By Ronald Frazier
Two points- that’s the difference between Glenwood winning a regional title and instead going into the AISA state tournament as the No. 4 seed.
“I think we were snake bit,” said Glenwood Coach Dusty Perdue of his teams’ efforts in the Region 1 AAA tournament held Jan. 25-27 at the Montgomery Multiplex.
It started against Springwood Academy in the semifinals on Jan. 26 as the Gators dropped a one-point decision 49-48 as Gus Davidson hit a three-point shot in the waning seconds to give the Wildcats a berth in the title game.
“We hit only three of 10 free throws and when it is tournament time, you can’t shoot that kind of percentage,” said Perdue.
It was an odd game as only three Springwood players scored in the game. Davidson led all players with 26 points while Christian Lancaster added 17 for 43 of the Wildcats 49 total.
Bryce Valero had his highest scoring game of the year with 22 and Nick Adams was also in double figures with 12. Leading Gator scorer Christian Clausell finished with only eight points as the Wildcats focused their defense on the Gators top scorer.
That loss dropped the Gators to the Consolation finals and another one-point loss, this one to Tuscaloosa Academy by a 48-47 score.
Trailing by one point with less than five seconds to go, the Gators got the ball to Clausell and he drove the lane and hit a 13-foot jumper as the horn sounded to what looked like a one-point victory.
However, Clausell was called for charging on the play and the basket was wiped out, giving the Knights the one-point win.
“Tough call at the end,” said Perdue after the contest. “Probably should have not been so aggressive but that’s what we want to do—if the ball doesn’t go in, get a foul with a chance to at least tie or win it at the foul line.”
Clausell finished with a team-high 14 points while Valero and Brooks Barton added nine. The Knights’ Hadrian McNeal hit five three-pointers and finished as the game’s top scorer with 24.
Glenwood entered the regional tournament as the No. 1 seed as they split the final two regular season games played on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23
On Jan. 22, Glenwood lost to Springwood in Lanett 67-49 as Davidson torched the Gators for 28 points giving him 54 points in the two games played this week. Lancaster was the secondary Wildcat scorer with 16 total points.
Clausell scored 21 against the Wildcats in the area contest on Jan. 22 but Perdue pointed out that the team’s overall shooting was “not good.”
That meant to win the area title and go into the Region tournament as the No. 1 seed, Glenwood had to beat Lee Scott on the road and the Gators responded with a 56-55 victory over the Warriors.
Brooks Barton had 13 to lead the Gators and Clausell had nine, according to Perdue.
“It was a great game with a great atmosphere and a good win,” said Perdue after his team’s one point win.”Our guys didn’t quit and played hard.”
It also capped a unique double win by both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Earlier in the year, Glenwood won both the boys’ and girls’ games by three points at Glenwood and both teams won the road game by one point.
The Gators, now defending class AAA champions, face a daunting task as they will face Lakeside of Eufaula, the Region 2 champion in the first round of the state tournament at 5:30 p.m. EST at the Montgomery Multiplex. Glenwood has faced the Chiefs twice during the regular season and previously lost both contests.