It’s the right time of the season for that.
Behind senior guard Deshawn Moore’s 32 points and 11 rebounds, the third-ranked Panthers ran away with a 65-45 victory that puts them firmly in the driver’s seat to host the upcoming Area 10 tournament.
“We’ve still got two more (area) games to go,” Tidmore said. “I would say three teams (Collinsville, Cedar Bluff and Spring Garden) have set out to try and stay away from that 2-3 game. Those are three such good teams, and that’s a go home game. If we can stay out of that, it would be huge. We’ve been in it the last couple of years, and it’s not a pleasant game. Hopefully we can finish that.”
Speaking of finishing, Tidmore felt Moore had a little something to prove to himself following the Panthers’ 71-65 double-overtime loss to Class 4A, No. 8 Hokes Bluff on Saturday.
After finishing that game with 15 points, Moore scored 11 in the first quarter for the Panthers (15-2, 6-0) against Cedar Bluff (9-7, 3-3). He had 19 points at halftime.
“He felt like he had a little bit of an off game against Hokes Bluff,” Tidmore said. “Anytime he does that, he’s not necessarily wanting to prove anything to anybody else, he wants to prove to himself he can go back out and play and pick his team up. That’s what he did tonight.”
Cedar Bluff senior forward DeAngelo Hardy, who scored 14 points for the Tigers, said Moore was “just in the zone tonight.”
“I’ve got to give him credit,” said Hardy, who also had three rebounds and two blocked shots. “We’ve got to get ready for the rest of the season and put this game behind us.”
Collinsville jumped out to a 22-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter and built a 37-18 halftime lead. The Panthers didn’t let off the throttle in the third, cruising to a 54-29 lead heading into the final quarter.
Davey Posey added 16 points and nine boards for the Panthers. Daniel Bradford had eight points and David Hernandez contributed seven points and five rebounds.
Terrence Scales matched Hardy’s 14 points for Cedar Bluff. Scales also came away with four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. D’Shawn Fife finished with six points and five boards.
But the night belonged to the Panthers.
“Collinsville’s No. 3 in the state for a reason,” Cedar Bluff coach Joe Carpenter said. “At this point of the season, I don’t think we’ve played a better team than they are. I can say it would not surprise me for them to make a run at the Final 4. They are playing well together. Coach Tidmore’s done an outstanding job with them. They pass the ball well. They shoot the ball well. They play great defense. They blitzkrieged us tonight. They took it to us.”
Cedar Bluff girls 44, Collinsville girls 33
CEDAR BLUFF – Free-throw shooting has been a major point of emphasis lately for the Cedar Bluff Lady Tigers. It proved to be a big difference Tuesday at home against Class 1A, Area 10 rival Collinsville down the stretch.
Cedar Bluff connected on all five of its shots from the charity stripe with less than a minute to go in the game, four of which come from Lexi Moten, as the Lady Tigers held on for a 44-33 victory.
Cedar Bluff (9-8, 4-2) only connected on half their shots from the line (15 of 30) for the game, but made them in the crucial situations.
“We’ve really emphasized that coming off the break,” Carpenter said. “We’re still not where we want to be, but it seemed to pay off for us tonight. I think Audrey (Hargitt), Lexi, Hannah (Leach) and Delilah (Price) stepped up at the end of the game. They sank them under pressure. Hopefully that will help us. It seemed to work out for us tonight.”
Cedar Bluff jumped out to a fast start, taking a 13-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Collinsville (12-4, 4-2) managed to cut its deficit to three points at 19-16 at halftime and stayed within striking distance at the end of three quarters, trailing 28-23.
Cedar Bluff stretched its advantage to 30-23 after Hargitt connected on the front end of two free throws with 5:10 to go, but Collinsville rallied to take a 32-30 lead on a bucket by Savannah Boyles with 3:13 left in the game.
Boyles was also fouled by Cedar Bluff’s Katie McGinnis on the play, but missed her ensuing free throw. Boyles finished with 10 points.
Cedar Bluff closed out the game on a 14-1 run, including 10 points from the line.
“We worked hard on what we ran against them tonight, and it paid off,” Carpenter said. “They played their hearts out tonight.”
Hargitt posted 17 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Lady Tigers. Leach added eight points and eight boards. McGinnis, who fouled out of the game, contributed seven points and four steals. Moten finished with six points.
Cox added 10 points for Collinsville. Kiana Ford finished with seven points.
“I give credit to Cedar Bluff,” Tidmore said. “They played the way they needed to play and did what they needed to do. It just didn’t seem like we weren’t in it until late, and then it was kind of too late. We got good shots late, but we were really already out of rhythm. Hopefully they’ll learn from this and want to finish up strong. We’re in a good situation at 12-4, but I hope it’s one of those lulls we can get out of.”