E.A. Sports Today

Saks wins battle, J’ville wins the war

Lady Wildcats take four-set victory from Jacksonville, but Golden Eagles earn area’s top seed on third tiebreaker

Special to East Alabama Sports Today

Saks won the battle, but Jacksonville won the war.

The Saks Wildcats came to play Thursday night and stormed past Jacksonville 3-1 to clinch a tie with the Golden Eagles for the Class 4A, Area 11 regular season championship.

However, a third-set 25-13 victory by Jacksonville gave the Golden Eagles enough points to win the tiebreaker to host the area tournament.

The game scores from Saks’ victory were 25-21, 25-19, 13-25, 25-22. Jacksonville won the first area match 26-24, 25-20, 20-25, 28-26.

Saks’ win in the Sandy Hunter Invitational at Pleasant Valley doesn’t count towards the tiebreaker, so the matches were tied 1-1 and the sets were tied 4-4, so it came down to the third tie-breaker — points scored. Jacksonville outscored Saks 186-183.

“I think that third set did us in as far as hosting the area tournament, but I am so proud of our kids and the way we played tonight,” Saks coach Randy Law said. “Jacksonville is such a good team and our kids just kept battling all night long. I really love these guys. They play hard.”

The Lady Wildcats (25-3), ranked No. 3 in Class 4A in the latest statewide prep poll started out slowly in all every set, despite winning three of them.

They were down 8-6 in the first before reeling off nine straight points under the serves of Baylee Snider. Jordan Briskey buried seven kills in the set, with two coming in the run.

The Golden Eagles (17-7), ranked fifth in the 4A poll, cut the lead to 23-20 with Aniyah Robinson and Sarah Lumpkin making plays at the net, but they couldn’t overcome the inspired play of Briskey and Snider.

Jacksonville took a 13-8 lead in the second set before Saks went on a 12-2 overtake the lead. Tayler Teague had three kills and an ace in that run and Briskey had five more kills in the second.

Saks came out flat in the third set and Robinson took control with inspired play. She served all the points and had two aces as Jacksonville surged to a 6-0 lead. Halee Holtbrooks served three aces as the lead surged to 11-2. The Golden Eagles scored the final three points to close out the set.

Robinson had 12 kills in the match for Jacksonville. Lumpkin had 8 kills and Sierra Stone had six.

Jacksonville started out strong in the fourth set, too, breaking on top 11-7. Stone had two blocks and two kills to go with four kills and a block by Robinson. Saks rallied to tie it at 16 as Briskey had four kills in six points and Maiya Northard was serving as Saks scored seven straight points to take a 20-16 lead. Briskey’s kill ended the final match.

“It feels great to have a piece of the area title,” Law said. “Jacksonville has had it so long. Our players really wanted it tonight and you could see it in their play. We are getting better each week.”

Briskey had 23 kills, 14 good serves and five digs. Jaelyn Wilson had five kills and 30 assists. Teague added nine kills, two aces and six digs, while Northard had four kills and 22 good serves. Snider had three kills, four blocks and eight good serves.

“Briskey was a special player tonight and that was big,” Law said. “Jacksonville did a good job of blocking at the net. It was just a good tough match.”

WHITE PLAINS 3, CLEBURNE COUNTY 0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-7)

In the other area match of the night, Haley Helms and Alyssa Hudgins kept the ball in motion for White Plains (9-7) with 18 digs apiece. They also combined for six aces.

Hannah Barno had eight kills and two blocks. Ryleigh Randall had 32 assists, two kills, two aces and seven digs.

DONOHO 2, WEST END 0 (25-17, 25-17)
DONOHO 2, ALEXANDRIA (25-23, 25-22)

Madison Gaines had 11 kills and Camille Fink scored six aces as the Lady Falcons (23-5) swept. The win over Alexandria was their county-leading 14th over in-county teams this season (14-3).

Anna Marie Woodfin had 17 digs for Donoho, ranked third in the latest 1A poll. Katie Brown had 19 assists.

OXFORD 3, BRIARWOOD 0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-17)

JoJo Skinner had five kills, five digs and three aces as the Yellow Jackets (19-9) bounced back from a tough area loss in their last start.

Laura Davenport had six digs, four kills and one ace. Abby Bussey had four digs, Nyles Britt had five kills and Chloe Stone had 16 assists.

The Yellow Jackets on Wednesday were installed as the No. 1 seed in next month’s Calhoun County Volleyball Tournament.

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