GERALDINE — The game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter when rivals Fyffe and Geraldine collided in the DeKalb County Basketball Tournament semifinals in January.
The Red Devils pulled out a 76-72 victory on their way to claiming a second straight varsity boys championship.
Wednesday night, the third-ranked Red Devils left nothing to chance when they clashed with the sixth-ranked Bulldogs in the Class 3A sub-regional playoffs at Nix Gymnasium.
Fyffe (24-6) exploded in the first quarter, racing to an 18-0 lead. The sizzling start propelled legendary head coach Neal Thrash’s team to an 80-41 victory and into the second round of the sub-regional playoffs, where it hosts Piedmont on Friday.
Geraldine finished with an outstanding 23-5 record in Jeremy Smith’s first season as head coach. Three of the losses were to Fyffe.
UAB football signee Brody Dalton scored a game-high 21 points and paced four Red Devils who reached double figures. Parker Godwin collected 14, Tate Goolesby 11 and Xavier Works 10. Micah Johnson contributed eight.
Fyffe built a 26-5 cushion at the first-quarter break. Goolesby hit two 3-pointers and Jesse Matthews and Godwin one each in the opening period.
The Red Devils’ advantage ballooned to 43-12 at intermission and 70-27 at the final rest stop.
“We started out really well,” Thrash said. “Even the second group came in and got some confidence, but everybody shoots good when you’re up a big number like that. They were all feeling free and happy.
“We did come out and play real inspired the first half. I was a little worried about that after dropping a game to Plainview the other night, but the kids played with a lot of emotion and played really hard.”
No. 2 Plainview beat Fyffe 67-57 in the 3A, Area 14 finals last Friday. Fyffe and Plainview have split their four meetings this season.
“Our kids didn’t want to go home,” Thrash said. “We went over that. There ain’t no more do-overs. You’ve either got to bend your knees and get to work right now, or we’ll be taking up uniforms, and they responded in a real positive manner.”
Kaejuan Hatley’s 13 points topped the Bulldogs. Griffin Knight and Ridge Berry tossed in eight each and Jaxon Colvin five.