Dallas County holds off Keith on neutral floor

Published 11:50 pm Friday, January 16, 2015

Keith’s Jaequan Simmons throws a no-look pass to Dalven Johnson during Friday’s game at Concordia College Alabama. --Daniel Evans

Keith’s Jaequan Simmons throws a no-look pass to Dalven Johnson during Friday’s game at Concordia College Alabama. –Daniel Evans

Jerrod Moorer got loose for two dunks in the final minutes as Dallas County held off Keith 58-46 Friday in a battle of top ten teams.

Although the top-ranked Bears (13-10) kept it close, Dallas County managed to lead throughout the entire second half. Every time Keith managed to pull within two points, the Hornets (15-5) dug deep for a defensive stop and found a basket at the other end.

“The reason I wanted to win because this senior class had never lost to Keith,” Dallas County head coach Willie Moore said. “They lost to them throughout middle school, but somehow they found a way to win [in high school].”

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The game was played on a neutral floor at Concordia College Alabama, providing both teams a small glimpse of what a trip to the central regional in Montgomery may look like in February. If both teams make it that far, they’ll play at Alabama State University on an oversized floor and without a home crowd behind them.

Keith head coach Tommy Tisdale said it’s exactly the kind of test his team needed.

“You don’t find many 1A teams with the talent that they have,” Tisdale said. “They are defending champions and they play with a champion’s mentality. They walk in the gym and they sit together. Those things are noticeable.”

Like many of the battles between the county rivals, Friday’s game was close throughout.

The first half turned into a shootout between Keith’s Jaequan Simmons, who made three first quarter three-pointers, and Moorer, who answered with three deep shots of his own in the second. Moorer’s stretch helped the Hornets gain some breathing room, as they took a 34-26 lead into the break.

Keith came out of the locker room with a renewed energy, pulling within three quickly on a Kent James dunk. Dallas County found points on tip-ins by Javaris McGuire and Moorer to retake a 42-36 lead. Simmons nailed a three-pointer with 46 seconds left in the third to pull the Bears within 44-42, but that’s as close as they would get the rest of the way.

Moorer cleaned up a miss by Hornets’ big man Lowell Furlow to make it 48-42 with 6:16 left in the game. Keith managed to pull within four moments later on a deep three by Simmons — part of his 20 point night — but the Bears wouldn’t score again.

Kendell Motley hit a floater with 3:24 left and Dallas County found Moorer for two dunks in the final minute, which ended up being the daggers.

“I wasn’t happy with our effort and I wasn’t happy with our execution,” Moore said. “Certainly Keith did some things tonight and if I could shake coach Tisdale’s hand tonight, I would, because they did some things tonight that are going to help get us ready.”

Despite the loss, Tisdale tried to keep all in perspective for the Bears, who are still undefeated in class 1A, area 5 play and have all of their goals still in front of them.

Tisdale saying bigger schools like Dallas County can only help the Bears down the road.

“I can guarantee if I can’t guarantee anything else in life that Keith cannot win the 2A state championship, no way under the sun can they win the 3A state championship, it’s impossible for them to win the 4A, they will never win the 5A and I can put it on my family that they will not win the 6A or 7A [championships],” Tisdale said. “… When the schedule was setup back in August, we are exactly where I wanted to be.”

Moorer led the way for Dallas County with 25 points.


Keith 57, Dallas County 8 (Girls)

With the postseason nearing,  the Keith Lady Bears are playing some of their best basketball of the season.

Keith (16-5) may also be finding balance at the perfect time. Eight Bears scored in Friday night’s 57-8 win over Dallas County in a game that was played on the neutral floor of Concordia College Alabama.

“We are growing together and we seem to be playing defense as a team,” Keith head cosch Cecil Williams said. “We are passing the ball on offense so we are getting a lot of understanding there and that’s helping us out.”

Harriet Winchester, Ambreya Snow, Zykia Pettway, Jakyra Simmons, Dasheena Thomas, Alyshia Thomas, Shatavia Moore and Ty’Ceayonna Murray all scored for the seventh ranked Bears. Keith led 14-1 after the first quarter and 30-5 at halftime.

The Bears extended their lead to 53-5 after three quarters.

Alex Woodsun led Dallas County with four points. Winchester led Keith was 14 and Moore added 12. Keith won’t play again until they travel to Sunshine Thursday for a game that will likely decide who wins class 1A, area 5 and which teams hosts the corresponding area tournament.