E.A. Sports Today

All guts, all glory

UPDATED: MVP Adams plays through ankle injury to help Conecuh Springs win second straight ACAA Division II title

The Conecuh Springs bench erupts after clinching its second straight state championship Saturday. (Photo by PrimeTimePrepz)

The Conecuh Springs bench erupts after clinching its second straight state championship Saturday. (Photo by PrimeTimePrepz)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — It was six hours before the start of the biggest game of the year — and his final game as a high school basketball player — and Joseph Adams was sitting in a doctor’s office in Gadsden fearing the worst.

He already was playing on one bad ankle and rolled the other so severely the day before Conecuh Springs coach Kelly Putnam was preparing his team in the morning to play without him.

The doctor told Adams the latest injury was only a deep-tissue sprain, but recommended he not play. When the senior heard ‘sprain’ nothing was going to keep him out of the game.

In one the gutsiest performances Putnam had seen from a player, Adams not only played, he scored a double-double and won MVP honors as the Eagles beat Mountain View Baptist 64-57 for their second straight Alabama Christian Schools Division II boys state championship.

Adams wasn’t even the leading scorer in the game — that was teammate Khalil Perry (24) — but his courage and poise went a long way toward getting him votes. Adams had 14 points and 13 rebounds on two bad wheels.

“He’s got guts,” Putnam said. “That’s why he’s MVP, because he gutted it out when it mattered most for his team and his school.

“The numbers might not have been there and support it, but the defense he gave us and the rebounding and his play in the middle was the difference in this game. He really stepped up for his school and his teammates and his classmates. It’s the last basketball game he’ll ever play and he can say he’s going out (a champion).”

Adams turned his right ankle in the second quarter of the Eagles’ Final Four win over Cullman Christian on Friday. He already was playing on a bad left ankle he rolled last week in practice and again five days ago.

They all thought it was broken, but tests showed otherwise. Still, the ankle was so swollen if you rolled down his red socks you wouldn’t be able to see the bone.

“I was planning on trying to play through it anyway, but I’m just glad it wasn’t broken and the coach let me play,” Adams said.

He got the trainers to wrap it “good and tight” and went at it in a game that was vice-tight until the final five minutes when Mountain View went cold. Adams said he didn’t feel any discomfort while playing, but when he sat down at halftime it started to hurt.

“The only juice I got was adrenaline,” he said.

The game was tied at 51 with five minutes to play then Mountain View lost its touch. It missed 12 shots in a row from the field and scored only two points until Hunter Williams broke the drought with 38 seconds left in the game. By then, Conecuh Springs had an eight-point lead.

“It hurts that we didn’t make those baskets but I think we just kind of ran out (of energy) there at the end,” Mountain View coach Matt Bookout said.

Williams fell into foul trouble early in the game, but sophomore Daniel Rothe kept Mountain View in it in the first half with 13 second-quarter points. Rothe has a way of getting the Eagles out of a tight spot. Last year in a sub-state game he filled in for an injured point guard and scored the first 16 points of the game.

“He’s always been a good player for us in the past,” Bookout said. “There’s a lot of hope for him here in the future only being a sophomore, but he really gave us a boost there.”

While Mountain View was struggling to get something to fall, Perry was helping the Eagles pull away. He “kept my head in the game” and scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter, 20 in the second half. He made the all-tournament team along with Adams, Mountain View’s Williams and Drew Turner, Cullman’s Will Siegenthaler and Cornerstone’s Christian Lewis.

“I thought Khalil really deserved it (the MVP) because he plays so hard and he dribbles unbelievably well compared to any of us,” Adams said.

And he has two healthy wheels, too.

“His ankles have never been great,” Adams said, “but they’re better than mine at the moment.”

Conecuh Springs 64, Mountain View 57

CONECUH SPRINGS (16-6) – Khalil Perry 9 6-12 24, Jakobi Office 4 4-8 12, Toan Doan 0 1-4 1, Joseph Adams 4 6-12 14, DeAnthony Hampton 2 0-0 6, Wil Thornton 1 5-6 7. Totals 20 22-38 64.

MOUNTAIN VIEW (13-3) – Brett Turner 5 0-0 12, Brock Williams 3 0-0 6, Josh Brown 0 0-0 0, Josh Niega 0 1-2 1, Drew Turner 2 0-0 5, Daniel Rothe 4 4-6 14, Blake Smith 0 0-0 0, Hunter Williams 8 1-3 17, Mark Walker 0 0-0 0, Shane Brockman 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 6-11 57.

Conecuh Springs 13 16 14 21 — 64
Mountain View 13 16 15 13 — 57

3-point goals: Mountain View 5 (B. Turner 2, D. Turner, Rothe 2); Conecuh Springs 2 (Hampton 2). Total fouls: Mountain View 24, Conecuh Springs 12. Fouled out: B. Williams, D. Turner, Rothe, H. Williams. Technical fouls: Mountain View coach Bookout, Perry, B. Williams. Officials: Caldwell, Douthit, Smith.

Conecuh Springs senior Khalil Perry (0) drives the lane between two Mountain View defenders. (Photo by PrimeTimePrepz)

Conecuh Springs senior Khalil Perry (0) drives the lane between two Mountain View defenders. (Photo by PrimeTimePrepz)

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