Last night at Kelly Court, the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (from the University of Alabama in Huntsville) went head-to-head against the Valdosta State University Blazers. The stakes were high, as the winner of the game would become the 2022-2023 Gulf South Coast regular-season champion. The crowd was tenser than ever, making more noise than I had ever heard them create before. VSU had the advantage going into the game, having won seven of their ten previous matches against UAH. This was offset by the Chargers’ homecourt advantage, but there was no telling if that would be enough.
Photo Cred: UAH Athletics
The first half began slowly, with each team prodding the other’s defense, searching for weaknesses. After a few minutes of back and forth, the Blazers scored the first basket of the game, landing a three-pointer. The Chargers quickly retaliated with a three-pointer of their own, and then the game fell into another lull. More points were scored on both sides, but nothing major happened until UAH called a timeout. After talking with their coaches, both teams began hard offensive pushes. Many baskets were made by both teams, but the Chargers slowly began to pull ahead of the Blazers. Several more timeouts were called by both teams as the timer ticked to halftime. However, Valdosta State could not close the lead that Alabama-Huntsville created. The first half ended with a score of 47-37, in favor of UAH.
Photo Cred: Valdosta State University Athletics
The second half began explosively, with both teams going fully on the offense, landing basket after basket on their opponents. Several fouls from the Blazers led to free throws that only served to increase the Chargers’ lead. Despite many intense and creative plays by Valdosta State, it was clear that their defense was lacking. Nearly every point VSU scored was answered by at least one point from UAH, preventing a closing of the gap. At the end of a fiercely fought battle, the score was 93-81, with the Chargers claiming the title of 2022-2023 regular season champions.
Photo Cred: WZDX