After trailing 20-9, 28-26 and 43-40 at the end of quarters one, two and three, Daphne forged ahead in the final two minutes of the fourth period to top the Toros 61-58 for the 2016-17 Class 6A Area 2 crown.
DAPHNE, Ala. — After trailing 20-9, 28-26 and 43-40 at the end of each quarter, Daphne forged ahead in the final two minutes of the fourth period to top the Toros 61-58 for the 2016-17 Class 6A Area 2 crown. The No. 2-ranked Trojans (28-3) will now host B.C. Rain in their sub-region round Tuesday night. Area 2 runner-up Spanish Fort (22-8) will travel to Saraland to face the Area 1 winning Spartans.
With a capacity-plus crowd at Daphne’s Jubilee Gym, the neighboring rivals faced off for the fourth time this season. And a fifth could happen if both DHS and SFHS advance. The Toros won the first meeting in December for the Baldwin County tournament title. But the Trojans have now won the last three. The difference between scores has been 3.75 per game.
Daphne could continue the season’s undefeated streak at home with the Rain Red Raiders left to make it perfect.
Tied 53-53 with one minute, 31 seconds left in the fourth, DHS senior Deontaye Buskey sunk a 3-pointer from the corner for the lead which grew to 58-54 with 30.7 seconds left, but SF shrunk it to 58-56 with two from the line. DHS went 9-for-14 at the line in the fourth (21/31 overall) while SF was 5-of-8 in the final eight (19/32 overall).
“Extremely proud of my guys tonight,” said Daphne head coach Cedric Yelding. “When you have nine seniors who work as hard as these guys and work together to achieve the goals we set out for, you have to be proud and happy for them.”
He said that given the closeness of the regular-season games, he expected it to come down to a final possession or two.
“When you have two good teams you better expect a battle and coach Powell and his players always make good plays and don’t quit. Like I thought it would, it came down to possession and making our foul shots. We were able to finish making those last-possession shots and most of our shots from the line and hold on.”
Spanish Fort head coach Dru Powell said the Trojans made the shots they had to at the right time.
“Like DD’s (Buskey’s) three with about a minute and a half left to tie it. That’s what good team’s do. What we have to do is work hard to finish stronger. But I do hope that now we can bounce back from this with maybe a little chip on our shoulder and use it.”
Buskey — who was held scoreless in the first period — finished with the game-high of 21 points to lead the Trojans scoring. Samir Hamlin added 15 for Daphne and Dre Graves had nine. The Toros were led by Trae Barry’s 15, Terrin Atkinson with 11 and Jalen Wayne with nine.
Earlier this season, Daphne defeated the Red Raiders in their regular-season games. The Toros also are 2-0 against the Spartans. Sub-Region winners advance to the South Regional tournament in Dothan which begins Feb. 15.