E.A. Sports Today

Wellborn trims Ohatchee

Panthers complete season sweep to pull down second seed in area, still playing Indians in area tournament opener

Blake Hanson (23) puts up a jumper against Ohatchee. Hanson scored a career-high 36 points to lead the Wellborn victory. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

If you don’t think there’s much difference between being a 2 or 3 seed in a three-team area, you needed to watch Tuesday afternoon’s Wellborn-Ohatchee game.

The teams are going to play each other in the opening round of their area tournament anyway, but the way they battled in the matinee you could tell it was about more than just the color of the jersey they’ll wear in their playoff meeting.

For the record, Wellborn won 69-64 to claim the No. 2 seed in Class 3A Area 9. The Panthers are playing Ohatchee in the tournament, but the winner punches a ticket to the 3A sub-regional and plays top-seed Weaver for the area title; the loser is done.

“It does make a difference,” Wellborn senior Blake Hanson said. “Most people are like oh, second and third, you’re going to play the same person anyway, but it’s going to be a confidence booster going in.

“We’ve beaten Ohatchee twice, so now we have the confidence to go into that game; not that we’re going to kill them, but we have the ‘up’ on them. We came out saying we’ve got to have this to make it when we go into the area we’ll be up.

“Last year coming in they beat us both times, so we used that (as motivation). We were like we’re not going down again, we’re going to flip the script this time and beat them both times. That way we let them know going into area that we’re the big dogs and we’re going to do something.”

Both teams made runs in the game that demonstrated their desire to win.

Wellborn went on an 11-0 tear in the final 1:54 of the second quarter to take a 31-23 halftime lead. The run continued at the start of the third quarter to push the lead to 14.

But Ohatchee didn’t roll over. The Indians cut their deficit to three by quarter’s end and actually held the lead with 3:40 to play. But then Wellborn scored the next 12 points over the next 2:20 to take ultimate control.

There were four ties and six lead changes.

“The effort you saw out there from us, from Ohatchee, that’s rivalry,” Wellborn coach Jordan Angle said. “These kids know each other. They play each other in every sport.”

Both of the Panthers’ big runs were fueled by Hanson and Devin Machristie. Hanson finished the game with a career-high 36 points; he had 22 in the second half, 30 in the final 18 minutes. Machristie had 17, all in the last three quarters. Jordan Montgomery had 14 points – 10 in the first half — and 13 rebounds.

Hanson was 14 of 28 from the field, but there was probably no bigger a basket than his put-back of a missed free throw with 13 seconds left that gave Wellborn a 69-61 lead. He normally stays out in a free throw setting, but he switched with Machristie to satisfy a need to bang and beat his man to the rebound.

“That was just want-to,” Angle said of the play. “Blake’s been playing with me since ninth grade. He’s got a taste for winning. He’s got it in his head the years in the past are done, we’re going to actually make a little noise and put Wellborn basketball on the map a little bit.”

Austin Tucker led Ohatchee with 27 points. He had 18 in the second half and was flying all over the court.

“Tucker changes the game,” Angle said. “But when you have three guys who shoot the lights out like what we had tonight, any night we’re going to be a tough out.”

Ohatchee’s Austin Tucker (24) flies through the air in attempt to stop Wellborn’s Devin Machristie from getting a layup.

Wellborn 69, Ohatchee 64
OHATCHEE (5-12) —
Blake Buckelew 1 0-0 2, Ben Glass 3 0-0 7, Grayson Alward 4 0-0 8, Carson Stone 1 0-0 2, Kevin Williamson 2 0-1 6, Domonique Thomas 0 0-0 0, Brennan Wink 0 0-0 0, Austin Tucker 9 9-10 27, Bayley Tillison 0 0-0 0, C.J. Ray 4 4-7 12. Totals 24 13-18 64.

WELLBORN — Mitchell Raines 1 0-1 2, Eric Johnson 0 0-4 0, Jordan Montgomery 4 5-11 14, Landon Machristie 7 0-2 17, Blake Hanson 14 4-5 36, Kelvin Evans 0 0-1 0. Totals 29 9-24 69.

Ohatchee 14 9 20 21 — 64
Wellborn 14 17 15 23 — 69

3-point goals: Ohatchee 3 (Glass, Williamson 2); Wellborn 8 (Montgomery, Machristie 3, Hanson 4). Fouled out: Ray. Totals fouls: Ohatchee 19, Wellborn 17. Officials: Miller, Ortiz, Kelley.

Wellborn’s Jordan Montgomery (4) drives past Ohatchee’s Domonique Thomas.

On the cover, Wellborn’s Jordan Montgomery denies Ohatchee’s Bayley Tillison from going inside. To see more pictures from the Ohatchee-Wellborn game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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