punching the ticket for the Trojans to the Class 5A Southeast Regional this Saturday, 10:30 a.m., in Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum.

The Trojans led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but Tallassee cut the lead to 34-32 with 3:20 to play. CHHS, however,’ kept their focus and put the game away.

CHHS Head Coach Doug Branson was proud of the way his boys never buckled and more proud they are one of 16 teams remaining in Alabama Class 5A boys basketball.

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“The takeaway is that we get to play again,” said Coach Branson. “We are in the regionals now, and we go to Montgomery. The guys have earned that. They really, really just performed well. If you want to get into tonight’s game, it was a microcosm of our season. We got out and played strong and won some games early, then we faced some adversity and the same with this game. Tallassee is a good basketball team and there is a reason they have won 21 basketball games this year. You don’t win that many with just luck. That is a quality basketball team.”

The Trojans took a 12-3 first-quarter lead on two-three pointers by Keonte’ Brantley, but Tallassee cut that lead to 12-10 midway of the second quarter. CHHS then built a cushion as Jay Taylor hit two layups, to give CHHS a 22-13 halftime lead.

The Trojans held a 32-18 lead – a 14-point advantage with 1:35 to go in the third – but Tallassee stormed back to cut it to 34-32 with just over three minutes to go in the contest.

CHHS then hit five free throws from Keith Wheeler, Terrell Sistrunk, and Marcus Grant and got key baskets by Wheeler and Bradley Caldwell to pull away for the 44-38 win.

CHHS was led in scoring by Wheeler with 13 points, Brantley added 12, Sistrunk scored eight, Taylor six, Grant five and Zach Henderson two points.

Kalvin Lever led Tallassee with 13 while Jamicah Humphery scored 11.

Coach Branson is eager for his boys to travel to Montgomery this weekend.

“It’s tournament time, and we’re in the Sweet 16,” said Branson, “There are only 16 teams left, so that’s really cool. We’ll enjoy this tonight, come in and evaluate everything on Wednesday and prepare for whoever we play.”

CHHS improves to 20-9 on the year while Tallassee ends the year at 21-8. The Trojans will play at 10:30 a.m. against Sylacauga this Saturday in Montgomery in the AHSAA Southeast Regional Tournament at Garrett Coliseum.

The Lady Trojans of CHHS will open play Saturday morning with a 9 a.m. game in Garrett Coliseum against Briarwood Christian.