The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

December 22, 2013

East boys wield balanced scoring to hand Tanner first loss, 54-42

Crabtree, Diamond combine for 27 points as East girls topple Tanner, 46-37

CAPSHAW — Despite a 25-point performance from Tanner guard JonJon Fletcher, Class 5A East Limestone used balanced scoring and its deeper bench to come away with a 54-42 victory on Saturday against the top-ranked and defending state champion in 2A.

In a rematch of last season’s county championship game, East (10-4) got a team-high 13 points from leading scorer Jordon Gandy but Tanner held him to only three points in the first half by blanketing him with a help defender.

The Indians overcame the Rattlers’ strategy with 12 points from DeAnte Griffith and 11 from Devin Davis, along with Jarrett Fox, Sylvaughn Taylor and Blake Tucker combining for nine points off the bench.

Clinging to a one-point lead in the first quarter, East used a 7-0 run fueled by a Witt Black assist to Davis for an open trey and two steals converted into fast-break layups by Nick Walsh.

The Rattlers (5-1) trailed by as many as 17 points during the second quarter, with East going on an 11-2 run before Tanner whittled the deficit to 26-14 at halftime.

During a 5-1 run by Tanner to close the first half, Blake Whitt sank an off-balance basket in the paint, Shamaud Baker set up Whitt for a short jumper and Fletcher drilled a turnaround jumper near the free throw line after Ibrahim White chased down a loose rebound.

Tanner stayed with East in the second half as each team scored 28 points, but the Rattlers could not dig themselves out of their 12-point halftime deficit.

White pulled off one of the game’s highlight plays in the third period when he came up with a steal and converted a reverse layup on the ensuing fast break to rouse the Tanner crowd. But his basket only cut the deficit to 10 and Tucker’s three-point play on the next East possession halted the Rattlers’ momentum.

After Tanner starter Desmond Love left the game with a lower leg injury in the fourth, the Rattlers managed to trim the lead to 43-35 when White got another steal and found Fletcher on the right wing for an open 3-pointer.

But East nipped the potential rally in the bud when Griffith grabbed an offensive rebound and drained a short jump shot. Tanner would get no closer than 10 points during the closing minutes of the game.

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