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Caleb Turrentine / Tallapoosa Publishers Tallassee coach Kuanda Alleyne talks to her team during a timeout against Reeltown.

The Tallassee girls basketball program will be starting area play with a 0-1 record before even getting on the court. The Tigers will not to play Friday night's game against Pike Road after two suspensions were handed down by the AHSAA because of Thursday night's fight that broke out between Tallassee and Calhoun.

First-year coach Kuanda Alleyne confirmed that news Friday evening before the Tigers were scheduled to tip off against the Patriots. 

“My main goal was to come in and try to change the culture," Alleyne said. "I didn’t set my priorites on wins and losses this year. I wanted to develop character. Last night’s game was a setback to me but moving forward, I can't overlook some of these things. I have to let them know what we won’t tolerate."

“My message was to make sure we first focus on being good young ladies," Alleyne continued. "We have to have good sportsmanship. We can’t let a little trash talk get us out of what we’re trying to do and what we want to accomplish. I need them to understand that energy they had is what they need to use to work on being better. When times get tough, that’s when you get tougher. You don’t have to fight to show how tough you are. You can show that by how you play."

The decision not to play Friday was made by the Tigers because of the limited number of players available to play. Tallassee has already been working with a small roster all season and after the two suspensions, it only had four players who could take the court at Pike Road. While the AHSAA allows teams to play with just four players, Alleyne did not believe it would be worth it.

“I didn’t want to put that pressure on the girls," Alleyne said. "I didn't want to put that pressure on Jy (McKinnon) tonight to pretty much be the sole person trying to do everything. And we didn’t want to risk any injuries."

The two players who were suspended by the AHSAA will be out the next five games so the Tigers will have to reach into the middle school program for players so they can finish the season and compete in area games. Tallassee's next game was scheduled for Tuesday against Beauregard but that matchup has already been postponed due to COVID-19. Now, Alleyne believes she can have her team ready for next Friday's home game against Pike Road.

“They have one more game this week then I’ll be able to know how soon I’ll be able to know how soon I can bring them up," Alleyne said. “It’s going to be basics and starting from point A. It’s about teaching the fundamentals. I cant try to cram x’s and o’s into a short time.”

While it may be hard to find any positives after Thursday night's display, Alleyne believes the silver lining will be getting to work with some of the younger players. The bridge between the two programs has not connected very often but Alleyne said it could be a spark for the future of the program.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to most," Alleyne said. "The girls I have now didn’t have that. With me having such a short roster now, I can bring these girls up now and start working with them early. They’re going to already know what I expect so that is a silver lining.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.