Gators drop Elite 8 game, 55-45

Gators drop Elite 8 game, 55-45

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By Ronald Frazier

Listed near the bottom of the Tuscaloosa Academy roster was a freshman, Carson Claytor. Little did Glenwood know that the 9th grader was the difference as the Knights eliminated Glenwood from the AISA class AAA basketball tournament by a 55-45 margin Feb. 13th at the Montgomery Multiplex at the Crampton Bowl.

“We did a great job on who we wanted and played a great game defensively overall and someone comes off the bench we didn’t know and sparks them,” said Coach Dusty Perdue.

Perdue was speaking about Tuscaloosa’s all-star, Hadrian McNeil, the MVP of the 2018 state tournament. Anthony King drew that main assignment and he with switching help from Bryce Rosier held the Knights star to eight points the entire game.

In fact, King outscored his guard opponent and led the Gators with 12 points.

Claytor came off the bench and hit three three-point shots and hit three of four free throws for 12 points as he was second behind three-point specialist Sam Rowley for top point producer. Rowley was top scorer for the game with 18, including four three-pointers. Claytor’s points were a big factor in the 10-point win. 

“It was Carson’s best scoring game of the season,” said Tuscaloosa coach Barry Sanderson after the game, “And it came on the biggest stage, the state tournament.”

“For us it was the same story that has happened to us all year, we couldn’t score,” said Perdue after the contest. “We couldn’t hit a big shot and missed some put backs that we should have had.”

“Did the 12-day layoff from our last game (a Feb. 1st win over Lee Scott) hurt us?” inquired Perdue. “I think it played a part.”

Glenwood fell behind early and were down 10 points when they put on the defensive pressure and closed within three 21-18 before a Knights’ offensive burst put it back to a lead of 12 at intermission. 

The Gators also closed within two at 42-40 in the final period but Claytor hit a three-pointer and Rowley hit a three and two free throws and the lead was back to 10 where it stayed until the final horn.

Besides King, Bryce Valero was in double figures with 11 including a season best seven of eight from the foul line and Rosier added 10 more points.

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