E.A. Sports Today

Weaver stumbles, Piedmont rumbles

3A subregionals: Bearcats build early lead, then let off the gas; Piedmont pulls away from Glencoe for trip to Jacksonville

Westbrook Christian players and fans rush the floor after the Warriors defeated Weaver Tuesday to earn a trip to the Northeast Regionals.

Westbrook Christian players and fans rush the floor after the Warriors defeated Weaver Tuesday to earn a trip to the Northeast Regionals.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

RAINBOW CITY — The Weaver boys basketball team looked like a high-octane machine on its way to an upset early in its Class 3A Northeast subregional game Tuesday night. Then, as has been their nature this year, the Bearcats let off the gas.

The tendency to relax cost the Bearcats in a 74-68 loss to Westbrook Christian that sent the Warriors to the Northeast Regional in Jacksonville.

The Bearcats led by nine 75 seconds into the second quarter. Westbrook coach Donny Pruitt called a time out at that point for what he called a “revival meeting on the sideline” to get his team to play with better effort and that’s when the Warriors took off.

They scored the next eight points to close the gap. Weaver’s Giovanni Mosley stopped the run temporarily and then they went on a 17-3 run that spanned each side of halftime and gave them control of the game.

“This is a problem that we have and we have to get better at it,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby began. “When we get a lead, we relax. We had a good lead, should’ve put more pressure on them. We relaxed on both sides of the ball, gave them too many easy buckets. The second quarter killed us. The third quarter killed us.

“You can’t play when you want to. Don’t get me wrong, they give me all they got all the time; their heart is unbelievable, now we have to have this (pointing to his head) to go with it. We ended up just relaxing. We can’t do that kind of stuff. When you’ve got somebody down, you’ve got to keep them down, and we let them back up.”

Pruitt was more gracious saying the Bearcats fought his team all the way to the end.

The Warriors led by 17 in the fourth quarter, but Weaver pulled to within five in the final 30 seconds.

“We played them over at Gadsden State and they beat us 11, but we hit a 3 at the horn or it would’ve been 14,” Pruitt said. “Coach Hamby runs that old Alexandria system and they play so hard; I mean, they don’t have any quit.

“I’ve watched them play six or seven games this year and I haven’t seen them let off the gas yet. When the game ends they’re still fighting. I knew it was going to be that way. Even when we were up 15 I knew that thing wasn’t over. They never quit fighting. They’ve got big hearts. We fought, too. We made some mistakes at times, but we always fought back.”

The Warriors did nice job defensively on Weaver’s Malik Arnold. The senior post was wrapped in a triple team most of the night, but scored 16 points in his final high school game. He was a demon defensively with at least six blocked shots, including three in a four-possession stretch while Westbrook was rallying.

“All I was thinking about was this was not going to be my last game,” Arnold said. “My last game and I was thinking about my little girl, because I was doing this mostly for her. I knew there were going to be many (college) scouts there for that next game, so I really didn’t want to lose this game, not just for me, but for my teammates, who I love with all my heart. They put it all out there on the court. We just came up a little short.”

Craig Copeland added 14 for Weaver and Giovanni Mosley had 10. Westbrook had four scorers in double figures led by Kyle Edwards’ 22.

Westbrook plays New Hope in its regional opener Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Piedmont 79, Glencoe 61

PIEDMONT – Darnell Jackson scored 24 points, Bayley Blanchard had 19 and they combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs pulled away to earn a second straight trip to the Northeast Regional.

The Bulldogs (20-11) will play Plainview in the regional semifinal Saturday, 10:30 a.m. in Jacksonville. The game is a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal in which the Bulldogs won 65-48 on their way to playing for the state championship.

The winner plays Westbrook Christian or New Hope for the region championship Feb. 24 at 10:45 a.m.

The trip to the regionals is the Bulldogs’ seventh in the last nine years under coach Tommy Lewis.

All five Piedmont starters scored in double figures. In addition to Jackson and Blanchard, Austin Brazier had 13 and Taylor Hayes and Easton Kirk each scored 11.

Jackson hit two of his three 3-pointers and went 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Blanchard was 7-for-9 from the line in the quarter. The Bulldogs were 21 of 26 as a team from the line, 14 of 16 in the fourth quarter.

Jackson also had three assists and four steals. Blanchard also had four assists and three steals. Brazier and Kirk each had eight rebounds.


Westbrook Christian 72, Weaver 68

WEAVER – Maurice Goodman 3 1-3 9, Craig Copeland 6 2-6 14, Paul Hubbard 6 0-0 12, London Knight 0 3-4 3, Dalton Hamby 0 0-0 0, R.J. Wooden 1 1-2 4, Giovanni Mosley 3 2-2 10, Malik Arnold 7 2-7 16. Totals 26 11-24 68.

WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN – Will Jones 2-7 3-4 8, Garret Kennedy 0-0 1-2 1, Kyle Edwards 9-13 4-7 22, Cameron Migliore 1-3 0-0 2, Chandler Richards 4-8 5-7 13, Kyle Leonard 4-9 3-5 12, Braden Beecham 1-3 0-0 2, Luke Graham 5-9 0-2 10, Jordan Kilgo 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 28-59 16-27 72.

Weaver 20 8 12 28 — 68
Westbrook 17 16 18 23 — 74

3-point goals: Weaver 5 (Gooman 2, Wooden, Mosley 2); Westbrook 2-8 (Jones 1-3, Migliore 0-1, Leonard 1-3, Graham 0-1). Rebounds: Westbrook 42 (Richards 9); Weaver 30 (Arnold 12). Fouled out: Hubbard, Mosley. Total fouls: Weaver 21, Westbrook 20
Officials: Best, Richardson, Sport.

Piedmont 79, Glencoe 61

GLENCOE (16-14) – Aaron Bush 2 0-0 4, Jacob Bradley 3 0-0 8, Pace Ozmint 5 4-7 15, Justin Barkley 4 0-0 8, Cole Holbrooks 6 2-5 14, Craig Barkley 2 0-0 4, Dalton Roberts 2 0-0 6. Jeff Ford 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 6-12 72.

PIEDMONT (20-11) – A.J. Fairs 0 0-0 0, Darnell Jackson 7 5-6 22, Taylor Hayes 4 3-4 11, Easton Kirk 3 2-2 11, Cardavian Myers 1 0-0 3, Malik Gamble 0 0-0 0, Bayley Blanchard 4 10-13 19, Austin Brazier 6 1-1 13, Justin Young 0 0-0 0, Derrick Baer 0 0-0 0, Darian Bossie 0 0-0 0, T.J. Fairs 0 0-0 0 Carl Myers 0 0-0 0, Kardon Jenkins 0 0-0 0. Totals 25-21-26 79.

Glencoe 12 11 19 19 — 61
Piedmont 9 24 18 28 — 79

3-point goals: Glencoe 5 (Jo. Bradley Piedmont 8 (Jackson 3, Kirk 3, Myers, Blanchard). Total fouls: Glencoe 15, Piedmont 12
Officials: McElroy, Jones, Little.

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