E.A. Sports Today

Weaver pulls away

Reserves provide steadying influence in the second half as Bearcats rally from halftime deficit to win going away

Dalton Hamby (12) and London Knight (3) played key roles for coach Daryl Hamby in Weaver’s victory over Piedmont Thursday night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER – Dalton Hamby and Amardric Elston didn’t score the most points in the game, but they might have made the biggest difference.

The two Weaver reserves came off the bench Thursday night and in the second half provided the hustle points that allowed the Bearcats to take control of their 86-65 win over Piedmont.

Hamby and Elston combined for only seven points – all in the decisive third quarter – but they changed the pace of the game with their defense and rebounding as the Bearcats (9-4) pulled away from a 44-41 halftime deficit.

“We felt like we had to really dig deep to find that strive and push,” Hamby said. “Everybody has a job on the team and my job was to do the hustle points and just work hard for that and give the other guys a chance to score.”

The Bearcats’ scorers certainly did their thing. London Knight led all scorers with 27 points. Paul Hubbard had 20, while R.J. Wooden and Robert Gaines added 12 and 11, respectively. Gaines scored eight points in the third quarter and Wooden got 10 in the fourth.

Knight got the Bearcats going early. He has one of the smoothest shots in the county and it was sharp in the first half. He scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, including going 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

“London’s a great player; what I try to do is instill confidence in him,” Bearcats coach Daryl Hamby said. “Sometimes he’ll miss a shot and he gets down on himself, but I’m trying to give him confidence all the time.

“He needs to get some of that cockiness that Maurice (Goodman) has because he’s a very good player. He needs to have confidence because I have all the confidence in the world in him. I want him to have that kind of confidence.”

Knight was confident from the jump against the Bulldogs, and it had a lot to do with the way he played Tuesday night against Wellborn. He only had one field goal and four points in a game his team scored 93 points and was determined not to be that ineffective again.

“I just knew this was a big game and I had to step up for my team,” he said. “I had a pretty bad game Tuesday and had my head down, but I knew I had to step it up tonight.”

If the Bulldogs could solve their recent problem of slow starts in the second half, they might get this thing turned around.

They had one of their best second quarters of the season to get that halftime lead on the athletic Bearcats, but followed it with another difficult third. They scored 28 points in the second quarter, but were outscored 23-10 in the third and were in catch-up mode the rest of the game.

Taylor Hayes’ basket two minutes into the second half gave Piedmont a 50-47 lead, but Weaver scored the next nine points and 24 of the next 30 to take control of the game. There were several games in the 2016 portion of the season where the Bulldogs have had trouble getting going in the second half, but if changing that trend is a New Year’s resolution it has yet to take hold.

“We have a combination we’re getting people in foul trouble, because we’re getting a little bit tired, we’re not hitting free throws and we’re not getting free throws either,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said. “We really don’t have four quarters game conditioning, it doesn’t seem like. It’s not an effort thing. You look and all of a sudden they’re tired.

“Some nights they play great and some nights … we just never have gotten a rhythm.”

Austin Brazier kept the Bulldogs close early with eight of his 10 points in the first quarter, but he also picked up his third foul early in the second quarter that impacted his effectiveness the rest of the half.

Easton Kirk sparked their big second quarter with 13 of his 19 points, including two 3-pointers. At one point, Kirk and his brother Weston scored 17 of 18 Piedmont points.
Taylor Hayes (14) and Carl Myers (10) also scored in double figures for the Bulldogs.

Weaver 86, Piedmont 65
PIEDMONT (4-9) –
A.J. Fairs 0 0-0 0, Cardavion Myers 0 1-2 1, Taylor Hayes 4 6-8 14, Derrick Baer 0 0-0 0, Easton Kirk 8 1-2 19, Carl Myers 3 2-4 10, Austin Brazier 5 0-0 10, Weston Kirk 3 0-0 6, T.J. Fairs 2 0-0 5, Kaedon Jenkins 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 10-16 65.

WEAVER (9-4) – Maurice Goodman 2 2-2 7, London Knight 8 10-14 27, Robert Gaines 5 1-5 11, Paul Hubbard 9 2-3 20, Chris Lemon 1 0-1 2, Dalton Hamby 1 0-1 2, R.J. Wooden 4 2-2 12, Alerdric Elston 2 1-1 5. Totals 32 18-29 86.

Piedmont 16 28 10 11 — 65
Weaver 20 21 23 22 — 86

3-point goals: Piedmont 5 (E. Kirk 2, Cl. Myers 2, T. Fairs); Weaver 4 (Goodman, Knight, Wooden 2). Technical fouls: Hayes, Hubbard. Total fouls: Piedmont 21, Weaver 17. Officials: Hughes, Maske, Batey.

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