E.A. Sports Today

Powerful Jags end Cubs’ year

Top-ranked J.O. Johnson too much for Alexandria, Jaguars advance to meet Anniston, includes scores and schedule

Friday’s Games
5A Girls: Anniston 52, Boaz 26
5A Boys: Anniston 74, Guntersville 66
5A Girls: Madison County 60, Hayden 36
5A Boys: J.O. Johnson 73, Alexandria 53
2A Girls: Ranburne 53, Asbury 43
2A Boys: Cleveland 71, Collinsville 49
2A Girls: Ider 87, Thorsby 45
2A Boys: Section 37, Vincent 34

Saturday’s Games
3A Girls: Pleasant Valley vs. Pisgah, 9 a.m.
3A Boys: Piedmont vs. Plainview, 10:30 a.m.
3A Girls: Westbrook Christian vs. Brindlee Mountain, noon
3A Boys: Westbrook Christian vs. New Hope, 1:30 p.m.
4A Girls: Westminster Christian vs. Saks, 3 p.m.
4A Boys: Westminster Christian vs. White Plains, 4:30 p.m.
4A Girls: Locust Fork vs. Hokes Bluff, 6 p.m.
4A Boys: Priceville vs. Cherokee County, 7:30 p.m.

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – After weaving their way through the ups and downs of an entire season, the Alexandria Valley Cubs’ year came to an end Friday in the Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinals.

John Petty, the No. 1 junior in the state for Huntsville powerhouse J.O. Johnson, led his team to a dominating 73-53 victory over the Valley Cubs, who after hanging in for the better part of the first quarter could not keep it in hand long enough to make up the difference.

The Jaguars (26-5) will now play Anniston for the region championship Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.

Alexandria coach Jason Johnson and senior Caleb Young were visibly emotional after the game as they reflected on a team that battled through multiple obstacles during the season.

“It was a tough loss, but it was to a very good team in J.O. Johnson,” Johnson said. “We have had a good season and battled through a lot to get back to Jacksonville for a second year and hopefully next year we can possibly do it again. I am just very proud of my seniors and the players who gave it their all the entire season.”

One of those valuable seniors was Young who led the Valley Cubs in scoring with 24 points, including 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Marcus Swink had 10 points and was 5-of-7 from the field.

The Cubs (19-7) started off immediately trying to hold on to some type of momentum and create an early advantage over the Jaguars, but as Petty started to emerge there was little anyone could do to stop him and his teammates.

“He (Petty) is the best junior in the state,” Johnson said. “He can hit you from every angle and can just completely make the difference in a game.”

J.O. Johnson is located in Huntsville and has beaten the No. 1 team in 6A twice this season as part of what coach Jack Doss has called the toughest schedule in Alabama. The Jaguars may not be as familiar with Calhoun County teams as others, but Doss is from the county and praised Alexandria and the other teams in the area as worthy adversaries to his team.

“I went to Oxford so I have immense respect for Alexandria and the surrounding area schools,” Doss said. “They had a great season and a great team, but we just physically overmatched them and that was the difference in the end. We have a good group of young men on this team and we look to continue our success not only for the rest of this season, but for a time to come.”

John Petty led the way for the Jaguars with 26 points and five rebounds; he went 11-of-17 from the field. Becoming almost comical, Petty had multiple one- and two-handed slam dunks as he became the star of the show and placed his team once again in the win column.

Devonte Lanier scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds for J.O. Johnson, while Justin Hopkins had 13 points.

“When (Kentucky coach) John Calipari says you have the No. 1 junior in the country you have to take stock in that,” Doss said. “I don’t want to toot their horn, but I’m proud of the way he and his teammates have bought into our program and now we just move onto Anniston.”

The Jaguars they don’t seem too worried about the Bulldogs (or really anybody left on their schedule) as they make their bid for another state championship.

“We just play our game and just make sure we are prepared for our games regardless of our opponent,” Petty said. “Our goal is to win a championship and if we just play our brand of basketball then we should be fine.”

J.O. Johnson 73, Alexandria 53

J.O. JOHNSON (26-5) – Brandon Crosby 0-2 0-0 0, Jarius Grayson 1-6 0-0 2, Justin Hopkins 6-10 1-3 13, Brandon Nicholas 0-2 2-2 2, John Petty 11-17 1-2 26, Brandon McCarver 1-3 4-4 6, Brandon Davis 0-0 2-2 2, Antonio Fletcher 0-0 2-2 2, Toradio Jamar 0-0 2-2 2, Devonte Lanier 7-11 0-0 14, Jaquavis Horton 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 27-52 15-19 73.

ALEXANDRIA (19-7) – Riley Shaw 1-5 0-0 2, Dalton Dodd 2-6 0-0 5, Caleb Young 9-14 5-6 24, Marcus Swink 5-7 0-4 10, Luke Tucker 1-3 1-2 4, Chase Smitherman 1-2 0-0 2, Austin Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, A.J. Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Gerald Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Cole Nail 0-0 0-0 0, Jamal Tucker 2-6 1-1 6, Jay Romine 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-43 7-13 53.

J.O. Johnson 21 17 16 19 — 73
Alexandria 14 8 7 24 — 53

3-point goals: JOJ 4-14 (Crosby 0-1, Grayson 1-3, Nicholas 0-2, Petty 3-8); Alexandria 4-18 (Shaw 0-4, Dodd 1-5, Young 1-3, L. Tucker 1-1, J. Tucker 1-5). Rebounds: JOJ 32 (Lanier 8); Alexandria 21 (Swink 8). Total fouls: JOJ 16, Alexandria 14. Officials: Rod Taylor, Joe Cameron, Doc Taylor.

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