E.A. Sports Today

Blasting the past

Alexandria’s Dodd never even thought about the injury he suffered last time in Pete Mathews Coliseum, powers Valley Cubs to tournament win

Faith Christian’s Jordan Griswould is one of the most dynamic players in Calhoun County, but his effectiveness was reduced dramatically by foul trouble Monday. On the cover, Alexandria’s Dalton Dodd returned to JSU for the first time since being injured there in December and had 16 points. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/KrispPics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – The last time Dalton Dodd was in Pete Mathews Coliseum he wound up limping off the floor in the first half with a high ankle sprain that kept him on the sideline several weeks.

More than five weeks have passed since that painful afternoon, but in his first game back in the building since then, Dodd scored a game-high 16 points and helped Alexandria get by Faith Christian 57-39 in the second round of the Calhoun County Tournament.

The sixth-seeded Valley Cubs (14-7), the last team in the 3-4-5-6 debate at the seeding meeting, now play third-seeded Anniston Thursday at 4 p.m.

The Cubs were 5-0 at the time Dodd got hurt against Oxford. They went 4-4 without him, counting the loss in that TV24 Holiday Showcase game he was injured, but he returned during the Glencoe Holiday Shootout and the Cubs have been 5-3 since.

The Valley Cubs already were missing several regulars at the time of Dodd’s injury and they lost several others during his recovery.

Dodd said he didn’t worry about “the last time” coming into this game or during it and Cubs coach Jason Johnson said he didn’t even think about until it was brought to his attention by reporters after the game.

“I didn’t let that bother me; no worries about that at all,” Dodd said. “I was going to play my game regardless what happened last time. That can happen any game, any place, I’m not going to let that bother me.”

The Cubs path to victory was smoothed Monday by Faith star Jordan Griswould’s foul trouble. Griswould, who went for 32 points in the Lions’ tournament opener, picked up three fouls in the first quarter and his fourth shortly after returning to the game midway through the second quarter.

“It helped us out a lot,” Dodd said. “He’s a good player; luck for us he got in foul trouble and we didn’t have to worry about him much.”

“It took a little bit of pressure off us, because whoever was guarding him had to stay on him the whole time,” Josh Tucker added.

Faith coach Brad Yarbrough said it would have completely changed the tenor of the game that might have been a pretty good battle if Griswould had been able to be effective.

Griswould did finish with a team-high 14 points, but nine of them came in the fourth quarter when the Valley Cubs were comfortably ahead.

“It would have been a different game, a lot different,” Yarbrough said. “They’re a good team, hats off to them … they did their job, but it would have been different. The way we’ve been playing and the way we played still, it’s a different ball game.”

The oddest thing about the game was the Cubs opened a 7-0 lead without making a field goal. Tucker was certain once they made the first bucket “it was going to turn the switch on” and baskets would come in bunches.

They did. Romeo Dye finally found the range, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:51 left in the first quarter, and the Valley Cubs wound up hitting six shots in a row to fuel an 18-0 run that gave them control of the game.

“You have to just keep attacking so if you’re not hitting maybe you’re getting to the free throw line,” Johnson said. “Getting them in foul trouble and you shoot free throws, so there’s a chance you can get some points that way.”

Alexandria 57, Faith Christian 39
Riley Camp 4 1-1 11, Jordan Griswould 5 3-6 14, Jameson Adams 0 0-0 0, Seth Cravens 2 0-1 6, Jack Sills 3 2-4 8, Michael Kulick 0 0-0 0, Julien Key 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 6-12 39.

ALEXANDRIA (14-7) — Devan Grant 1 1-2 3, Chase Smitherman 3 0-1 6, Austin Taylor 0 0-0 0, Jake Weathington 0 2-2 2, Dru Davis 1 4-4 6, Dalton Dodd 6 3-5 16, Romeo Dye 2 0-0 5, Thorne Thornton 1 0-0 2, Jamal Tucker 2 0-0 4, Josh Tucker 3 2-4 8, Landon Williams 2 1-2 5. Totals 21 13-20 57.

Faith Christian 4 10 11 14 — 39
Alexandria 14 17 9 17 — 57

3-point goals: Faith 5 (Camp 2, Griswould, Cravens 2). Alexandria 2 (Dodd, Dye). Fouled out: Smitherman. Total fouls: Faith 14, Alexandria 19.

Alexandria’s Jamal Tucker (24) tries to keep Faith’s Jameson Adams from penetrating to the basket Monday. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/KrispPics Photography).

To view more of Kristen Stringer’s pictures from the Calhoun County Tournament, visit www.krisppicsphotography.photoreflect.com

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