E.A. Sports Today

Saks scores clean sweep

Lady Wildcats didn’t need a ‘miracle’ to complete the sweep of their area schedule, but they had one anyway — Miracle Dennard

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Saks girls didn’t need a miracle to complete the sweep of their area basketball schedule Tuesday night, but the Lady Wildcats had one in their pocket anyway.

Miracle Dennard, playing her best game since returning to the team from a season-long foot injury, hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points as the Lady Wildcats unloaded on White Plains 61-39.

It was their 11th straight win (by an average margin of 23.6 points) — all since returning from their holiday tournament trip to Florida — and left no doubt as to the dominant team in Class 4A Area 11.

The closest game in the streak was 10 points — against White Plains. They’ve won their last six by an average of 27 points.

“We’ve been talking all year that we wanted to be recognized as a good basketball team,” Saks coach Michelle Lively said. “It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point, but we’re still not … I don’t feel like people recognize us as a dominant team. I read some of the things people said.

“I feel like we’re a pretty solid basketball team still trying to prove that day in and day out. What’s good about them is they stay hungry about those type of things. They came out tonight and didn’t want White Plains to have any edge over them or give anybody else any hope in the area that there was the possibility of anybody beating us.”

The return of Dennard figures only to make the Lady Wildcats (19-6, 6-0) stronger. Even Lively allowed she is a “huge part” of their makeup who brings more depth to the bench.

The 10th-grader cracked a bone on the top of her left foot during rapid-fire warmups in the season opener and only got cleared to play again the Tuesday of the Calhoun County Tournament.

She didn’t score in either of Saks’ first two County Tournament victories, but scored four points in the championship game. She was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc against the Lady Wildcats (6-14) Tuesday night.

“I feel like I’m back,” Dennard said. “I feel good to be back with my teammates.”

County Tournament MVP Daja Johnson and Bry Browning both added 10 points for Saks. Johnson scored all her points in the second quarter as the Lady Wildcats opened a 30-11 halftime lead.

White Plains, already down two key players to injury and had Mary Claire Young leave with an ankle injury, got scoring from just three players in the first half and four through three quarters. Shelby Wood had a team-high 12 points and Grey Young scored 11 with three 3-pointers.

Saks will host the area girls tournament. Jacksonville is the No. 2. White Plains and Cleburne County will have a coin flip for third and fourth Thursday.

On the cover: These are the Saks players who made the 2016 Girls Calhoun County All-Tournament Team (from left): Jordan Briskey, MVP Daja Johnson, Bry Browning and Maiya Northard. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Saks 61, White Plains 39

WHITE PLAINS (6-14) – Shelby Wood 3-4 6-8 12, Grey Young 4-9 0-0 11, Chasity Nelson 2-3 0-0 5, Korie Burgess 1-1 3-5 5, Jocelyn Harris 2-4 0-0 4, Ann Katherine Dothard 1-4 0-2 2, Rian Chandler 0-1 0-2 0, Mary Claire Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-26 9-20 39.

SAKS (19-6) – Miracle Dennard 5-10 0-0 14, Bry Browning 5-8 0-0 10, Daja Johnson 4-8 0-0 10, Jordan Briskey 1-6 7-8 9, Maiya Northard 3-7 1-4 8, Tee Tee Jenkins 3-5 0-0 6, Tayler Teague 1-3 2-5 4, Sebrea Bean 0-1 0-0 0, Ayanna Bradberry 0-1 0-2, Christianna Gooden 0-1 0-0 0, Talisa Christian 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 22-51 10-21 61.

White Plains 4 7 7 21 — 39
Saks 9 21 14 17 — 61

3-point goals: White Plains 4-8 (Wood 0-1, G. Young 3-5, Nelson 1-2); Saks 7-20 (Dennard 4-9, Johnson 2-6, Briskey 0-1, Northard 1-4). Rebounds: White Plains 20 (Wood 7), Saks 27 (Teague 6, Jenkins 6). Total fouls: White Plains 13, Saks 15. Officials: Holmes, Wood, Hunter.

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