E.A. Sports Today

Valley Cubs remember, avoid upset

Alexandria remembers four years ago, scores first 19 points to win tournament opener going away

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – It seemed like an eternity, but Luke Tucker remembers the feeling like yesterday and didn’t want to feel that way again.

Alexandria’s sixth-seeded boys avoided an early exit in the Calhoun County Tournament Monday with a 67-29 victory over Pleasant Valley at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

They had a lot of incentive.

Tucker was a ninth-grade starter for the Valley Cubs when the Raiders beat them in the opening round of then-head coach Ronnie Preston’s first season. It was the last time the Raiders won a county tournament game, an irony they quietly recalled after beating Donoho Saturday night.

Tucker, the only player remaining on the Cubs team from that game, reminded coach Jason Johnson of that history as they boarded the bus for the gym.

“It’s embarrassing; getting beat in the first round was embarrassing,” Tucker said. “They were a good team. They had a boy who scored a lot and they had a big man who was pretty good.

“We got beat by them my ninth-grade year but we struggled with them my eighth grade year, too, and I remember that. And I remembered coming in here my senior year and I don’t want that to happen to us.”

There was no chance of that this time. The Valley Cubs scored the first 19 points of the game and continued to pour it on.

The Raiders finally broke the ice on Nick Robbins’ free throw with 2:28 left in the first quarter. Marshall Smith got their first field goal on a layup with 1:43 left. It was 21-3 at quarter’s end and 44-16 at halftime.

“As a coach you’re always worried about the first game,” Johnson said. “Whether or not you’re going to be able to handle the new depth of the goal … but our guys just took care of business. I was proud of their business-like attitude. We’re just trying to get better every day and be as good as we can at the end of the year.

“You never know how you’re going to shoot, but you can control how hard you play on defense and the intensity level you give on defense. “We were impressed with our defense the first quarter. We were limiting them to one shot, a hard shot, and if you’re shooting well you can do some good things.”

Caleb Young led Alexandria’s offense with 15 points. Dalton Dodd scored 10. Eleven Cubs scored in the game.

Alexandria now plays third-seeded Saks in the tournament quarterfinals Thursday 4 p.m.

Alexandria 67, Pleasant Valley 29

PLEASANT VALLEY – Josh Preston 1 1-2 4, Dakota Jones 2 0-0 5, Caden Turner 0 0-0 0, Britton Proper 1 0-0 2, Marshall Smith 2 0-0 4, Josh Faucett 0 0-0 0, Reid Hightower 2 0-0 6, Nick Robbins 1 1-2 3, Cantor Knight 2 1-2 5, Chase Craven 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 3-6 29.

ALEXANDRIA – Riley Shaw 1 0-0 3, Chase Smitherman 1 0-0 2, Austin Taylor 1 0-0 3, A.J. Martin 4 0-1 9, Dalton Dodd 5 0-0 10, Gerald Murphy 1 1-2 3, Cole Nail 0 0-0 0, Jamal Tucker 3 0-1 7, Jordan Romine 1 0-1 2, Caleb Young 6 2-3 15, Marcus Swink 2 3-4 7, Luke Tucker 3 0-0 6. Totals 28 6-12 67.

Pleasant Valley 3 13 5 8 — 29
Alexandria 21 23 15 8 — 67

3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 4 (Preston, Jones, Hightower 2); Alexandria 5 (Shaw, Taylor, Martin, J. Tucker, Young). Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 8, Alexandria 7.

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