By Scott Nickerson
The Stanhope Elmore Mustangs played their first home basketball game of the season on Tuesday, December 3, against the undefeated Tallassee Tigers from Class 5A. After losing road games to Greenville, LAMP, and Carver, and winning three games in three days in the Montgomery Academy Tip-off against St. Luke’s, Loachapoka, and LAMP, the Mustangs were ready to take their home court for the first time this season. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, they were unable to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season, as Tallassee broke open the game in the 4th quarter and pulled away for a 60-46 victory.
Coming into the game, the Tigers already held a win over Class 7A Auburn High School. Tallassee’s other six wins came by double digits. They looked every bit the impressive undefeated team, and figure to be a strong contender in Class 5A this season. Senior center Tyrek Turner led the Tigers with points in the paint and rebounds, while junior guard Jamicah Humphrey drilled several three pointers to help keep Tallassee ahead in the 2nd half.
The Mustang’s only lead of the game came in the 1st quarter at 10-8, after Jaden Tillman and David Ragland both hit three-pointers on back to back possessions. Humphrey and Turner were able to get the last five points for the Tigers in the final minute of the opening quarter, which ended with a three-point lead for the visiting Tigers.
Stanhope Elmore was able to tie the game at 20 with three minutes left in the 2nd quarter, but Tallassee then began aggressively trapping the Mustang guards bringing the ball up the floor and were able to generate several turnovers that led to quick points to the Tigers. In the span of two minutes, the Tigers went on a 12-2 run to take a 10-point lead. The Mustangs were able to get a basket in the final seconds before the half to cut the deficit to single digits at 32-24.
Both teams went cold shooting the ball to start the 3rd quarter, with no points being scored in the first two minutes. That drought was finally broken by Humphrey with a three-point basket for the Tigers. Stanhope Elmore fought back and was able to cut the deficit to just four points, before the Tigers again extended the lead with baskets from Humphrey and Turner.
Trailing by only seven points entering the final quarter, the Mustangs again went on a scoring drought, this time for three minutes. Tallassee finally was able to put the game out of reach and extend the lead to double digits, where it remained for the final six minutes of the game, finishing with a 14-point win for the visitors from Tallassee.
Junior center Daniel Jamerson had 14 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Mustangs. Tillman was the only other Mustang player scoring in double figures, finishing with 11 points and 4 rebounds. Dylon Williams and Sed Hall also added 7 points apiece.
Tallassee’s record improves to 8-0 with the win. They will be tested in their next two games, on the road at Class 7A Auburn, and on the road against Class 7A John Carrol Catholic from Birmingham, before returning home to host Stanhope Elmore in another matchup between the two teams. The Mustangs dropped to 3-4 with the loss and will play on the road against Marbury on Friday, December 6, and then return home to face Class 7A Jeff Davis on December 10.