E.A. Sports Today

Wildcats get tough draw

Boys roundup: On a tough night for the locals, Alexandria wins big again, vote in boys tournament poll

By East Alabama Sports Today

FREEPORT, Fla. — The White Plains basketball team may have headed to the Emerald Coast for the holidays, but the second-ranked Wildcats found it no day at the beach in their opening-round game of the Sandestin Beach Blowout Saturday night.

They started slowly against a quality opponent and trailed by 20 in the fourth quarter, but nearly came all the way back before falling to undefeated Paxton (Fla.), 59-54.

“We only scored 12 points in the first half and couldn’t make anything,” Wildcats coach Chris Randall said. “We were getting the ball inside and getting to the free throw line, but just not finishing.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to their defense, but we just didn’t finish a shot. I felt they were just a little bit tougher than us.”

The Wildcats (11-3) showed some toughness in the fourth quarter, shaving a 21-point deficit to what ended up being five.

Eli Hightower sparked the rally, hitting four 3-pointers in the quarter for all 12 of his points. Nathan Gilbert led the Wildcats with 13, while Kevin Carr had 10.

Zach Barnum and Grant Stewart led Paxton with 24 and 21, respectively. Stewart hit three 3s in the third quarter to help the Bobcats (12-0) build their big lead.

“We expected a fight and we got one,” Randall said. “We had our hands full.”

Carr made it an eight-point game with a put-back with 1:11 left. A 3-pointer by Michael McGuirk from the left wing made it 57-52 with 19.4 seconds to go, but the Wildcats couldn’t get closer.

The Bobcats extended their lead with two free throws and McGuirk hit a bucket at the buzzer for the final margin.

“It was just too little, too late,” Randall said. “I thought we played hard, we just didn’t play good.”

The Wildcats now play Buckhorn (Ky.) Monday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WTDR-92.7 FM.

Alexandria 68, Oneonta 33

GLENCOE – Coach Jason Johnson was a little concerned about the way his Valley Cubs would return after an emotional victory in their last outing, but they had little trouble in the Glencoe Round Robin.

They opened a 17-5 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 38-16 at the half.

Alton Davis scored 15 points and Riley Shaw had 10. Tyrelle Gay scored seven points, but had a team season-high eight steals.

“After coming off an emotional game against Saks in Gadsden I was afraid we’d have a little bit of a letdown,” Johnson said, “but our guys have responded by playing hard … every game. I’m hoping that’s becoming a habit – they’re going to play hard no matter who they play or what the score is.”

The Valley Cubs play Ragland Monday at 3 p.m. and Glencoe on Tuesday.

Carver-Montgomery 61, Sacred Heart 38

MONTGOMERY – In a battle of second-ranked teams, the Cardinals gave their hosts all they could handle in the first half, then left something in the dressing room and lost in the second round of the Dwight Madison Classic.

The 1A Cardinals held 6A Carver to single digits in each of the first two quarters, but they returned for the second half and “just laid an egg,” coach Ralph Graves said. They turned it over, gave up a couple run-outs, fell victim to a few 3-pointers and were beaten on the boards by a taller opponent.

Kevion Nolan and Diante Wood each scored 14 for Sacred Heart.

The Cardinals (9-8) return Monday at 3 to play Grady of Atlanta.

Central-Clay Co. 67, Faith Christian 58

HEFLIN – Faith Christian came out slowly at the start of each half and got away from some of its defensive principals in dropping its opener in the Cleburne County Holiday Invitational.

Jodarius Staples led three Volunteers scorers in double figures with 19 points; he had 17 in the second half. Davyn Flenord had 16 and Dustin Hardy added 13.

Logan Williamson led Faith with 14 points and Jordan Griswald had 13.

The Lions cut an 11-point first-quarter deficit to four at halftime and had a chance to get it to two, but missed two free throws. They did get within six in the fourth quarter, but no closer.

“Overall our energy wasn’t very good and the defensive effort was lackluster,” Faith coach Bradley Dawson said. “We started out real flat and … we didn’t start playing defense until less than four minutes to go in the second quarter. Until we decide we want to play defense every possession, we won’t be very consistent.”

Cleburne County 56, Ohatchee 48

HEFLIN – Jacob Lee and Stashun Henson keyed a second-half surge that carried the Tigers to their second win of the season.

Ohatchee led at the half, but the Tigers came to life after halftime. Lee scored 16 points and Henson added 13. Micah Lee led Ohatchee with 16 points with Brian Jennings adding 11.

Albertville 44, Cherokee County 42

ALBERTVILLE – The top-ranked Warriors carried a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and led by five with less than three minutes to play, but couldn’t hold it and suffered their first loss of the season in the Albertville Civitan Christmas Tournament.

Seven straight points by Quartez Henderson gave Cherokee County a 42-37 lead – matching the biggest lead of the game — but they would be the last points the Warriors (13-1) would score.

Sam Renfroe put the Aggies, the two-time defending tournament champions, in front for good 43-42. Ivan Curtis added to lead with a free throw with 25 seconds left. The Warriors had a chance to reclaim the lead, but Henderson’s 3-pointer inside four seconds fell short.

Joel Wester and Henderson led Cherokee County with a game-high 19 and 18 points, respectively. Sam Renfroe led Albertville (12-3) with 13 points, eight in the fourth quarter.

Albertville plays St. John Paul II in a semifinal Monday. Cherokee County plays Arab at 2:30 p.m.


Central-Clay Co. 67, Faith Christian 58

FAITH CHRISTIAN (9-6) — Ryan Crosby 0 1-2 1, Jordan Griswald 3 7-11 13, Jameson Adams 0 0-0 0, Logan Williamson 5 2-3 14, Stephen McCord 3 2-5 8, Jack Sills 1 0-0 2, Josiah McDaniel 3 3-7 9, Alex Taylor 3 4-6 11. Totals 18 19-34 58.

CENTRAL-CLAY COUNTY — Davyn Flenord 5 5-6 16, Spencer Loveless 0 0-0 0, Jaylon Lyles 2 2-4 6, J.T. Burns 2 0-2 6, D.J. Ford 2 0-2 4, Tyler Smith 2 0-2 4, Dustin Hardy 4 5-6 13, Dawson Taylor 2 1-2 5, Jodarius Staples 6 5-8 19. Totals 22 18-32 67.

Faith Christian 7 21 11 19 — 58
Central-Clay Co. 18 14 16 19 — 67

3-point goals: Faith Christian 3 (Williamson 2, Taylor); Central-Clay (Staples 2, Burns 2, Lenard). Total fouls: Faith Christian 23, Central-Clay 24. Fouled out: Crosby, McCord.

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