E.A. Sports Today

Happy hosts

Both Ohatchee teams survive close games to win on the opening day of the county tournament

Ohatchee’s Ben Glass (R) tries to help teammate Austin Tucker keep his feet after tripping over a Pleasant Valley player in their Calhoun County Tournament game Saturday. (Photos by Dave Brandsma)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — How quickly they forget.

Time was winding down in Ohatchee’s boys win over Pleasant Valley in the opening round of the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament Saturday when one of Indians coach Bryant Ginn’s assistants, undoubtedly excited about the day’s events, leaned over to ask a question.

When was the last time Ohatchee was 2-0 on the opening day of the county tournament?

Uh, Ginn reminded him, that would be last year.

With so much going on these days, with teams battling it out for their area supremacy and snow days jamming up the schedule even tighter, it’s hard to remember what happened last week let alone 12 months ago.

Both Ohatchee teams — both coached by Ginn — got through their opening-round games at Pete Mathews Coliseum, the boys escaping winless Pleasant Valley 51-43 and the girls upsetting 11th-seeded Donoho 43-38.

The boys now play seventh-seeded Weaver Monday at 7:30 p.m., while the girls will play sixth-seeded Wellborn Monday at 3.

“I told the girls I thought the County Tournament is probably one of the coolest spectacles that we have they could play in,” Ginn said. “I played in region championship as a player, but to me the County Tournament has more prestige to it.”

There actually was a bit more pressure on the Indians in these games than you might think. Besides trying to stay alive in the tournament, they also serve as the host team for the event this week, so there’s a little more incentive to stick around.

“I think so, because if you don’t, now you’re sitting here hosting this thing every night and not playing in it,” Ginn said. “We’re not going to put any undo pressure on us as far as that goes. From my standpoint it would be much more enjoyable working this thing if we’re still in it.”

Ginn’s 14th-seeded girls had what appeared to be a comfortable lead with about three minutes to go, but they wound up hanging on for survival. Savannah Frickey got the Lady Falcons within three in the closing seconds and they still had a chance to force overtime if the Lady Indians mishandled the inbounds pass from under the Donoho goal.

But Jazmine Adams delivered a perfect pass behind the Donoho defense that Kourtney Shuler collected just past midcourt and followed through with a layup just before the final horn sounded. Shuler finished with 16 points in what everyone in red agreed was her best game of the year.

“We told Jazmine if you throw that thing we have to be able to touch it, so make sure when you throw it we get a tip and the clock runs and we’re in good shape,” Ginn said. “She made the perfect pass, so that was key for us.”

There was a lot danger for Indians in their boys game. They were coming off a physically demanding area game against Weaver the night before and were about to play a team that was better than its winless record indicated.

The 10th-seeded Indians jumped out to an early nine-point lead, but they could never put the Raiders away. It was a two-point game at halftime and remained close throughout the second half. They finally pulled away in the final two minutes.

“They’re not the last seed in this tournament, I promise you,” Ginn said. “Their record doesn’t show they played about five games with all their players – and it hasn’t been five easy games.

“I told the kids from the get-go you better get ready for a dogfight. They want to beat you on the biggest stage and they’re not the worst team in the tournament. For the most part I think our tournament from six on down is pretty even. That makes it fun this year.”

Ben Glass strips the ball from Josh Faucett (13) as the Pleasant Valley senior drives the lane.

Ohatchee 51, Pleasant Valley 43
Riley Vernon 3 0-0 7, Caden Turner 1 2-3 4, Reid Hightower 6 0-0 16, Jeremiah Hardy 0 0-0 0, Josh Faucett 2 4-5 8, Nic Smith 4 0-0 8, Ethan Johnson 0 0-0 0, Drew Bonds 0 0-0 0, Jordan Lambert 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 6-8 43.

OHATCHEE – Blake Buckelew 0 0-0 0, Ben Glass 4 3-6 13, Carson Stone 0 0-0 0, Grayson Alward 2 4-7 8, Domonique Thomas 1 1-2 3, Kevin Williamson 0 0-0 0, Austin Tucker 4 7-9 16, Jordan Lowe 0 0-0 0, Bayley Tillison 0 0-0 0, C.J. Ray 5 1-3 11. Totals 16 16-27 51.

Pleasant Valley 8 8 10 17 — 43
Ohatchee 13 6 10 22 — 51

3-point goals: PV 5 (Vernon, Hightower 4); Ohatchee 3 (Glass 2, Tucker). Total fouls: PV 22, Ohatchee 11. Officials: Kizzire, Bright, Dukes.

Ohatchee 43, Donoho 38
Ashley Phillips 2 0-0 4, Jasmine Adams 1 0-0 2, Tori Vice 1 0-0 2, Ally McCoy 1 0-1 3, Kourtney Shuler 6 1-4 16, Marli Hanks 3 0-0 6, Maggie Phillips 1 2-2 4, Regan Snow 0 0-0 0, Kacie Cooper 2 2-2 6, Mandy Jennings 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 5-9 43.

DONOHO – Campbell Hagan 1 0-0 2, Savannah Frickey 4 6-10 15, Meghena Giri 0 0-0 0, Constance Hodges 4 0-2 9, Jenna Stremmel 2 0-0 5, Lauren Holbrook 3 1-2 7. Totals 14 7-14 38.

Ohatchee 9 15 11 8 — 43
Donoho 10 7 11 10 — 38

3-point goals: Ohatchee 4 (McCoy, Shuler 3); Donoho 3 (Frickey, Hodges, Stremmel). Total fouls: Ohatchee 13, Donoho 15.

Reid Hightower (4) scored Pleasant Valley’s first eight points with some sharp outside shooting and wound up being the Raiders’ leading scorer Saturday with 16 points.

To see more of Dave Brandsma’s photos from the Calhoun County Tournament Saturday, visit www.camerainnandbikes.com

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