E.A. Sports Today

White Plains 4A-11 champs

Fast start, McGuirk help Wildcats topple Saks 65-52; includes county subregional matchups

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

Michael McGuirk set the tone early with 18 first-half points and sparked seventh-ranked White Plains to a decisive 65-52 win over third-ranked Saks to win the Class 4A Area 11 championship Saturday.

White Plains now plays Hokes Bluff at home in the Northeast subregional Monday. Saks travels to No. 2 ranked Cherokee County. The winners move on to Jacksonville State.

White Plains (23-6) came out with much more intensity and fire and had a huge road crowd on hand to spur it on. McGuirk fed off that to connect three 3-pointers, four other field goals and a free throw in the first half.

Meanwhile, the White Plains defense was playing extremely hard and controlled the boards against the taller Saks team en route to a 30-19 halftime lead.

“What can you say about McGuirk’s 18-point first half?” White Plains coach Chris Randall said. “It really got us going.”

Saks (22-4) picked up its level of play in the third quarter as Makel Taylor hit two buckets and Quen Williams buried a 3 to chop the lead to 36-31. The 3 was the normally high-scoring Williams’ only basket of the game; he was held to just six points. Saks had only four 3-pointers as a team; it had 15 in a semifinal victory over Cleburne County Thursday.

White Plains guard Jerod Guthrie then took over with a couple of baskets and Kevin Carr had a huge basket to keep Saks at bay. Lawrence Jackson finished the seven-point run that extended the White Plains lead to 43-31 at the end of the third quarter.

“Jackson had a big game for us the whole night and Carr came up with some big plays for us when we needed it — especially in key parts of the game,” Randall said.

Saks got within eight a couple of times in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer as White Plains closed it out to avenge two regular-season losses.

McGuirk finished with the 18 points he scored in the first half and led White Plains in scoring, while grabbing five rebounds. Jackson had 10 points – eight in the fourth quarter — and eight rebounds. Guthrie ended up with 11 points and Nathan Gilbert had nine rebounds to go with his six points.

“Guthrie did a great job for us running the offense and handling their press,” Randall said. “It was just a great win for us. It was not anything we did in our game plan, but a lot of it was Saks not hitting the shots they normally hit. They are a great basketball team and we just kept doing what we have been doing against them all year.”

Guthrie, McGuirk, Gilbert and Carr made the all-tournament team for White Plains. Darion Coleman, Monty Young and Williams did likewise for Saks.

Coleman had 10 fourth-quarter points and 17 points in total for the game. Young had 11 points and six rebounds for Saks

White Plains 65, Saks 52

WHITE PLAINS (23-6) — Jerod Guthrie 4 5-6 14, Dillon Greenwood 0 0-0 0, Kevin Carr 2 2-4 7, Eli Hightower 2 0-0 4, Michael McGuirk 7 1-4 18, Lawrence Jackson 5 0-0 10, Nathan Gilbert 3 0-0 6, Murphy Doss 2 2-2 6. Totals 25 10-16 65.

SAKS (22-4) — Makel Taylor 3 1-1 7, Darion Coleman 4 7-7 17, Devin Harris 3 0-0 7, Jalen Britt 1 0-0 2, Davieuntae Booker 0 0-0 0, Monty Young 4 3-4 11, Quen Williams 1 3-4 6, Demetrius Powell 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 14-16 52.

White Plains 15 15 13 22 — 65
Saks 7 12 12 21 — 52

3-point goals: White Plains 5 (Guthrie, Carr, McGuirk 3). Saks 4 (Coleman 2, Harris, Williams). Total fouls:White Plains 13, Saks 15.

Calhoun County teams in Northeast subregional
(All games Tuesday)

Class 1A
Winterboro at Sacred Heart

Class 3A
Ohatchee at Piedmont
Weaver at Westbrook Christian

Class 4A
Saks at Cherokee County
Hokes Bluff at White Plains

Class 5A
Springville at Anniston
Alexandria at Mortimer Jordan

Class 6A
Oxford at Scottsboro

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