E.A. Sports Today

Cubs toe the line

Alexandria sharp at free throw line down the stretch, holds off Oneonta in Glencoe Holiday Shoot-Out

Alexandria sophomore Romeo Dye, shooting free throws in this photo in a game against Wellborn, was 8-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter Wednesday against Oneonta. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photo).

Glencoe Holiday Shoot-Out
Boys Bracket
Alexandria 64, Oneonta 59
Sardis 57, Westbrook Christian 56
Boaz 51, Cedar Bluff 49
Glencoe 63, Ragland 54

Girls Bracket
Fort Payne 69, Cedar Bluff 44
St. Clair County 30, Oneonta 26
Boaz 46, Oxford 24
Glencoe 56, Alexandria 16

Thursday’s schedule
Westbrook boys vs. Oneonta, 9 a.m.
Oneonta girls vs. Cedar Bluff, 10:30 a.m.
Ragland boys vs. Cedar Bluff, noon
Alexandria girls vs. Oxford, 1:30 p.m.
Alexandria boys vs. Sardis, 3 p.m.
St. Clair County girls vs. Fort Payne, 4:30 p.m.
Glencoe boys vs. Boaz, 6 p.m.
Glencoe girls vs. Boaz, 7:30 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE — Jason Johnson was happy to see Dalton Dodd back in the Alexandria lineup Wednesday morning, but he was even happier to see the way his Valley Cubs shot free throws down the stretch.

Both are good signs for the Cubs going forward.

On a day when their junior mismatch nightmare got back in the game, the Valley Cubs hit 12 of 14 free throws in the final 2:03 to hold off Oneonta 64-59 in a first-round nailbiter in the Glencoe Boys Holiday Shootout.

Dodd had been out seven games since suffering a high ankle sprain against Oxford in the TV24 Holiday Challenge at Jacksonville State Dec. 10. The Cubs went 4-3 in those games and Johnson figures all three losses — one by one point and two in overtime — could be attributed to his team’s inability to hit free throws.

“It’s been a little bit of an issue for us where we felt like it’s cost us possibly two or three games, so it’s something we’re working to try to solve,” the Valley Cubs coach said.

But they were 19 of 28 from the line against the Redskins and 13 of 17 in the fourth quarter to keep Oneonta at bay or stretch the lead. Sophomore Romeo Dye was 8-for-8 in the final two minutes.

“Good job by Romeo,” Johnson said. “He may be our best free-throw shooter. We had to keep getting him the ball so he would be fouled, and then Jake Weathington made three out of four (in the final 20 seconds) to keep it a two-possession game.”

Every shot was valuable. The game was tied nine times before eighth-grader Landon Williams touched off the 9-0 run early in the fourth quarter that gave the Valley Cubs ultimate control of the game. There were seven lead changes when Dodd’s 3-pointer with 7:38 to play put the Cubs up for good.

The secret to Alexandria’s success at the line Wednesday might have been the approach it took in practice Monday. Somebody was running when a player missed a free throw – “there was a lot of running,” Johnson said — and if there is one thing players dislike more than practice, it’s running.

It was 52-47 when the Cubs started their game-sealing march to the foul line. Dye actually did miss a shot down the stretch, but he got a do-over thanks to an Oneonta violation and never missed again.

“They were making 3s — they were hot — so if we would have missed them I thought they would come back and tie the game up, so we had to step up and hit them,” Dye said.

“It’s just amazing to see how far they came just in one day after that drill,” Dodd said. “Those boys stepped up big tonight on the free throw line.”

Amazing might also describe Dodd’s presence in the game. He wasn’t expecting to play again until after the first of the year, but thanks to some aggressive personal rehab he was cleared just ahead of the tournament and gave the Cubs what Johnson called “some good little minutes” in the “very limited” time he got against the Redskins.

Dodd scored five points on 2-of-4 shooting, including the 3-pointer, and grabbed five rebounds. He entered the game for the first time with 2:26 left in the first quarter and immediately delivered an assist to Jamal Tucker off the inbounds pass.

“The doctor told me I couldn’t play too many minutes because he wants me to kind of ease back into it, so Coach Johnson played me as much as he could,” Dodd said. “It was better than I thought; I thought I’d be struggling bad. I did lose my breath quick, but I fought through it, had to stay out there as long as I could to help the team. I wanted to see the team get a win and get back on track.”

The big test will come this afternoon, when he retakes the court some 27 hours after completing his return. The Valley Cubs play Sardis, a one-point winner over Westbrook Christian, at 3 p.m.

“I’m going to go home and ice it and do the ankle exercises they gave me and see what I can do tomorrow,” he said.

Glencoe Holiday Shoot-Out

Alexandria 64, Oneonta 59
ONEONTA (7-7) —
Duncan Meriweather 3 1-2 9, Brody Moore 13 5-6 36, Jackson Devaney 0 0-0 0, Stewart Miller 0 0-0 0, Jaden Kent 2 2-2 6, Matilon Nash 0 0-0 0, AJ Elrod 0 0-0 0, Daniel McCary 1 0-0 3, Luke Cleveland 1 0-0 2, Landon Bothwell 1 0-0 3. Totals 21 8-10 59.

ALEXANDRIA (10-4) — Devan Grant 0 2-2 2, Chase Smitherman 4 1-5 10, Austin Taylor 4 0-1 12, Jake Weathington 1 3-4 5, Dru Davis 0 1-2 1, Jayden Cunningham 0 0-0 0, Dalton Dodd 2 0-0 5, Romeo Dye 1 8-8 10, Thorne Thornton 1 0-0 2, Jamal Tucker 2 2-4 7, Landon Williams 4 2-2 10. Totals 19 19-28 64.

Oneonta 14 16 9 20 — 59
Alexandria 10 18 12 24 — 64

3-point goals: Oneonta 9 (Meriweather 2, Moore 5, McCary, Bothwell); Alexandria 7 (Smitherman, Taylor 4, Dodd, Tucker). Fouled out: Bothwell. Total fouls: Oneonta 21, Alexandria 14. Officials: Bradford, McCombs, Holmes.

Dalton Dodd returned to Alexandria’s lineup for the first time since Dec. 10 and gave the Valley Cubs some good minutes.

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