E.A. Sports Today

Light it up

Saks strikes from 3-point range to take down Volunteers, reach Cleburne finals

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN – Ask any basketball coach if they enjoy watching their players shoot and he’ll likely answer he likes to see them make.

Saks coach Jonathan Miller has had a front-row seat at the shooting gallery that has been his offense this season and it has been a pretty good show.

The Wildcats drained 11 3-pointers Tuesday in a 58-42 win over Central-Clay County for a spot in Wednesday’s Cleburne County Holiday Invitational championship game opposite host Cleburne County.

At one point, the No. 4-4A Wildcats had more points on 3s than the Volunteers had in the game.

“We’ve got to make some 3s to be successful,” Miller said. “Every game now we’re going to have to knock down some shots from behind the arc – that’s just as part of what we are, our players and what they do best.

“I don’t know if we make 10 a game, but usually in games where we score some points we’re going to hit close to 10. The way we are this year, we’re going to probably shoot a lot of them and hopefully we’ll make a lot of them, but that’s just kind of the way our team is structured.”

Quen Williams had five 3-pointers to build his 17-point game. Darion Coleman, feeling his old role as shooting guard, had four and finished with 14 points. Devin Harris and Jaylen Britt had the other two.

“It’s just when we get open and find the shot, (the 3) is just the first shot that comes,” Coleman said. “We just try to work the ball around and that’s the first shot that comes. It’s real fun when it goes; it stretches the lead so fast.”

The Wildcats had nine field goals in the first half; seven were from 3-point range. Four of their first five buckets in the second quarter were from beyond the arc to turn an 11-8 deficit into a 22-13 lead.

JoJo Staples helped Central-Clay forge its early lead with seven in the first quarter. He led all scorers with 20 points.

The Wildcats didn’t leave their shooting touch in the dressing room at halftime. They added three more 3s in the third quarter – two by Williams — when they pushed the lead to 47-29.

“I think in the second quarter we shot it better; the first quarter we couldn’t really make one,” Miller said. “That’s the way it is when you depend on outside shots sometimes you’re going to be off and you’re going to go through stretches where you don’t score.”

Saks 58, Central-Clay County 42

SAKS – Makel Taylor 0 1-4 1, Darion Coleman 4 2-2 14, Devin Harris 2 0-0 5, Quin Smith 0 0-1 0, Jaylen Britt 2 0-0 5, Davieunte Booker 0 0-0 0, Monty Young 4 3-6 11, Quen Williams 6 0-0 17, Quay McCord 0 0-0 0, Demetrius Powell 1 3-4 5. Totals 19 9-17 58.

CENTRAL-CLAY COUNTY – Davyn Flenord 0 0-0 0, Spencer Loveless 0 0-0 0, Jaylon Lyles 0 0-0 0, J.T. Burns 1 0-2 2, D.J. Ford 2 1-2 5, Tyler Smith 1 2-3 5, JoJo Staples 8 1-3 20, Dustin Hardy 1 0-0 2, Dawson Taylor 4 0-1 8. Totals 17 4-11 42.

Saks 8 23 16 11 — 58
Central-Clay 11 6 12 13 — 42

3-point goals: Saks 11 (Coleman 4, Harris, Britt, Williams 5); Central-Clay 4 (Smith, Staples 3). Total fouls: Saks 14, Central-Clay 17.

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