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Brighton guard hits two big shots giving Cardinals win over Wooddale in Munford Christmas Classic

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

BRI brighton defense BRI Butler to shoot BRI Cooper in air Bri THE BUTLER DID IT BRI White saveThe Wooddale Cardinals were the victims of a last-second shot Dec. 29 in the Munford Gymnasium during day two action of the 2014 Munford Christmas Classic.
The first suspect to come to mind on the list of Brighton Cardinals would be freshman standout Taelyr Gatlin. But he was sidelined with a knee injury for the 58-56 Brighton victory. Next on the list of possible Wooddale assassins are Terrlwayne White and Tramaine Cooper.
Despite the duo combining for 30 points in the win, it wasn’t White or Cooper who hit the game winning shot. The man who did-in the Cardinals from Memphis was Colby Butler with a little help from his partner in crime Shawn Davis.
With less than 7 seconds remaining in overtime and the game tied at 56-56, Wooddale tried to inbound the ball from at half court. Davis was able to tip the ball causing the steal. The ball ended up in the hands of Butler.
“It’s my first (game-winner) ever,” Butler said. “I knew not to do a layup because they were going to block it, that’s what I thought. I’d just missed a layup. So I pumped fake and hit the shot. It went through.”
Butler’s shot went into the net with 0.8 remaining on the clock. Wooddale’s last effort ended in a long pass intercepted by Brighton.
“They showed a lot more resolve and desire to win,” Brighton Head Coach Stan Gatlin said.  You’ve got to be efficient. That’s what we’re stressing to take care of the ball. Regardless of what’s going on, give your all. It takes 0 talent to hustle. It takes 0 talent to play hard. It takes 0 talent to coach hard. They seemed to buy into that.
“I’m proud of all the guys stepping up,” he added. “Guys who don’t play much stepping up tonight. I’m very proud of my guys, very proud.”
Brighton entered the second game of the Munford Christmas Classic trying to bounce back from a Day One 57-50 defeat to MLK Prep.
“We learn have to continue to play no matter what,” Brighton guard Cooper noted. “Even through the coaches yelling, we have to continue through and stay strong mentally and physically.”
Gatlin and stuff were doing some hollering early in the game with Brighton falling behind 11-8 after one quarter. The Wooddale duo of Christian Taylor and Ezell Smith paced the Cardinals to a 21-14 advantage late in the second quarter.
Brighton’s White scored 3 of his 11 points down the stretch of the first half to keep his Cardinals within scouting distance at 26-19.
The Cardinals of Tipton County came out of the locker room on a 14-6 run to take their first lead of the night. Cooper drained an NBA-range three-pointer to make the score 33-32. The third quarter ended deadlock at 36-36.
To start the fourth quarter Brighton’s Alex Malone hit a triple to give the Cardinals a 39-36 lead. Smith and his teammate Darius Carter made back-to-back buckets to give Wooddale a 40-39 advantage.
Over the next stretch of the fourth quarter the lead changed six times.
Taylor made a steal with less than a minute remaining in regulation leading to a layup giving Wooddale a 49-47 lead. With 19 seconds on the clock White tied the game at 49-49 with a pair of foul shots.
To start overtime Wooddale got a three-pointer from Ki’Vegon King to make the score 52-49. Brighton started to chip away at that three-point advantage with free throws from Cooper and Marquez Bond.
King made the score 54-51 with a pair of foul shots of his own. Cooper trimmed the deficit to a one with a foul shot leading to a game-high 19 points.
“I stepped up to the challenge,” Cooper said. “{I continued to play hard and I contributed in many way. I led my team.”
With the score 54-53, Taylor made another steal leading to another breakaway layup. Wooddale was ahead 56-53.
Brighton was running out of time with less than 10 seconds remaining when the ball bound the hands of Butler. The young guard launched a triple that tied the game at 56-56 with 7 seconds left.
Wooddale advance the ball to half court and called a timeout to set up a final possession. Davis interrupted the Cardinals plans deflecting the ball setting up Butler’s game-winning shot.
“Him being my best friend, it feels good,” Cooper said about Butler. “Even if he wasn’t, it’s good to see a young guy not get scared, play hard and make two big shots.”
Gatlin said the victory is a much needed boost for his Cardinals who are still trying to find an identity after the season-ending injury to his son Taelyr.
“We simply lost our identity,” Gatlin said. “I’m not saying that because he’s my son. When you lose 18 to 19 points a game, 6 steals a game, 5 or 6 rebound with 6 or 7 assists, that has to be distributed among the other players.”
District season is here and Cooper said the Cardinals will continue to progress adjusting to all the midseason changes.
“We have to continue to build and get better every game,” he concluded. “We have to play hard all the time.”

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