DAPHNE – The Daphne Trojans outlasted the Baldwin County Tigers through three lead changes in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s non-area boys’ basketball contest and prevailed …
DAPHNE – The Daphne Trojans outlasted the Baldwin County Tigers through three lead changes in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s non-area boys’ basketball contest and prevailed with a 59-57 win.
Even the final buzzer wasn’t convincing enough after a referee conference determined Daphne went out of bounds rebounding Baldwin County’s last-second attempt that missed.
While only 0.3 seconds were returned to the clock, the Tigers had a chance before the buzzer with an alley-oop inbound pass from Jaxson Hughes to Kobe Johnson. However, the shot could not connect and the hosts emerged victoriously after trailing by double digits twice in the second quarter.
FINAL: Daphne 59 Baldwin County 57. Final for real now, after the Tigers had one last-chance shot at the buzzer. The Trojans hold on for a WILD come-from-behind, non-area victory to spark them heading into a rubber match against rival Spanish Fort #ALHSHoops pic.twitter.com/wTQt6HNPMq— Gulf Coast Media Sports (@GCMSportsAL) December 14, 2022
Tale of two halves ends promisingly for Trojans
Daphne head basketball coach Reed Hotard said the Trojans came out slow in the first half, and the first five minutes especially, but the team was able to rally together at the halftime break when the coaching staff issued a task.
“We challenged our guys in the locker room to be the aggressors and push the tempo a little bit and they responded,” Hotard said of the halftime message. “I was really proud of how we responded because Baldwin County’s a tough team, they’ve got athletes all over the floor and they really make you work for every bucket you get. Coach (Luke) Moore does a great job with them.”
Senior Donovan Wilson echoed his coach’s thoughts on the intermission conversation and said the energy in the building was different for Daphne’s third and fourth quarters when he wrapped up his 18-point performance to eclipse 1,000 total points for his career.
“We underestimated too many teams before and we almost did it again tonight. Our halftime talk was, ‘Go play, stop holding back. Go win the game,’” Wilson said. “It felt amazing (making our comeback); our bench got hyped, our student section showed out, then we hit those free throws down the stretch to help us win.”
Lady Trojans set the stage with big win
The Daphne girls’ basketball team opened the night with a dominant, 49-22 win over Baldwin County thanks in part to double-digit scoring efforts from La’Merrica Johnson (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Kiera Watson (10 points, 6 rebounds).
It was Tierra Bradley, though, that made the biggest splash at the end of the third quarter after she not only came up with a steal but also settled the loose ball and pump-faked to get the defender out of the way before she nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The win improved the Lady Trojans’ overall record to 12-2. It also marked a sixth consecutive victory for head coach Kimyatta Perry’s squad heading into a rivalry matchup against Spanish Fort Thursday on the road.
Daphne seniors carry the load
The Trojans were able to complete the comeback in the nightcap to seal the Tuesday sweep in front of their home crowd and Hotard said he was happy to see the team pull it out behind some of their senior leaders.
Randy Williams provided nine fourth-quarter points – including his own 6-0 run that gave Daphne a 55-50 lead with 1:58 left – to help the hosts build a lead down the stretch.
“We have six seniors but those two guys, we lean on them a whole lot. We ask them to do more than anybody else,” Hotard said of Williams and Wilson. “Then Stacey Boykins came in and hit a huge three in the second quarter, did a really good job in the back end defensively getting deflections and getting his hands on passes. (Junior) Al Woodard and Kam Watson, just big rebounds down the stretch. Honestly, I felt like that was Kam’s best game of the season just in terms of rebounding the ball and being a physical presence.”
Griffin leads Baldwin County with 15 points
The visiting Tigers opened the game with a spark and built up to a seven-point halftime lead after an 11-2 run to close the second quarter. It wasn’t until an 11-2 run in favor of Daphne at the end of the third quarter that made it a one-possession game entering the final frame of regulation.
Alonzo Griffin provided a pair of three-pointers on that run to end the second quarter and he ended up leading Baldwin County scorers with 15 points where his only points from the field came on three-pointers. He was joined by Tahjrick Bradley (12 points) in scoring double digits where Javion Bolar and Damarion Marshall both finished with 8 points.
Both Daphne teams travel to face Spanish Fort Thursday while Baldwin County's teams host Saraland on Thursday.
“We’re still learning a lot about ourselves and the direction we want to go but we are forming an identity,” Hotard said. “We’ve won 7 of our last 10 now so we’re starting to trend in the right direction.”