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14U Redstone Rockets rally to capture city crown

Jul 30, 2023

Redstone’s 14-and-under basketball team has won the city championship with a thrilling comeback.

The Rockets trailed Eastern by 22 points at halftime but closed within three and committed a late foul. Eastern missed both free throws, the Rockets got the rebound and called timeout with nine seconds left. After inbounding the ball, the Rockets weren’t able to execute their planned pick-and-roll play but Terrance Taylor got the loose ball and nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.

Taylor hit another 3-pointer at the buzzer, the only points in the extra period, to lift the Rockets to a 51-48 win Feb. 20 at the Mark Russell Recreation Center in Owens Cross Roads. In the first game, Redstone beat Eastern 39-33.

“We did the same play,” Rockets coach Marcus Tolbert said of Taylor’s decisive 3-pointer. “This time it was a clean pick. He came off of the pick, squared his body up and shot the 3-pointer. It was pure like the book. Square your body up and flick your wrist.”

Tolbert had called timeout with 15 seconds left. CJ Carter inbounded the ball to Taylor who dribbled around as Carter set the pick. Taylor launched his game-winner from just inside the halfcourt line. The Redstone parents ran onto the court in jubilation.

“The crowd went crazy. Everybody was watching our game,” Tolbert said. “The people outside the gym ran in the gym. Man, it was crazy. I had to dig into my Phil Jackson bag of tricks. They stormed the floor. It was like one of MJ’s greatest. From coach-wise, it was MJ, not LeBron. It was MJ.”

Shooting guard Christian Marrero led Redstone in the first game.

“In the first game, he was the big crutch everybody could lean on,” Tolbert said. “He was scoring unconsciously. The second game was a whole team effort. Everybody played a part.”

The Rockets improved to 12-0 entering last Saturday’s district tournament at the Wills Valley Recreation Center in Fort Payne. They finished second in the district with a win over Eastern and a loss to Madison County. The Rockets are 13-1 entering the state tournament in Birmingham. “Trying to be the first Redstone team to win state,” Tolbert said.

Redstone scoring leaders include Taylor, Marrero, AJ Wilson and Javian Richardson, who average nine points apiece. Richardson averages seven rebounds. The Rockets also include Carter, Marvon Hardy, Truman Roberts, Dennis Kunka, Michael Trantham and Conrad Davidson.

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