Keith's Rodney Ellis brings the ball up the court during Monday's game against Loachapoka in Montgomery. -- Robert Hudson
Keith's Rodney Ellis brings the ball up the court during Monday's game against Loachapoka in Montgomery. -- Robert Hudson

Bears blowout Loachapoka

Published 12:46am Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MONTGOMERY — The Keith Bears jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back, as they defeated the Loachapoka Indians 71-37 on Monday to open the Class 1A Central Regional at Alabama State University’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome.

Tommy Tisdale, head boys basketball coach of Keith (21-10), said the Bears had great success running the floor against the Indians (13-9), and got a great shooting night from Anfernee ‘A.J.’ Simmons, who scored 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field.

“From scouting reports, we knew they wanted to play a half-court game, and we wanted to play the way we play. I told my guards we were going to push it in transition,” Tisdale said. “We got a lot of easy baskets. It helped that A.J. had a career night tonight. This is one of the best times in the world to step up and play the way he did tonight. Our goal is to continue, and we get a chance to play again.”

Simmons said the Bears just wanted to set the tone early.

“We just wanted to come in here and play our hardest and take control of the game early,” Simmons said. “We were quicker than them and we just tried to keep them off the boards.”

The Bears broke it open in the second quarter after taking a 15-8 lead in the first.

Keith scored 23 of the first 25 points to start off the second quarter before the Indians could score another basket and made it a 38-10 game with 2:12 left in the first half.

During that stretch, Simmons scored 11 of his 24 points.

Keith outscored the Indians 25-6 in the second to take a 40-14 lead into halftime and held Loachapoka to 38 percent shooting in the first half.

Keith extended its lead to 54-27 in the third quarter, which was highlighted by a fast-break dunk by Keith’s John Pettway.

Keith shot 47 percent from the field and benefited from 33 turnovers by the Indians on the night.

Walton Young and Martavious Harris each had 8 points for Keith, while Rodney Ellis added 7 points for the Bears.

Tisdale said the Bears, who finished the season ranked No. 4 in the ASWA Class 1A rankings, will have a tough matchup on their hands Thursday, but will be ready to face the No. 1 St. Jude Pirates at 8 p.m. in the Acadome.

“Obviously, we’ve got our hands full with the No. 1 team in the state, but regardless of the outcome, if there’s any team in America more prepared to face a No. 1, it’s gotta be us,” Tisdale said. “We may have played five games this season versus the No. 1 team. We played Wilcox-Central at No. 1, Dallas County, R.C. Hatch, so why not play the No. 1 Class 1A team?”

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