BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Friday, Feb. 12, in what was a testament game of lessons about family, teamwork, dedication, honor and perseverance, the Greenville High Tigers boys basketball team claimed their second Alabama High School Athletic Association 5A Area 4 Championship in as many years.
The Tigers, with home court advantage, faced off against their longtime area foe, the Charles Henderson Trojans of Troy, and earned a very tough and deserved win, 75-73.
From the outset of the ball inbounded at 6 p.m., it was clear the Tigers were going to have the fight of their life if they wanted to move on in the playoffs.
With several starters sitting on the bench for disciplinary reasons, Greenville fell quickly behind the Trojans 16 points in the first quarter.
The Tigers were getting off shots but the ball just wouldn’t sink in the basket. By the end, the score was 26-10.
In the second quarter, Greenville’s defense began to stiffen but they were still outscored 13-6 and with the close of the first half, the Tigers were down 39-16.
Though his Tigers were behind, head coach Marcus Mickles, kept his focus throughout the first half and then brought the team out from the locker room at half ready to prove they deserved to be Area 4 Champions.
In the third quarter, Tiger starters were able to take the court but even then it did not look promising to overcome a 23 point deficit for a come from behind win.
They managed to outscore the Trojans 15-13 and at the close the score was 52-31 with a daunting task ahead.
With the outset of the fourth quarter, the Tigers went into overdrive. They pressed, they outhustled, they outrebounded, and they outscored the Trojans 44-21 and claimed final victory, 75-73, for themselves, their coach, their school, and the ecstatic court rushing fans.
Greenville’s 44 points in one quarter broke a school record and was three points shy of the state record.
Top scorers for Greenville were Dawson Sarblah with 27, Chauncey Stewart and Tyler Mallory with 12 each, and Laquan Robinson and Justice Palmer adding eight and seven respectively.
Mickles, in praise of his team after the game, said, “I am really proud of the team. We had some adversity in the first half but they came out in the second half and really gave an unbelievable effort.”
“They had plenty of opportunities to lay down but just kept fighting and showed their resiliency,” he added.
Greenville’s Mallory, Palmer and Sarblah were named as part of the 5A Area 4 All-Tournament Team, with Sarblah being honored with Most Valuable Player.
Greenville is ranked #9 and was 5-0 in area play with an 18-8 overall record. They will next face the Headland Rams in the 5a Sub Regional Game at home in “The Jungle” at 6:30 p.m.