E.A. Sports Today

Practice makes perfect

Valley Cubs maul Saks with one of their best games of the year after a hard practice the day before

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

On Wednesday Alexandria had one of its toughest practices of the year. On Thursday the hard work paid off as the Valley Cubs smoked Saks 61-25.

Apparently, practice does make perfect.

The eighth-ranked 5A Valley Cubs (12-3) dominated from start to finish as they outhustled and out-defended the flat Wildcats on their home court.

“I thought we would have a spirited game today,” Cubs coach Jason Johnson said. “We had a very intense practice on Wednesday and I thought we would come out today and play well.”

The Valley Cubs played better than well. They looked much more put together after their deflating loss to area rival Anniston on Tuesday.

They held Saks to only six points in the first quarter and five in the second. They followed it up with allowing a whopping 14 points in the second half.

“We defended really well today,” said Johnson. “On offense we passed well and hit their shots. I think this was one of our best games so far.”

The scoring was spread out as Jamal Tucker led the charge with 12 points in the first half. Sophomore Dalton Dodd had 10 points and three rebounds while Gerald Murphy had nine points and a pair of rebounds.

“We had a very hard and intense practice yesterday,” said Dodd. “I think the Anniston loss made us want to be better and made us work harder, and tonight it showed in the way that we played.”

All Saks (11-6) could do was watch as the Valley Cubs flew all over the court, penetration becoming a huge problem for the Wildcats throughout the game.

Jaylen Britt led the losing effort with 11 points and four rebounds. The rest of the Wildcats combined for only 14 more points, six of which were late in the 4th quarter.

“We wanted to play hard defense and keep them on their toes,” said Dodd. “I think this game sets us up well for the county tournament. We just want to take it one game at time.”

And practices will undoubtedly continue to be tough for this Valley Cub team. Saks, meanwhile, will look to rebound against Weaver tonight.

On the cover, Saks’ Demetrius Powell (R) moves in to defend Alexandria’s Caleb Young.

Alexandria 61, Saks 25

ALEXANDRIA (12-3) – Riley Shaw 0 2-2 2, Chase Smitherman 2 0-0 4, Austin Taylor 0 0-0 0, A.J. Martin 2 0-3 4, Dalton Dodd 3 2-2 10, Gerald Murphy 3 3-3 9, Cole Nail 0 0-0 0, Jamal Tucker 5 1-2 12, Jordan Romine 1 0-0 2, Caleb Young 3 0-0 7. Marcus Swink 1 1-2 3, Luke Tucker 3 0-0 7. Totals 23 9-24 61.

SAKS (11-6) – Jalen Wynn 0 0-0 0, Demetrius Powell 2 0-0 2, Quay McCord 0 0-0 0, Quin Smith 2 0-1 4, Jaylen Britt 4 1-2 11, Alphonza Ward 0 2-2 2, Mario Burnett 1 0-0 2, Tray Hughley 0 0-0 0, Darien Briskey 1 0-0 2, Landun Peters 1 0-1 2. Totals 11 3-6 25.

Alexandria 18 19 14 10 — 61
Saks 6 5 4 10 — 25

3-point goals: Alexandria 6 (Dodd 2, J. Tucker, Young, L. Tucker 2); Saks 2 (Britt 2). Total fouls: Alexandria 13, Saks 15. Officials: Baker, Montgomery, Stevens.

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