E.A. Sports Today

Cards appear ready for run

Boys roundup: Sacred Heart swamps Faith; Saks rolls over Piedmont, JCA wins

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

The Heart is back. Much like last year Ralph Graves took his Sacred Heart Cardinals on the road to face giants in November and December and then rolled back into Calhoun County toughened up and ready to take on Class 1A competition and the Calhoun County Tournament.

Things look much the same for this amazing team that has three sophomores and a freshman in its starting lineup. They began the same road again Thursday night as they went to Faith Christian and scored a 92-62 win that was done with tremendous full court pressure defense.

But it took a while for the Cardinals to get going. They found themselves down 17-10 late in the first quarter as Faith had home crowd roaring. Josiah McDaniel scored eight in the quarter and Ryan Crosby and Alex Taylor each hit a 3-pointer.

”We gambled a lot in the first quarter,” Graves said. “People were going after balls that they knew they could not get and then you leave guys open to drive it to the basket. Faith did a great job of doing that tonight. We are going to have to work on that in practice.”

The comeback, though, got started with a basket, a 3-pointer and a steal and a basket in the final 25 seconds of the first quarter to tie the game at 17-17.

“I thought we were the team more ready to play (at the outset), then we did what we’ve done all year long,” Faith coach Bradley Dawson said. “Our shot selection is either great or terrible and we shot ourselves out of the lead when we tried to trade baskets with them. We kind of hit them in the mouth early and then we got intimidated.”

Seven more points in the first 36 seconds of the second quarter stirred up by that defense got the “Heart” rolling and they were off and running.

“Our defense turns into a lot of offense this year for us and I was proud of the boys and the way they turned it up tonight,” Graves said.

The relentless pressure fought off a valiant effort by the Lions (13-8). Every time it looked like Faith might get something going and get back in the game, the defense would create several turnovers and D.J . Heath would race down the court and knocking home lay-ups or Kevion Nolan would deliver a dagger with a long 3.

neHeath had 34 points and six rebounds. Freshman Diante Wood dumped in 23 points with 12 rebounds and Nolan added 17 points with five 3.

The Heart is now 15-8 and things are clicking even against the smaller schools they play, even though only about 3 schools in the state are smaller than Sacred Heart.

“We try to stay away from the 1A/ 6A stuff,” Graves said. “They are going to put five players on the floor just like us. You have to play yourself and not your opponent. It does not matter who we play, we just have to play hard. I was proud of our effort tonight and we got to play a lot of kids. And it was an area win.”

“Our guys are playing pretty well right now. We are in a good rhythm. We’ve got our rotations down and are playing eight or nine guys. Our kids know what is expected of them. Tonight was our last game before the County Tournament and we’ve gotta get to work and see if we can’t win that thing.”

Last year’s run to the county finals was a great achievement and the Cardinals appear to have a better than average chance of winning that thing this year if the cards fall right.

Saks 74, Piedmont 42

Quen Williams drained seven of Saks’ 12 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 21 points. The third-ranked Wildcats placed three other scorers in double figures – Makel Taylor (13), Darion Coleman (11) and Devin Harris (11). Coleman had three 3-pointers.

Saks (16-2) plays a game of huge local interest Friday at No. 10-5A Alexandria before opening the County Tournament Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Pleasant Valley.

JCA 69, Georgia SD 32

JACKSONVILLE – The Thunder tuned up for its Calhoun County Tournament opener with a comprehensive victory. Every player scored.

Daylon Brackett led the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Kris Armprester nearly had a second double-double. Walker Messer had 14 points. Armprester had nine points and 12 rebounds. Jayden Mitchell had six points and 10 boards.

The Thunder (5-14) is seeded ninth in the County Tournament at Jacksonville State and opens against Jacksonville Saturday at 10:30 a.m.


Saks 74, Piedmont 42

PIEDMONT (13-9) — Darnell Jackson 1 2-3 4, Taylor Hayes 2 5-5 9, Tyler Lusk 3 0-0 8, Easton Kirk 1 0-0 3, Malik Gamble 1 0-0 2, Bayley Blanchard 1 4-4 6, Austin Brazier 2 0-1 5, C.J. Savage 1 1-2 3, Cody Daughtry 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 12-15.

SAKS (16-2) — Makel Taylor 5 2-2 13, Darion Coleman 4 0-0 11, Devin Harris 5 1-1 11, Quinn Smith 1 2-2 4, Jaylen Britt 1 0-0 3, Davieuntae Booker 1 2-2 4, Monty Young 1 0-0 2, Quen Williams 7 0-0 21, Quay McCord 0 0-0 0, Demetrius Powell 2 1-2 5. Totals 27 8-9 74.

Piedmont 11 13 12 6 — 42
Saks 23 23 23 5 — 74

3-point goals: Piedmont 4 (Lusk 2, Kirk, Brazier); Saks 12 (Taylor, Coleman 3, Britt, Williams 7). Total fouls: Piedmont 11, Saks 12. Officials: Bankson, Stringer, Askew.

Sacred Heart 92, Faith Christian 62

SACRED HEART (15-8) — Diante Wood 9 5-9 23, D.J. Heath12 4-7 34, Caleb Lafollette 1 0-0 3, Bradley Mayfield 0 0-0 0, Kevion Nolan 6 0-0 17, Keith Orlowski 1 0-0 2, Kavarri Ross 4 0-0 9, Norman Tucker 1 1-2 4. Totals 34 10-18 92.

FAITH CHRISTIAN — Ryan Crosby 1 0-0 3, Jordan Griswold 3 5-9, Logan Williamson 3 0-0 8, Caleb McCord 4 2-3 11, Jack Sills 2 0-3 4, Michael Kolich 1 0-0 3, Josiah McDaniel 7 4-7 19, Alex Taylor 1 0-0 3.Totals 22 11-22 62.

Sacred Heart 17 14 16 15 — 62
Faith Christian 17 24 29 22 — 92

3-point goals: Faith Christian 5 (Taylor, McDaniel, Williamson 2, Kolich); Sacred Heart 8 (Heath, Nolan 5, Lafollette, Rose). Total fouls: Sacred Heart 26; Faith Christian 15. Fouled out: Mayfield, Miller.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login