E.A. Sports Today

Cubs keep it fresh

Alexandria rotates players frequently in easy first-round tournament victory over Sardis

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE — Alexandria dominated a first round of a holiday tournament for the second time in two weeks Monday. Now, the Valley Cubs must finish the job.

Last week, in similar fashion, they dominated a lackluster Ashville team in the opening round of the Riley Whitaker Christmas Classic at Gadsden State. Monday, a few miles closer to home, they easily handled Sardis 66-33 in the Glencoe Holiday Shootout.

Sophomore Dalton Dodd continued his recent run of strong play, scoring 11 points and grabbing four rebounds. He had nine points in the first half.

Dodd was part of a first unit that started the game and stayed fresh by rotating frequently with the second team, which had a similar easy time with the Lions, who only scored 11 points in the first half.

Dodd dominated in the paint as he pounded the boards inside and kept his hands in the air, preventing many shots that came his way. Staying fresh though allowed him to play well.

“Depending on how the second team is playing we will rotate a lot,” Dodd said. “If they are on, we will rotate fresh legs in the game. Our second group is just as good as the first and tonight we were all on our game.”

The platoon system is a common thing in basketball. Other teams in the area like Saks and Weaver have similar techniques of making wholesale substitutions.

“One thing we do well is keep moving in the paint when we have the ball,” said Dodd. “Then when we get our guys open it really makes the difference.”

During the game you could hear the Sardis bench talk about the movement Alexandria kept attacking with, much to the dismay of the Lions as they stood still during the majority of their possessions.

“Ball movement is very important to us,” Valley Cubs coach Jason Johnson said. “When we play well, we move the ball well. It is as simple as that.”

The play call “motion” could be heard throughout the game from Johnson and players alike. The simple play of moving players in and out of the paint while constantly passing kept Sardis on its heels and allowed Cubs to start the game on a 23-2 run.

“Keeping the intensity up is very important to keeping our offense on the right track,” Johnson said.

The Valley Cubs spread the wealth. Senior Luke Tucker had 13 points with seven rebounds. AJ Martin had seven points with four rebounds and Caleb Young, another senior, had nine points with five rebounds.

AJ James led Sardis with nine points.

Alexandria will look to continue their holiday success, as they play host Glencoe in a winner’s bracket game Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Yellow Jackets beat Oneonta 66-50.

Dodd will look to keep his rebounding and ball handling skills sharp as the Valley Cubs move forward.

“I’ve been working really hard on being more aggressive,” he said. “Ball handling is also something I’m working on. It’s a step-by-step process that will pay off in the future for myself and my team.”

Boaz 58, Ragland 26: Trey Clark hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points for the Pirates. Evan Jones added 12.


Alexandria 66, Sardis 33

SARDIS — Landon Haygood 1 0-1 3, Dru Scott 1 1-3 3, Clay Roberson 1 0-0 2, Nathan Hilburn 1 0-0 3, Seth Holcomb 1 0-0 2, Logan Gaskin 0 0-0 0, John Holland 0 1-2 1, Harley Cook 2 2-4 6, AJ James 4 0-1 9, Trevor Johnson 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 4-11 33

ALEXANDRIA — Riley Shaw 2 1-2 6, Austin Taylor 1 0-2 3, AJ Martin 3 1-3 7, Dalton Dodd 4 2-4 11, Gerald Murphy 2 0-4 4, Cole Nail 1 2-4 4, Jamal Tucker 1 0-1 2, Jordan Romine 1 0-0 2, Caleb Young 3 1-2 7, Marcus Swink 3 0-0 6, Luke Tucker 5 3-4 13. Totals 26 10-26 66.

Sardis 2 9 15 7 — 33
Alexandria 18 23 13 12 — 66

3-point goals: Sardis 3 (Haygood, Hilburn, James); Alexandria 3 (Dodd, Shaw, Taylor). Fouled out: Gaskin. Total fouls: Sardis 22, Alexandria 17. Officials: Wood, Lemon, Holmes.

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