Selma-Keith playdate battle provides peek to fall

Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2015

There was nothing on the line Tuesday when Selma and Keith met in each team’s summer basketball finale, but somebody must’ve forgotten to tell the Saints and Bears.

The teams wrestled over balls, played like bragging rights were on the line and gave the fans on hand for Southside High School’s girls’ basketball playdate a peek at what might be in store in the fall.

In the end, Keith overcame a 10-point deficit to hang on for a 43-42 victory.

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“For a minute, I thought it turned into a game at Selma High,” said Keith head coach Cecil Williams with a laugh. “They were playing hard and making their shots and running their plays good. After my girls kind of settled down, we got ourselves together.”

It’ll be over four months before either team takes the court again, but when they do they’ll meet at Selma High in November. If it’s anything like Tuesday, it’ll likely be quite the show.

Jamya Smith made five first half three-pointers and paced Selma to a 28-18 lead. The Saints led 30-22 at the half, but Keith started the second half on a 15-6 run to take a 37-36 lead with 8:26 left. Slowing Smith down was part of the reason the Bears were able to get back in the game.

“When she misses one and she’s open, you can actually breathe,” Williams said.

The lead went back and forth into the final minutes when Keith’s Harriet Winchester, who led all scorers with 17 points, knocked down two free throws with 2:01 left. Both teams were called for offensive fouls inside the final minutes, which ended possessions.

After a Keith shot in the final seconds missed, Selma’s Areyana Williams fired a shot from beyond half court to steal the win, but it bounced off the rim.

“When you do the right things against them, they are going to make you better,” Selma head coach Anthony Harris said of Keith. “We had a good little game right there and we let pretty good. We turned the ball over a couple of times when we shouldn’t have. Other than that, we played good ball.”

Selma finished the summer with a 9-2 record, while Keith went 10-4. The Bears won the 1A state championship in 2014, while the Saints reached the state quarterfinals.

Selma also won games against Wetumpka and Calhoun Tuesday. Keith won games against Selma and Wetumpka.


Dallas County plays first games of summer

While some of the teams at Southside’s playdate were finishing up their summer, Dallas County was playing its first games of the offseason.

Hornets girls head coach Charles Thompson came away impressed with the way his team played in three games — close losses to Southside and J.F. Shields and a 29-4 win over Ellwood Christian.

“The biggest growth is that we have some extra hands on the wing, on the outside. We have an extra hand or two as far as ball handlers, so that’s our biggest difference. We still have a long way to go, but that’s our biggest difference.”

Thompson said he plans to get the Hornets in two more playdates before the end of July.


Southside wins, ties games at playdate

For a team that hadn’t played a game this summer, the Southside Panthers had to be proud with how they played Tuesday at a playdate they hosted. The Panthers won their opener over Dallas County and tied with Marbury in game that was called after one overtime period.

“Today was a good day. We showed some signs of improvement on offense and played really good defense,” said Southside coach Jason Bothwell.


Ellwood shows signs of progress

Ellwood Christian head coach Calvin Marshall said Tuesday was the Eagles first playdate of the summer.

The Eagles played games against J.F. Shields, Calhoun and Dallas County.

“We are working on getting better,” Marshall said. “We should be a whole lot better than we were last season. I’ve got some key components that I’m going to try to use especially with my guards. I’m lacking in the height so I’m going to try to use my speed more than anything but I’ve got to get my girls together.”