E.A. Sports Today

Post presence

Weaver’s Arnold follows MVP week with strong showing in Haralson County Invitational opener

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

TALLAPOOSA, Ga. — After watching his still-emerging senior post enjoy an MVP week right before Christmas, Weaver coach Daryl Hamby was quite interested to see how Malik Arnold would handle his new-found fame in the post-holiday season.

Judging from his play Monday, Arnold is handling it just fine.

In his first game since taking top player honors at the Riley Whitaker Christmas Classic, Arnold scored 27 points and was the dominating figure late as the Bearcats held off Bremen 69-61 in the opening round of the 40th annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational.

“I wanted to keep the intensity going because everybody was counting on me to keep doing the same thing I was doing when we played in the Christmas tournament,” Arnold said. “In my mind I was
thinking don’t let your team down, don’t let that be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, keep doing it.”

He certainly had noteworthy start to this tournament. He scored 19 points in the second half, 11 in the fourth quarter after Cody Robinson banked in a 3 at the buzzer to make it a three-point game.

Every time the Bearcats (6-7) needed a basket to keep the Blue Devils at bay, Arnold seemed to be the one delivering it, either by allowing his teammates to find him open on the block or by making one of the post moves he’s worked so hard to perfect.

What ultimately gives him a chance to become the dominant post player in a county with only a handful of true posts is his speed and strength.

“Malik’s only played a half-year last year and whatever he’s done this year, so he doesn’t have a lot of experience under his belt,” Hamby said. “Having success the way he did, I think he handled it pretty well, because he’s got to understand he’s going from the hunter now to the hunted.

“He’s got to learn as he goes along. I think he’s doing an excellent job.”

He has plenty of motivation, starting with his mother Valerie who he says “has been through a lot” and his 4-month-old daughter Ka’Liah.

“I just want to get better every day,” he said.

The Bearcats play Pepperell in Tuesday’s 4:30 p.m. winner’s bracket game. The Dragons edged Mt. Zion 62-59.

Weaver 69, Bremen 61

BREMEN (2-7) — Denver Brooks 0 1-3 1, Arrein Marks 0 0-0 0, Tyran Dobbs 9 909 9, Peter Marcuz 3 2-3 8, Charlie Crafton 6 1-3 14, Dylan Kierbow 5 0-0 11, Jason Houston 2 0-0 4, Justin Booker 0 0-0 0, Zach Harris 0 0-0 0, Nate Daniels 4 2-4 10, Cody Robinson 1 0-0 3, Evan Stiles 4 2-4 10. Totals 25 8-13 61.

WEAVER (6-7) — Delo Forbes 0 4-4 4, Jalen Heath 0 5-9 5, Craig Copeland 4 6-8 14, Paul Hubbard 2 1-2 5, Justin Chapman 0 0-0 0, Dalton Hamby 1 0-0 2, RJ Wooden 1 1-1 4, Maurice Goodman 0 0-0 0, Gio Mosley 3 1-2 8, Malik Arnold 12 3-6 27, Ducky Morris 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 21-32 69.

Bremen 5 20 20 16 — 61
Weaver 13 22 13 21 — 66

3-point goals: Bremen 3 (Crafton, Kierbow, Robinson); Weaver 2 (Wooden, Mosley). Fouled out: Brooks. Total fouls: Bremen 25, Weaver 19. Officials: Free, Cole, Williams.

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