There are several teams in Region 7-AA aiming for the top two spots that would get them a bye to the state tournament, and on Friday night, the Coosa Eagles got one step closer.
The Eagles pushed past Model, 67-58, in a tight game on the road, improving to 7-4 in 7-AA while Model dropped the 7-5.
With a chance to bypass the upcoming region tournament on the line, this game came with heavy postseason implications, a fact that Coosa coach John McFather took to heart.
“(This win) was extremely important,” he said. “Every win is important, but we’re fighting for a big goal, and we’d love to finish first or second in the regular season because of what that means, but more importantly than that, is that we’re trying to build momentum going into the tournament.
“When you come on the road and get a region win, that’s extremely important, especially against Model who is a very good team, and they’ve been playing well lately as well.”
With such equally-matched up teams, the game featured momentum swings in both directions.
The first quarter showed high energy offense and ended with Model having a close 18-17 edge over the Eagles.
In the second quarter, however, the Devils made sure to take control and widen that lead by holding Coosa to seven points and posting 13 of their own.
With the Devils in the lead at 31-24 going into the third quarter, the Eagles came out ready to play catch-up.
Coosa erased the Model lead quickly by starting the second half off with a 9-0 scoring run that put them in the lead.
The Eagles continued to seize control in the third quarter and outscored the Blue Devils 24-11, making the Model lead history for the rest of the game.
Coosa outscored the Devils 19-16 in the fourth quarter to secure the win, continuing the momentum built off of defeating 7-AA leader Calhoun in overtime on Tuesday.
The game’s leading scorer was Coosa’s Isaac Bradley with 22 points, Corley Grier followed for Coosa with 20 points, and Christian McFather posted 13, including three 3-pointers.
Model’s VJ Saxton scored 21 points on the night and Davy Fisher finished with 18.
With such high scorers on the board, defense was a key component in the crosstown matchup.
“I think we’re playing a lot better team defense. Tonight, we played really good team defense, as well as we did against Calhoun, and it takes that against really good teams.”
The Eagle victory was emphasized by the fact that the Devils defeated the Eagles by 21 points the last time these crosstown foes met up.
“We’ve matured some as a team,” said McFather “Our young guys have matured.
“Some of my players are healthier now. We had two or three key injuries, and all three of them are feeling much better, and they’re healing.”
Coosa, which now holds a share of second place in 7-AA along with Dade County, travels to face the Wolverines today at 4:30.
Model will face the Calhoun on Tuesday.