The Tallassee Tigers entered the 2019-2020 season with an abundance of experience and dreams of making some noise in Class 5A. Thanks to the excellent play of junior point guard Jamicah Humphrey, the Tigers turned that great potential into tangible results.
Humphrey was the lead man on a Tigers team that had multiple players stand up and shine throughout a historic season for Tallassee. Not only did Humphrey and his teammates help set a new program record with 27 victories, but the squad captured an area tournament title and reached the Southeast Regional semifinals.
At season’s end, Humphrey had a team-high 14.6 points per game as well as 4.4 assists in addition to 70 successful 3-pointers.Thanks to his excellent play, he has been selected as the Opelika-Auburn News’ Large School Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“It was about getting my teammates involved and moving the ball,” Humphrey said. “We moved the ball and just got the defenses tired. We did a good job of that, and we got far with it.”
Humphrey and his teammates were coming off a 21-win season that ended in the first round of the state playoffs, but the group — which featured six seniors — were hungry for something bigger. Before too long, they showed they were fully capable of more.
With Humphrey leading the way, Tallassee ripped off eight-straight wins to start the season then bounced back after losing two of its next three by winning 16 of the next 18 games. Those losses weren’t really setbacks, either, as a six-point loss to Carver-Montgomery was the team’s largest defeat of the stretch.
As well as Humphrey played throughout the year, he pointed to the success of his teammates as being a crucial part of his own game. Whether it was Tyrek Turner, Tavarious “Truck” Griffin, Tae Collins, Jalyn Daniels or someone else out on the floor, Humphrey knew he had a teammate who could make a play if the opposing defense had decided to put more pressure on him.
“(Our opponents) started taking me out, so my teammates had to step up. They did,” Humphrey said. “Tae, Jalyn, Truck, all of them stepped up a lot.”
Humphrey’s heroics continued for Tallassee into the area tournament, as the Tigers topped Beauregard and Brewbaker Tech to ride an eight-game winning streak into the state tournament. The Tigers played two tight games in the playoffs, beating Charles Henderson 55-53 in the subregional round before falling to Sylacauga 54-52 in the regional semis.
The loss offered a disappointing ending for Humphrey, but his goal is to not let the close to his junior year go to waste. He said he plans to improve his skills with his left hand and to become a more skilled passer before next season.
Humphrey was the driving force on a talented Tallassee team that wasted no time in becoming one of Class 5A’s toughest teams. The Tigers will have quite the challenge in accomplishing even more after losing so many important players, but Humphrey’s return means anything is possible.
“I’m very hungry,” Humphrey said. “We can’t let nobody stop us next year. We’ve got to get it my senior year.”