E.A. Sports Today

Reserving a victory

Weaver turns to reserves in critical moment of title game and they deliver an upset of Westbrook; Arnold named MVP

By East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN – Weaver’s stunning 69-58 upset of No. 4 Westbrook Christian in the Riley Whitaker Christmas Classic championship game Wednesday should be a source of inspiration to reserves everywhere.

The takeaway: Be ready all the times because you never know just how important the minutes you get are going to be.

Weaver coach Daryl Hamby turned to his reserves at a critical juncture in the game and they provided the spark that was needed to lift the Bearcats to their biggest victory of the season.

“We were down six or seven with about six minutes left and we decided let’s try to play the reserves,” Hamby said. “We subbed out everyone with the exception of Malik (Arnold). It was hell on wheels for three minutes. We put the starters back in and finished it up.

“We tell them you might only play three minutes, but they might be the most important three minutes of the game, and for those guys it was. If they didn’t do what they did, we don’t win the game.”

The wholesale subs were done to give the Bearcats a chance to give their starters, who were about running on empty in their third game in as many days, the best chance to be fresh at the end.

Inserting guys like Maurice Goodman, R.J. Wooden, Gio Mosley and London Knight turned the Warriors over and helped the Bearcats get back in the game.

“I was real happy how they played because we had gotten a break to catch our breath and they gave us more momentum with their defense,” guard Delo Forbes said.

Arnold was providing the offense while the reserves were doing their defensive thing. Arnold finished with a game-high 21 points and was named the tournament’s MVP. Forbes finished with 16 and Jalen Heath added 10.

“It just feels amazing to know I could help get the team a win and to be recognized with it,” Arnold said. “I had to do more this game … than I ever had to do. They had some pretty big dudes and I had to play a lot better.”

The win was Weaver’s fourth in a row and moved the Bearcats closer to the .500 mark after starting the season 0-6. They will ride that momentum into a Christmas tournament next week at Haralson County, Ga.

“The best thing we’ve been doing is sharing the ball and not carrying who scores,” Hamby said. “I’ve told them before we’re dangerous, they just don’t know it yet. Our kids, when they play like a team, they’re tough to beat.”

Weaver 69, Westbrook Christian 58

WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN — Will Jones 6 3-3 16, Gilbert Ross 0 0-0 0, Kyle Edwards 3 1-4 7, Chandler Richards 6 1-2 12, Kyle Leonard 4 1-3 10, Braden Beecham 0 0-0 0, Luke Graham 4 0-0 8, Jordan Kilgo 1 0-0 2, Boo Shirley 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 6-12 58.

WEAVER (5-7) — Delo Forbes 6 4-5 16, Jalen Heath 4 2-5 10, Craig Copeland 2 2-4 6, Paul Hubbard 2 1-2 5, London Knight 0 0-0, Dalton Hamby 0 0-0, R.J. Wooden 0 0-0 0, Maurice Goodman 3 0-0 7, Gio Mosley 1 0-0 2, Malik Arnold 8 5-8 21, Ducky Morris 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 14-24 69.

Westbrook 14 22 14 8 — 58
Weaver 16 12 16 25 — 69

3-point goals: Westbrook 2 (Jones, Leonard); Weaver 1 (Goodman). Total fouls: Westbrook 20, Weaver 18.

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