Bulldogs exorcize Demons during AHSAA 1A South Region Semi-final game
Published 9:58 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023
By Haley Mitchell Godwin
The Brantley High School varsity boys used a dominating second quarter to pull away with a 45-38 win over McIntosh School Monday night during the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) South Regional semifinal game.
The Bulldogs took down the Demons at Garrett Coliseum Monday after defeating Pleasant Home School during a home court sub-regional championship game on Valentine’s Day, gaining the opportunity to advance to sub-regionals today against Florala at 1:45 p.m. at Garrett Coliseum.
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The game started slow for both teams. The first quarter ended with McIntosh leading the Bulldogs 5-3. Despite the lack of baskets, Brantley coach Andre Parks said the Bulldogs put on a show that displayed what teamwork is all about.
“Monday night showed what this team is all about,” Parks said. “Jordan (Parks) has been a huge part of our success lately and he tweaked his ankle during the game. Our guys needed to step in and play hard those few minutes and they did a great job. Harper (Kilcrease), Jackson (Mitchell) and Jon (Bush) really filled those shoes nicely. The entire team did what needed to be done and Kedrick (Brown), Robert (Shine), and Jayden (Parks) all played solid minutes to help secure the win against a very athletic McIntosh team.”
Things changed quickly in the second quarter when Brantley turned a stifling defense into rebounds and baskets on the other end. Jon Harper Kilcrease made two three-pointers one of which included a foul and the ensuing free throw to make it a four-point play. Four free throws from Brown led Brantley to a halftime 24-8 lead. McIntosh’s three for 18 first half shooting and one for seven mark from the free throw line contributed to their deficit.
The intensity and physical nature of the game escalated in the second half. The third quarter brought back and forth action as McIntosh tried to mount a comeback, but Brantley held steady and finished the quarter in the driver’s seat, holding on to a 34-18 lead.
The Bulldogs gained 18 points and six rebounds from senior forward Kedrick Brown and sophomore Jayden Parks scored 13 points..
“I thought we played hard,” Brown said. “We competed and played as a team. I’m proud of my guys!”
Jayden Parks echoed his teammates’ sentiments.
“I’m excited about the opportunity for people around the state to see what this team is made of. We are a true team, Jayden said.”
McIntosh turned up the heat on Brantley’s defense in the fourth quarter and began to make shots they couldn’t sink the previous three. Dristan Sullivan sank four fourth-quarter three-pointers to help the Demons cut the lead back to single digits.
The Bulldogs responded to the pressure and made some crucial free throws to secure the win and send them to the AHSAA regional finals for back to back seasons. Sullivans 12 points and Chuckie Barnes,Jr’s seven additional points led the Demons in scoring. Brown’s 18, Parks’ 13, and Jon Harper Kilcrease’s seven points led Brantley.
The Bulldogs took advantage of 19 McIntosh turnovers.
“I’m excited that this group of kids will have the opportunity to represent Brantley on the big stage,” coach Andre Parks said. “All year long these guys have played hard and found ways to win. I talk to them all the time about cherishing these moments and not taking them for granted because none of this is promised. This team is one of the most unselfish teams I’ve coached. They aren’t worried about who scores, who plays the most minutes. What matters the most is how I can help my team win.”
The Bulldogs will face area rival, the Florala Wildcats, for the fourth time this season on Thursday at Garrett Coliseum. The teams will battle it out for the right to represent the south region at the Final Four at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena.