E.A. Sports Today

Tapping the Faucett

Pleasant Valley junior stays on the floor in fourth quarter, his presence key to Raiders winning their area opener

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Josh Faucett was a factor all game, but he came to life in the fourth quarter.

Faucett flourished in a what had been a rare opportunity to be on the floor in the fourth, handling the ball, attacking the basket, getting to the foul line and providing the difference in Pleasant Valley’s 61-53 area opening victory over Wellborn Tuesday night.

Faucett, who typically this season has been saddled with foul trouble by the fourth quarter, kept himself in the game. He scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and 18 in the second half.

“It was the best quarter I played all night,” he said. “The second quarter I fouled a lot and had to sit down. I actually said something to coach like this was the first game I got to finish with three fouls. That was awesome. I was thrilled. I hadn’t gotten to do that.”

Faucett scored 11 of his points in the run that took the Raiders (3-5) from a point down entering the fourth quarter to a five-point lead with three minutes to play. He hit six straight free throws in the run and was 9-of-12 from the line in the quarter.

“I thought he was pretty consistent the whole time,” PV coach Ryan McCoy said. “We’ve fought with him with foul trouble and I hadn’t trusted him enough to play him with two fouls. I tried early in the season with two and he got a third in the first half and ended up fouling out, so I hadn’t trusted him to play him with two.

“He likes to go out there and challenge the ball; if he can put pressure on you he’s in his element. But a lot of times he reached. He did a better job in the second half. If you can keep him on the floor it’s a different story.”

Just as important as keeping Faucett on the floor was the job the Raiders did on Wellborn gunner Blake Hanson. Sending three players to harass him at every turn, Hanson finished with 20 points.

He was the Panthers’ offense in their season-opening loss to Lincoln the night before, scoring 35 points with eight 3-pointers. But he hit only two from beyond the arc against Tuesday and had only three field goals in the first half. His frustration extended to the free throw line where he was 8 of 17.

With Henson struggling to find his rhythm, Jordan Montgomery provided the Panthers some consistent offense. He scored 25 points and hit seven 3-pointers – five in the second half. If those two are on the same time, the Panthers are hard to guard.

“We just can’t get a couple on at the same time,” Wellborn coach Jordan Angle said.

Montgomery’s final 3-pointer of the night gave Wellborn a 53-52 lead with 2:15 to play, but it would be last points the Panthers would score. Britton Proper put the Raiders back on top for good, made a nice defensive play moments later and then hit another basket to give PV a 57-53 lead with 1:07 left.

“You’re seeing a confidence these kids hadn’t had, getting themselves in that position and it going like it’s supposed to,” McCoy said. “I still think we’re getting better.”

Pleasant Valley 61, Wellborn 53

WELLBORN (0-2) – D.J. Rhoden 1 0-0 2, Mitchell Raines 0 0-0 0, Eric Johnson 0 0-0 0, Quan Moore 2 0-0 5, Tyreke Kite 0 0-0 0, Ked Harris 0 1-2 1, Jordan Montgomery 8 2-3 25, Dennis Towns 0 0-4 0, Jaylun Kelley 0 0-2 0, Blake Hanson 5 8-17 20. Totals 16 11-30 53.

PLEASANT VALLEY (3-5) – Josh Preston 1 2-4 5, Caden Turner 0 0-0 0, Britton Proper 3 0-2 6, Marhall Smith 1 3-4 7, Josh Faucett 7 9-16 25, Reid Hightower 3 4-4 12, Nick Robbins 2 4-4 8, Jordan Lambert 0 0-0 0, Chase Craven 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 22-34 61.

Wellborn 12 8 19 14 — 53
Pleasant Valley 8 14 16 23 — 61

3-point goals: Wellborn 10 (Moore, Montgomery 7, Hanson 2); Pleasant Valley 5 (Preston, Faucett 2, Hightower 2). Fouled out: Raines, Moore, Hanson. Total fouls: Wellborn 32, Pleasant Valley 25. Officials: Battles, Maske, Dowdell.

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