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Sumter County surges to win over Litchfield

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
March 4, 2004
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Sumter County unraveled Litchfield's slender hold on the two squads' 3A boys semifinal basketball contest midway through the third quarter on Wednesday.
The Wildcats tallied six points off three straight Eagles turnovers to take a 42-38 lead with 4:11 to play in the third.
Sumter County (30-2) didn't relinquish the lead the rest of the way and earned a 77-58 win over Litchfield (24-9) in the AHSAA State Finals at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
Reaynundo Sturdivant tallied 16 points for Sumter County, and Jamie Sturdivant added 10 points and snagged 10 rebounds in the win.
After finishing the third quarter with a 50-44 lead, Sumter County pushed its lead to 62-52 with 3:41 left in the game.
Reaynundo Sturdivant tallied the last four points in the fourth quarter's opening stretch, forcing Litchfield coach Reginald Huff to call a timeout.
The break didn't help the Eagles, as the Wildcats went on a 10-3 run to take a 72-55 lead with 1:18 left to play.
Litchfield's Reginal Bishop scored a team-high 18 points, and John Jones added 12.
Ladonte Harris, the Eagles' leading scorer, was held to seven points in the loss.
Sumter County's performance in the second half erased the memories of a first half plagued with ball control issues.
The Wildcats committed nine turnovers in the game's opening 16 minutes, leading to 14 points for the Eagles.
Litchfield also took advantage of free shots it received from Sumter County. The Eagles knocked down 7-of-8 free throws in the first half, while the Wildcats went 5-for-8 at the line.
While the Wildcats struggled with ball control and free throw shooting at the start of the contest, they dominated the Eagles on the glass throughout the game. Sumter County grabbed 36 rebounds to Litchfield's 27.
The Wildcats also scored 20 second-chance points to the Eagles' eight.
Sumter County will take on Montgomery Academy in the boys Class 3A championship game at 8 p.m. Friday.
Montgomery Academy (24-6) advanced to the finals with a 67-54 win over Sulligent (28-3) on Wednesday.