D.J. Jamerson picked up a loose rebound and quickly sprinted down court, hitting a floater at the first half buzzer to cap a 14-point run for Stanhope Elmore. The run cut Tallassee’s lead to just three points and the Mustangs had all of the momentum going into the break but the Tigers responded in a big way.
Tallassee got five points each from a trio of players as the Tigers outscored Stanhope by 11 points in the third quarter to regain control. Tallassee’s lead grew as much as 19 points as it got back to its winning ways with a 72-59 victory over the Mustangs Monday night in boys basketball action.
“We just started forcing shots and got too relaxed,” Tallassee coach Keiven Mixson said. “We got away from the game plan but I think they learned their lesson. You can’t think the game is in the bag because that will happen.”
Tallassee (10-2) jumped out to a 34-17 lead midway through the second quarter as the Tigers seemed to be eyeing a new season high. Jamicah Humphrey already had 15 points and the game was moving at the right pace for Tallassee but the Mustangs were not going away easily.
After a timeout from Stanhope coach Terry Hardy, the Mustangs got consecutive putbacks from David Ragland before Jay Tillman joined the party with back-to-back 3-pointers to swing the momentum. Jamerson got the final bucket of the half but it was not be enough as the Mustangs had no answer to Tallassee’s offense in the second half.
“We’re playing hard in spurts,” Hardy said. “The key to it is just making shots. At the end of the day, you can play defense and do all of the other stuff right but you have to put the ball in the basket. They made shots. They are consistent on offense and they have players that can score.”
Humphrey led all players with 24 points with his final bucket being the dagger as he hit his fourth 3-pointer to put Tallassee up 15 with less than four minutes to go. Tavarious Griffin had a season-high 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists.
As a team, Tallassee finished with 17 assists on 29 field goals. Griffin led the way while Humphrey, Tae Collins and Tyrek Turner added three assists each.
“We have some guys that are really good passers and they see the floor really well,” Mixson said. “You can work on passing drills but they are just naturally good passers. I’ll give my kids credit for that.”
Stanhope (4-7) got plenty of offensive production of its own as the Mustangs’ outside shooters showed up, knocking down 10 3-pointers as a team. Jamerson finished with 19 points, including two 3-pointers, while Tillman knocked down three treys and finished with 13 points.
“When you’re making shots, everything looks a little better but we can’t always settle for that,” Hardy said. “Because when those shots aren’t falling, what are we going to do? You can live and die by the 3 but I don’t want to play that way. We have to work to get some easy stuff.”
Tallassee had lost two of three games entering Monday’s contest and the Tigers wanted to pick up some momentum before entering this week’s Elmore County Tournament. The Tigers and Mustangs will face off for the third time to start the tournament Thursday night in Eclectic and Stanhope is hoping to find a different result this time.
“We’re really just worried about us but losing sucks and we want to beat everybody on the schedule,” Hardy said. “I guess there’s a little revenge to it but we’re just trying to work on us and keep getting better. We’ll be ready for them.”