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Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Tallassee’s Demontae Washington flies to the rim as the crowd anticipates the dunk.

Tallassee officially kicked off its season on the hardwood Tuesday night against Elmore County but the Tigers have been building some excitement around the two programs since last season ended. Thursday, Tallassee hosted a Midday Madness event to show off some skills from both teams to students and fans as the Tigers tried for one last push to draw more attention to the court before the season began.

“It was pretty full in the gym so I’d say it was well worth it,” Tallassee boys coach Keiven Mixson said. “Any time you can do something to promote your program, that helps. The excitement will draw some people into the games.”

Mixson said the event was put together last minute and he said the goal was to create a bigger fan base for Tuesday’s rivalry game.

The crowd was loud and on its feet for most of the tip-off event Thursday as the Tigers competed in a 3-point shootout and dunk contest. Before either competition got underway, all students were invited on to the court to stand around the arc before Demontae Washington threw down a big two-handed dunk to send the crowd into a frenzy.

“It helps us with chemistry a lot,” Washington said. “We get together like this and have fun during school; this is great. We’ve come a long way.”

The girls team was showcased next as Lindan Oliver and Sinclair Cole got the shooting contest underway. Oliver ran away with it and advanced to the finals against Tyrek Turner, where Oliver won in a shoot-off.

“There’s nothing like the sound of the net,” Oliver said. “I wanted to show what I’m about and what I’m capable of. Even though I’m a girl, I can put the ball through the net too.”

The show continued as the boys team sent five players out for a dunk contest. Washington and Tae Collins advanced to the final but the judges made a quick decision after Washington pulled another student from the crowd and jumped over her for his final dunk of the day.

“That’s just stuff I’ve been doing,” Washington said. “I didn’t want to pull out anything new. I’ll save that stuff for a game. Fast breaks are going to be something to watch.”

Washington, who transferred in from Robert E. Lee, has quickly given a boost of energy to the team. Mixson called Washington the best athlete on the team and he showed that Thursday.

“I’ve noticed since he has been here that he has been motivating everyone else, not by saying anything but just by his energy and athleticism pushing everyone else,” Mixson said. “That helps out tremendously.”

While the boys team has its sights set on the state tournament, the girls team is set to take a big step forward this season and Oliver was glad she and Cole got to participate in the events. Coach Harold Harris said he hopes it showed the crowd it needs to show up early for games this season so no one misses the girls team play.

“I like everybody coming together to see what the basketball team has been working on,” Oliver said. “That means a lot because I’m glad people are noticing us. There’s a girls team too and we’re here ready to play.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.