E.A. Sports Today

A most dangerous game

Pleasant Valley loosens up in second half, wins area tournament opener in a game it had lots to lose

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — In a lot of ways, the Pleasant Valley girls basketball team was playing its most dangerous game of the season Tuesday night and Lady Raiders coach Brad Hood didn’t mind saying he was worried.

His team was the No. 1 seed, playing on its home floor, was sitting with one of the best records in the state and had been ranked in the statewide poll virtually all season. Yet, if it stumbled in this game, its season would be over.

And the sixth-ranked Lady Raiders were locked in a tense game in the first half, but they shook loose the tension at halftime and carried on to a 66-53 win over Weaver in the Class 3A Area 12 tournament.

They will play Wellborn for the area championship Friday night, with those teams playing either Westbrook Christian or Ohatchee in their crossover games Monday night for a spot in the Northeast Regional.

“A lot of nerves; I could see it,” Hood said. “You’re 23-3 and knowing you could go home, I could tell we were tight. In warm ups we were tight … the first half … Even at halftime I had to just lighten up … loosen up … relax myself.

“I feel like I was a little more laid back the second half and the girls relaxed.”

The Lady Raiders led 24-18 at halftime – and had to score 12 of the last 14 points of the half to do that – then erupted for 42 points in the second half.

They played all 12 players, often substituting five at a time, and placed four scorers in double figures. Mac Parris led the way with 19 points. Mikala Simpson had 15, including two 3-pointers, Atleigh Brannon had 15 and Kara Perry 13.

“It’s nice to come out and set the tone the second half and it’s rare that I get 12 girls to have to wash their uniforms,” Hood said. “That was awesome. In a game this big, to get to play 12 players, it’s huge.”

Weaver did get within two early in the third quarter, but PV went on an 11-2 run to reestablish control. The Lady Bearcats (7-17) got it back to six before the run that completely turned the game in the top seed’s favor.

It was a 17-2 eruption that included a four-point possession off Weaver coach Gary Atchley’s technical for completely destroying his clipboard on the floor and Simpson’s back-to-back 3s.

“I think it was a bunch of us had nerves the first half and we just went out and started playing like we actually knew we could,” Parris said.

“I knew we had to get going,” Simpson said. “Coach reminded us how he knows how we can really play and that’s what we need to do from now on.”


Pleasant Valley 66, Weaver 53

WEAVER (7-17) – Caleigh Cortez 3 0-0 6, Tayanna Perry 0 0-0 0, Rayne Beck 5 2-3 12, Emily Reed 4 0-0 0, Nahhan Roberts 0 0-0 0, Mariah Thompson 5 5-6 15, Abby Gaines 1 2-2 5, Amira Carter 1 2-2 5. Totals 19 11-12 53.

PLEASANT VALLEY (24-3) – Kara Perry 5 3-5 13, Lindsey Pritchett 0 1-2 1, Mac Parris 9 0-0 19, Atleigh Brannon 6 2-2 14, Alyssa Cash 0 0-0 0, Rachel Faucett 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Lawler 1 0-0 2, Kendall Johnson 1 0-0 2, Emily Cochran 0 0-0 0, Taylor Barthel 0 0-1 0, Mikala Simpson 6 1-1 15, Courtney Upton 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 7-11 66.

Weaver 9 9 13 22 — 53
Pleasant Val. 10 14 22 20 — 66

3-point goals: Weaver 4 (Reed 2, Gaines, Carter); PV 3 (Parris, Simpson 2). Technical fouls: Atchley. Fouled out: Cortez. Total fouls: Weaver 14, PV 16. Officials: Hollingsworth, Pratt, Kelley.

On the cover: It looks like they’re having a light moment during a timeout on the Pleasant Valley bench.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login