Bears can’t pull out the win

Published 10:48 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Christopher Oden (11) tries gather a lose ball in the second quarter. -- Chris Wasson

BIRMINGHAM — It wasn’t to be for the Keith Bears against Pickens County at the BJCC on Tuesday.

The Tornadoes’ (29-1) Jematic Curry scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to push Pickens over Keith (19-11) 65-57 in the AHSAA Class A semifinal.

“Right now I’m just real proud of our seniors,” Bears coach Tommy Tisdale said. “Those guys have been with me for three years and the second best thing other than the championship game was tonight.”

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The game was rematch between two teams who took last year’s sub-regional to the wire, with Pickens County winning that game by just one point before moving on the win the state championship.

“We knew it was going to be a war, it always is when we play them,” Tornadoes coach Russ Wallace. “We knew they had some revenge in their minds and they never quit. We got up 10, 12 points a couple of times and they battled back.”

The two teams went back and forth in the first half in a physical game that ended with 71 total fouls.

Even when Keith’s Forrest Pasley got into foul trouble in the first half, the Bears were able to keep the game close with the defending champs, only trailing 29-23 going into the break.

“Our game plan was what it was,” Tisdale said. “I felt confident coming in, confident at half time and confident when we made a 6-point game out of it at the end.”

In the second half the Tornadoes were able to use size and depth to jump out to a 9-point lead late in the third quarter.

The press gave the Bears trouble in the second half and they turned the ball over 14 times.

In the fourth quarter, Pickens County was able to pull away from the Bears at the free throw line, but Pasley wouldn’t let Keith go down without a fight.

Pasley scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter.

His foul shot with 30 seconds left even pulled the Bears to within 6 points, but the Bears couldn’t pull it out.

“It’s a credit to the way he (Pasley) fought all game,” Tisdale said. “He got into foul trouble early and came back even stronger.”

Now the Bears will turn their attention to next season that will have 10 returning players.

“I love these guys,” Tisdale said. “They put it all on the line for me and I put it on the line for them. I’ve been with these guys for so long, it’s remarkable. I just can’t wait to get back at it.”