E.A. Sports Today

Ohatchee turns up the heat

Indians get challenged at halftime, turn up the intensity in the second half and rally past Wellborn

Wellborn's Blake Hanson scored 28 points in a losing cause Tuesday. He is averaging 25.6 points through the Panthers' first five games.

Wellborn’s Blake Hanson scored 28 points in a losing cause Tuesday. He is averaging 25.6 points through the Panthers’ first five games.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When you’re a coach in Calhoun County with the last name Ginn you expect your team to perform to a certain standard and when it doesn’t it’s time to let the Ginn out.

Ohatchee boys basketball coach Bryant Ginn took a page from the family legacy Tuesday and let his team know – in a way only a Ginn could – he wasn’t pleased with what he was seeing.

The Indians responded in a way the late legendary Alexandria coach Larry Ginn’s teams usually would after being challenged. They ramped up the intensity in the second half and pulled off a 76-69 win over Wellborn.

“We just went in and challenged them,” Ginn said. “I thought we were flat, we were getting pushed around, we weren’t playing very good defense. I just went in there and challenged them; that’s the best way I can put it.

“I told them this isn’t the way we play defense, 20-some points in a quarter isn’t the way we do things. I just kind of challenged their manhood a little bit. I channeled my inner Coach Ginn there, and they responded. That’s exactly what he would’ve done. He may not have said it as harsh as I did, but that’s about what would have happened.”

Just so you know the connection, Ginn’s father and Larry Ginn were first cousins.

The Indians (5-4), emotionally hung over from a bitter loss the night before, were in danger of getting run out early. They gave up 23 points in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 13 in the first half as the Panthers’ Jordan Montgomery and Blake Hanson were putting on a shooting clinic.

After the halftime challenge, they came out and put together a run that left the Panthers in their wake.

Brian Jennings took his coach’s message to heart, especially since some of it was directed at him. He scored 13 of the Indians’ first 15 points of the third quarter, most of them on a pretty little drop step that’s become his signature move, as they tried to cut into the deficit against the outside shooting of Hanson.

The Panthers may have matched the Indians’ assault, but each time Jennings scored down low it just solidified his presence in the paint. Jennings finished with 23 points, 20 in the second half.

“That’s the best post player we’ve seen all year,” Wellborn coach Jordan Angle said. “He didn’t single-handedly beat us, but he played an outstanding basketball game and we didn’t have an answer for it. It’s like he’s a noodle; he can just slide through there. It’s impressive to watch. I got caught up during the game watching him.”

Between Jennings and Austin Tucker, the Indians got it back to 52-47, then went on a 21-2 run to open a 14-point lead with 4:15 left in the game.

Micah Lee gave Ohatchee the lead, then Tucker and Jennings took over. Tucker scored 14 of his 18 in the second half.

“None of us were playing intense and we came out and got intense and ran it up and down the court,” Tucker said. “He dogged us out and whenever he dogs us out we know that we need to get intense. The second half was great compared to the way we played the first half.”

Ben Glass faced his challenge the night before and he responded with 20 points — 13 in the first half and seven in the fourth quarter. Lee finished with 15 points.

Hanson led all scorers with 28 points. Quan Moore had 17 evenly distributed points and Montgomery finished with 13. They combined to hit 10 3-pointers.

Ohatchee 76, Wellborn 69

OHATCHEE (5-4) – Ben Glass 7 2-2 20, Micah Lee 7 1-1 15, Jon Noel 0 0-0 0, Brennan Wink 1 0-0 2, Austin Tucker 7 4-8 18, Brian Jennings 10 3-8 23, Tristan Woodall 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 10-19 76.

WELLBORN (1-4) – D.J. Rhoden 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Raines 2 0-0 4, Quan Moore 7 1-2 17, Kite 0 0-0 0, Jordan Montgomery 5 0-0 13, Junior Towns 1 1-1 3, Jaylun Kelley 2 0-0 4, Blake Hanson 9 5-7 28. Totals 26 7-10 69.

Ohatchee 14 14 27 21 — 76
Wellborn 23 15 14 17 — 69

3-point goals: Ohatchee 4 (Glass 4); Wellborn 10 (Moore 2, Montgomery 3, Hanson 5). Total fouls: Ohatchee 10, Wellborn 16. Officials: Washington, Preston, Battles.

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