E.A. Sports Today

Wildcats come alive

White Plains uses big fourth quarter to take down Piedmont

Chris Randall watches the action unfold during Wednesday's County Tournament game with Piedmont. (Photo by Chad Barnett)

Chris Randall watches the action unfold during Wednesday’s County Tournament game with Piedmont. (Photo by Chad Barnett)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — After playing three quarters a lot tighter than it wanted to be, second-seeded White Plains erupted for a big fourth quarter and pulled away from Piedmont 67-45 in the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament Wednesday night.

It wasn’t a 20-point game going into the fourth quarter. The teams were locked in a 41-41 tie, and then the Wildcats (20-4) came to life.

They scored the first 10 points in the fourth quarter. Piedmont (15-10) broke the string with a 3-pointer by Taylor Hayes from the corner, but then the Wildcats scored another 14 in a row.

Murphy Doss got it started. The senior post took his coach’s advice and started being more assertive. He forced his way to the basket, got fouled twice and made three of four free throws to open the quarter. He scored another bucket later in the run before Piedmont scored for the first time in the quarter.

“Coach had just talked to us and he really got onto me and I took a lot of it in and I came back out and let him have it,” Doss said. “He just said I wasn’t playing good and wasn’t giving anything and I wanted to show and tell him I can give something.”

And it ignited everyone in the fourth quarter. Before it ended, White Plains had outscored the Bulldogs 26-4; Doss had five, Michael McGuirk and Jerod Guthrie had six each.

Guthrie led the Wildcats with 24 points (five 3-pointers). Nathan Gilbert had 17 and Doss had 11.

“We had more of a sense of urgency,” Gilbert said. “Not that we didn’t have it before, but we realized we had to step it up a lot more if we wanted to win this thing.”

Randall said there was another emotion involved.

“We played with no fear in the fourth,” he said. “We were a little more aggressive and basketball favors the more aggressive team.”

For the Bulldogs, once White Plains started pulling away things just snowballed. That’s been typical of their games against the Wildcats, only those separations came in the second quarter.

“We have a little problem when we get a little bit of separation sometimes we get frustrated and try to over-do,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said. “It’s not a lack of hustle; each guy tries to sort of do a little too much. It’s bad technical basketball, but it comes from a good place in trying to do well and not wanting to lose.”

Hayes led Piedmont with 15 points. Tyler Lusk added 10.

The Wildcats now play Sacred Heart Friday for a spot in Saturday’s title game. They haven’t been to a County Tournament final since 1974, when they lost to Piedmont in the “Little Six” final.

White Plains 67, Piedmont 45

PIEDMONT (15-10) — Darnell Jackson 3 0-0 6, Taylor Hayes 4 6-8 15, Tyler Lusk 3 2-2 10, Easton Kirk 0 0-0 0, Cardavion Myers 0 0-2 0, Bayley Blanchard 3 2-5 9, Austin Brazier 1 1-2 3, Neonta Alexander 0 0-0 0, C.J. Savage 0 1-2 1. Totals 14 12-21 45.

WHITE PLAINS (20-4) — Jerod Guthrie 8 3-4 24, Dillon Greenwood 1 0-0 2, Jake Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Kevin Carr 1 0-0 3, Eli Hightower 0 0-0 0, Michael McGuirk 2 2-2 6, Jackson Guthrie 1 0-0 2, Quez Wyatt 1 0-0 2, Lawrence Jackson 0 0-0 0, Nathan Gilbert 8 1-1 17, Murphy Doss 4 3-6 11, Brett Beaver 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 9-13 67.

Piedmont 14 10 17 4 — 45
White Plains 21 9 11 26 — 67

3-point goals: Piedmont 4 (Hayes, Lusk 2, Blanchard); White Plains 6 (Je. Guthrie 5, Carr). Total fouls: Piedmont 15, White Plains 17. Technical fouls: Lusk, Blanchard, Guthrie. Officials: Collins, Ortiz, Batey.

White Plains' Nathan Gilbert (24) and Michael McGuirk converge on Piedmont's Austin Brazier Wednesday. (Photo by Chad Barnett)

White Plains’ Nathan Gilbert (24) and Michael McGuirk converge on Piedmont’s Austin Brazier Wednesday. (Photo by Chad Barnett)

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