Titan girls fill underdog role against Hoover


Gadsden City’s Brooke Burns drives towards the basket between Pell City’s Distini Carter, left, and Iesha Barclay in the Titans’ Class 6A, Area 14 championship game win. Burns is one of the Titans’ best 3-point shooters this season. (Photo by Sarah Dudik | Gadsden Times | File)


 

Gadsden City High School’s girls basketball team knows its role heading into Wednesday’s Northeast Regional Class 6A semifinal game against Hoover.

“We’re definitely the underdog in this game,” coach Jeremy Brooks said of his Titans (18-13). “You play a team with eight Division 1 players on a team of 12 and you’ve got your hands full.”

That just might be an understatement.

Gadsden City is unranked coming into the 9 a.m. matchup with the state’s No. 2 team at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

The Titans are an inexperienced squad of 12 that includes a seventh grader and 10th grader among its starting five, compared to Hoover (27-3), which boasts a veteran team of six juniors and six seniors.

 “Four out of their six seniors already have signed Division 1 and two of their juniors already have committed,” said Brooks, who also noted “close to half their team is at 6 foot or above.” 

Guard Chardonae Fuqua, who stands 6-foot and is a Baylor signee, is “definitely one of their best players,” Brooks said, adding that the Titans also will have to contend with the inside game of Marques Webb, who he described as a nationally top-rated junior.

Gadsden City finds itself taking on a team everyone expects to win, so the Titans have nothing to lose except the game itself.

“Our kids seem to be real excited about the challenge that’s there,” Brooks said. “They’re really fired up after our win in sub-region.”

The Titans will need to hold on to that feeling for this regional semifinal game, considering the Bucs’ 67-26 lopsided victory over Gadsden City in their final regular season game.

“They came right off the bat shooting lights out, and got us down early,” Brooks said, explaining the Titans gave the Bucs too many uncontested shots in that first matchup. “It was hard to recover.”

Indeed it was with Hoover’s bench being deep enough to send in rested players.

“They’ve not only got size, they’ve got depth,” Brooks said. “They employ a five-in, five-out routine to where they wear teams out.”

That being the case, Brooks said Gadsden City must focus  on itself moreso than Hoover.

“We just go into it trying to correct the things that we can control,” he said. “There’ll be things come up that we can control like not missing assignments, and not making unforced errors or turnovers.”

He said it amounts to breaking down the game into small segments.

“We’ve got to bring our A game,” Brooks stressed.

Doing that involves hitting open shots and not allowing the Bucs easy baskets.

“We’re coming off a few good shooting games,” Brooks said, noting the Titans sank 7 of 12 3-pointers in their win over Clay-Chalkville in the sub-regional round.

“We’re going to have to have that kind of shooting night to make it a game,” he said.

Keston Wright and Brooke Burns lead the Titans in 3-point shooting, though others have started hitting from long range, and Gadsden City needs trend to continue against Hoover.

The Titans will look to Portia Sims and Dajia Williams to generate points in the paint.

“We’ve got an inexperienced group but they’ve really grown up as the season’s gone along,” Brooks said. “I expect them to go out there and play well.”