E.A. Sports Today

Wildcats extend beach stay

White Plains stays alive in Sandestin Beach Blowout by killing its opponent from the free throw line

Alexandria 72, Glencoe 58
Bowdon 56, Spring Garden 38
Cedar Bluff 64, Ragland 63
Cherokee County 65, Westminster Christian 51
Grady 77, Sacred Heart 75
Ohatchee 54, Boaz 36
Pepperell 56, Weaver 54
Sardis 57, Oneonta 54
White Plains 68, Paxton (Fla.) 61

By East Alabama Sports Today

FREEPORT, Fla. – Free throws dropped White Plains into the consolation bracket of the Sandestin Hilton Beach Basketball Blowout and it was free throws that kept the Wildcats alive in the tournament Tuesday.

The Wildcats were a torrid 27 for 31 on the uncontested one-pointers in beating local favorite Paxton (Fla.) 68-61. They now play Tipton (Tenn.) Rosemark Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

“When you can send folks to the line in the fourth quarter and put the game away, that’s so refreshing,” White Plains coach Chris Randall said.

Jerod Gurthie was 8-for-8 from the line and led the Wildcats with 22 points. Eli Hightower, who went for 30 in their opening-round loss that came on two free throws inside two seconds, went 4-for-4 and also hit two 3-pointers. Michael McGuirk was 8-for-10.

Guthrie and Hightower were a combined 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter while Paxton was mounting a comeback from a 21-point deficit. The Wildcats were 10-for-11 in the fourth quarter from the line as a team and 14 of 15 in the second half.

“I’m happy with all the free throws,” Guthrie said. “I’m 15-for-15 from the line (in the tournament) and that’s one of my goals — to not miss one this tournament.”

Guthrie’s sharp shooting wasn’t just confined to the free throw line. He hit four of the Wildcats’ seven 3-pointers in the game.

“I didn’t shoot the ball all too good the first day and I knew today I had to come out and knock down some shots,” Guthrie said. “After I made the first one I had it and I was settled down and confident, plus Eli was making shots so everything came together.”

The Wildcats built their big lead with a 20-4 third quarter Randall said was “our best quarter of the year.” It surpassed the 30-point second quarter they enjoyed at Weaver earlier this season.

“It was as good as we played in a while,” he said.

The Bobcats hit 10 3-pointers in the game. Garrett Bodie, a Florida State pitching signee, hit four in the first quarter. He finished with 18 points.

Guthrie was one of three White Plains scorers in double figures. Hightower and McGuirk each had 10. Lawrence Jackson scored only six, but Guthrie said “he played a big role” in the victory with his defense, driving and hitting the open shot.

“He got us started today,” Guthrie said.

This is the sixth year the Wildcats have played in the tournament and the fourth time they’ve played the Bobcats.

A loss Tuesday would have sent the Wildcats home to two-a-day practices in the run up to the new year. If they win Wednesday, they’ll be playing in the consolation bracket championship – just like last year.

“This tournament has seemed to really, I don’t know, given us the last four or five years a renewed commitment,” Randall said. “Maybe you just kind of reevaluate everything down here – you’re away from everybody, it’s just you and the guys – and it has refocused us been the springboard to a couple good seasons where we righted the ship.

“It’s really been good to us. We’ve learned a lot of good lessons down here. Sometimes it takes a loss to do it, but it’s a really good tournament to start the second half of our season.”

Dwight Madison Classic

Grady 77, Sacred Heart 75: Avi Toomer and Christian Bryant each had 18 points for undefeated Grady and Tykwaan Bryant had a double-double in this battle of top-ranked teams. Grady is No. 1 in Georgia AAAA, Sacred Heart No. 1 in Alabama 1A.

Anniston, ranked No. 7 in Class 5A, plays host Carver-Montgomery, the No. 1 team in Class 6A, Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.


White Plains 68, Paxton (Fla.) 61

WHITE PLAINS — Jerod Guthrie 5 8-8 22, Kevin Carr 2 2-3 7, Eli Hightower 2 4-4 10, Michael McGuirk 1 8-10 10, Jackson Guthrie 0 0-0 0, Quez Wyatt 1 2-2 4, Lawrence Jackson 3 0-0 6, Macy Carr 0 0-0 0, Murphy Doss 3 3-4 9, Brett Beaver 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 27-31 68.

PAXTON (FLA.) — Brett Robertson 0 0-0 0, Jack Hamilton 3 0-1 9, Hunter Allen 1 1-2 3, Eli Fayne 1 0-0 2, Woodrow Myles 0 0-1 0, Christian Wendel 2 0-0 4, Garrett Bodie 5 4-6 18, Grant Steward 6 5-8 20, Zach Varnum 2 1-1 5. Totals 20 11-19 61.

White Plains 16 20 20 12 — 68
Paxton 17 14 4 26 — 61

3-point goals: White Plains 7 (Je. Guthrie 4, Hightower 2, K. Carr); Paxton 10 (Hamilton 3, Bodie 4, Steward). Fouled out: Jackson, Myles. Total fouls: White Plains 21, Paxton 23.

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