E.A. Sports Today

White Plains wins area again

Top-seeded Wildcats defeat Saks 61-46 for their second straight Class 4A Area 11 title

White Plains' Lawrence Jackson finds an opening in the Saks defense to put up a shot Thursday night. On the cover, Eli Hightower takes a defensive stance. (Photos by Stephen Miller)

White Plains’ Lawrence Jackson finds an opening in the Saks defense to put up a shot Thursday night. On the cover, Eli Hightower takes a defensive stance. (Photos by Stephen Miller)

By East Alabama Sports Today

Stout defense, timely long-range shooting and a little bit of Lawrence Jackson all had a hand in White Plains beating Saks 61-46 Thursday for its second straight Class 4A Area 11 boys basketball title.

The winning Wildcats will host the loser of Saturday’s Cherokee County-Sardis game in the subregional. Saks will travel to the Cherokee County-Sardis winner in its crossover game.

“To beat the two teams that we did … we’re proud to win the area,” White Plains coach Chris Randall said. “It just means a lot because basketball in this county is really good. To win our area, we’re as proud as we can be.”

Jerold Guthrie led a balanced White Plains scoring attack with 12 points. Kevin Carr and Eli Hightower each had 11. Lawrence Jackson scored only eight points, but he was a huge presence in the fourth quarter when Randall scrapped the set pieces for his motion offense. Michael McGuirk, who had 34 in the last meeting between the teams, was held to five by Demetrius Powell.

Both teams played strong defensively in the first half and White Plains (24-7) went into the break clinging to a 25-22 lead. Jerod Guthrie hit a couple 3s late in the third to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 10, but Saks’ Alfonza Ward hit a deep 3 at the buzzer to make it a seven-point game going into the fourth quarter.

“We made a nice little run to get it to 10 and I thought, ‘All right, here we go,’” Randall said. “But Fonzo hits a deep 3 and cuts it to seven and the place erupts.

“But to start the fourth quarter Lawrence Jackson just stayed in the lane, he kept hunting paint and he spread the ball around. We go for 20, Lawrence had six, but everybody else was all spread around.”

When Hightower hit a 3 with about four minutes left in the game to stretch the lead to 12 the Wildcats should breathe a little easier.

Both teams made a living outside the arc. They combined for 15 3-pointers, with White Plains hitting eight. Ward had four of them for Saks and finished with 19 points.

White Plains placed four players on the all-tournament team – Murphy Doss, Jackson, Kevin Carr and Hightower. The rest of the team included Cleburne County’s Jeremiah Blake and Noah Ware, Jacksonville’s Cam Horton and Taye Ackles and Saks’ Quin Smith, Jaylen Britt and Powell.

White Plains 61, Saks 46

SAKS – Jaylen Wynn 0 0-0 0, Demetrius Powell 1 0-2 2, Quay McCord 0 0-0 0, Quin Smith 1 0-0 3, Jaylen Britt 4 0-0 10, Alfonsa Ward 6 3-4 19, DeMario Burnett 3 0-0 6, Tray Huguley 1 0-0 2, Darien Briskey 2 0-0 4, Landun Peters 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 3-6 46.

WHITE PLAINS — Jerod Guthrie 5 0-1 12, Peyton Morgan 0 0-0 0, Dylan McCareeth 0 0-0 0, Kevin Carr 4 0-0 11, Eli Hightower 4 0-0 11, Michael McGuirk 2 1-1 5, Quez Wyatt 0 0-1 0, Lawrence Jackson 3 2-2 8, Macey Carr 3 0-0 6, Murphy Doss 3 2-2 8, Brett Beaver 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 5-7 61.

Saks 9 13 12 12 — 46
White Plains 15 10 16 20 — 61

3-point goals: Saks 7 (Smith, Britt 2, Ward 4); White Plains 8 (Guthrie 2, K. Carr 3, Hightower 3). Total fouls: Saks 13, White Plains 12, Officials: Rager, Hardnett, Campbell.

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