Warriors win back-to-back titles

Thompson High School junior Marcus Lewis drives to the basket in the Warriors' 74-65 win over rival Calera in the Shelby County tournament championship game Dec. 20 at Bank Trust Arena on the University of Montevallo campus. (Reporter Photo /Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO — Thompson High School senior Demarcus Threatt sent his first cousin, Calera senior guard Deondre Haynes, a text message before the Shelby County tournament championship game Dec. 20 at Bank Trust Arena on the University of Montevallo campus.

The customary exchange set the stage for a battle between the Warriors and the Eagles with the title of Shelby County’s best riding on the outcome.

Haynes one-upped Threatt earlier in the month, but Thompson’s team leader has the upper hand following the Warriors’ 74-65 win over the rival Eagles.

Threatt said the Warriors didn’t want to let the Eagles steal away their opportunity to claim back-to-back Shelby County tournament championships.

“It’s been one of our team goals since the beginning of the season,” Threatt said.

Threatt led Thompson (11-4) with 18 points in the victory.

Marcus Lewis added 12 points on four 3-pointers in the win. Kenny Nabors chipped in 10 points.

Jaylon Jones contributed eight points. Caleb Johnson finished with six points. DeAndre Gamble added four points, while Jaalen Jones chipped in two points.

Deondre Haynes and Ronnie Clark led Calera (12-2) with 18 points each.

Jeremy Hyde added 12 points. Titus Adams chipped in eight points.

Howard Morris finished with three points. Eric McCord, Jordan Bishop and De’Andre Shanks contributed two points each.

Calera controlled the game throughout the opening quarter before Lewis knocked down a 3-pointer to give Thompson its first lead, 14-13, with 1:22 remaining in the first period.

A jumper by Hyde quickly put the Eagles back on top, but Gamble drained a jumper at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 18-17 lead heading into the second quarter.

A floater by Haynes 12 seconds into the period gave the Eagles their only lead in the second quarter. Thompson stretched its lead to as many as 11 points following a 3-pointer by Jaylon Jones and back-to-back 3-pointers by Lewis down the stretch in the second quarter.

Morris scored a basket with two seconds remaining in the first half to cut the Eagles’ deficit to 40-31 heading into the locker room at halftime.

The Warriors extended their lead to 13 points in the third quarter following a 3-pointer by Lewis with 1:14 remaining in the period, which gave Thompson a 55-42 lead.

However, a breakaway slam dunk by Haynes with 16 seconds remaining in the third quarter cut the deficit to 55-48 and gave the Eagles a boost of energy heading into the final eight minutes.

Calera cut the deficit to five points, 57-52, following a layup by Clark with 6:01 remaining in the game. Thompson responded with a 6-0 run to push its lead back to double-digits at 63-54 with 2:36 remaining.

Calera trimmed the deficit to 68-63 following a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Haynes with 1:30 left in the game. However, the Warriors responded by knocking down four consecutive free throws and putting the game out of reach.

Thompson coach Patrick Davis said the winning the Shelby County tournament title   two years in a row means a lot to his players and assistant coaches.

“We take a lot of pride in winning the (Shelby County) tournament,” Davis said. “It’s important to us.”