BEULAH — When the B.B. Comer girls left home for the Area 7-3A tournament Monday, they left without their jerseys. Thanks to the play of D’Aja Caldwell and the Dadeville Lady Tigers, B.B. Comer left Beulah without a must-have victory.
Caldwell went all-out for Dadeville in a 54-31 victory, as she had as many points (8) at the half as B.B. Comer on her way to a 12-point outing. The loss made a bad situation worse for B.B. Comer, which was forced to wear Beulah’s jerseys due to their equipment mishap.
Thanks to Dadeville’s victory, the Lady Tigers have clinched a spot in the Class 3A subregionals. Dadeville will play Beulah for the area tournament championship at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Beulah.
“The defensive effort has been much better — not saying it was still the best, but it was a lot better effort than we’ve had most of the season consistently and the young ladies working together (was huge),” Dadeville coach Pamela Holloway said. “They worked better as a team tonight, and I was pleased with that.”
Both teams started slow early, but Dadeville’s aggressiveness — led by Caldwell — got the Lady Tigers rolling. Caldwell and her teammates came up with eight steals in the opening eight minutes to jump ahead of B.B. Comer, which didn’t score at all until the 1:50 mark at the close of the first quarter.
Caldwell’s play came as no surprise to Holloway.
“She does the little intangible things,” Holloway said. “She’s going to block out, she listens and she’s very coachable. She’s just going to do the little things that most players overlook because she understands the game a lot better.”
Outside of B.B. Comer’s Aliyah Gaddis, who had five of her team’s first six points, Dadeville did everything right in slowing its opponent down. Caldwell and teammate Layla Grace delivered enough points to keep B.B. Comer at bay.
Grace ended the victory with a game-high 12 points.
Dadeville maintained a comfortable lead throughout the game, but the team didn’t let up as the minutes ticked down. Ka’Niyah Wilkerson and the Lady Tigers stayed after B.B. Comer and managed 22 points in the game’s last eight minutes of action.
Now, the Lady Tigers turn their attention to Beulah, which beat Dadeville twice in the regular season. Holloway has seen her team play up and down this season due in part to health issues, but she is eager for her players to prove themselves with the area title on the line.
“We just have to building on where we were tonight and make up for some just little mistakes that we made along the way to see if we can’t correct those,” Holloway said. “Beulah’s going to come out ready to win this championship, and we’ve got to come out ready as well.”