Shelby County’s comeback bid falls short

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

CLANTON – Chilton County was able to score 38 points in the final two quarters on its home floor against the Shelby County Wildcats on Monday, Jan. 22, to hold on for a 58-54 win.

The Tigers were able to take advantage of two Wildcat players fouling out and as well as 36 free throws during the game to pick up the win as Shelby County struggled with fouls the entire night.

That trend started in the first quarter as Chilton County got to the line six times and made four of those free attempts. All four made free throws came from Mondez Jones, while he also added a jumper to pick up six points in the quarter.

Jones’ impressive opening quarter as well as four combined points from D’Vontae Williams and Reshaun Davis gave the Tigers 10 points in the opening quarter.

More impressively than Jones’ performance, however, was the performance of the defense. Shelby County’s Nathan Bates has been the Wildcats’ leader all season, especially from the 3-point line, and in the first quarter he drained another one.

The bad thing was his lone 3-pointer was the only made basket in the period for Shelby County, who trailed 10-3 at the end of the first.

Somehow, the Wildcats came out in the second quarter like a completely different team. While they struggled to get anything going to start the game, they were able to pour in four 3-pointers in the second.

Bates and Tasharious Whetstone each hit two deep bombs for 12 of Shelby County’s points in the frame. After three more jump shots were made by the Wildcats, they had scored 18 points in the quarter and limited the Tigers to 13 to claw back within two points at the half as they trailed 23-21.

Bates continued with his hot hand in the third quarter as he drained two more 3-pointers and two jumpers for 10 points in the quarter and a combined 18 in the last two quarters of play.

Nathan Bates had a game-high 24 points for the Wildcats in the loss. (For the Reporter/Larry Dancy)

It led to another strong scoring quarter of 19 points for Shelby County, but the fouls continued to add up for the Wildcats.

Chilton County was able to get to the line eight times in the quarter and hit five of its eight free throws. Aside from those free points, Jones added three jumpers to give him eight points in the quarter, while Patrick Rogers and Shi Keem Laister poured in two additional jumpers.

Each team played to a 19-19 tie in the quarter, which led to the Tigers taking a slim 42-40 lead into the final period.

While the Wildcats hung tough in the fourth quarter, free throws as well as two players fouling out led to Chilton County holding on for the slim four-point victory.

The Tigers hit nine of 15 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win, while the Wildcats were only able to hit one 3-pointer in the period—something that had kept them in the game up to that point.

Jones led Chilton County with 17 points in the win, while Rogers added 13 points of his own. Those two were a combined 10-16 from the free throw line.

Shelby County was led by Bates with a game-high 24 points thanks to his four 3-pointers. Whetstone added another double-figure scorer with 13 points, while William Morris had nine points.