E.A. Sports Today

All about respect

Weaver’s 10th-seeded girls knock off 6A Oxford for fifth win in a row, reach county tournament third round for first time under Atchley

Weaver’s Tayanna Perry (5), the team’s only senior, scored a team-high 18 points against Oxford. On the cover, Abby Gaines splits the Oxford defense. (Photos by Dave Brandsma)

“She’s a quiet leader, if there is such a one on my team. The exact opposite of me.”

— Weaver coach Gary Atchley on senior Tayanna Perry

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Weaver coach Gary Atchley told everyone who would listen after the county tournament seeding meeting — his players included — his team was better than the No. 10 it drew for the event.

The Lady Bearcats used it for motivation and are playing a lot better than their seeding would suggest.

There will be dancing in the streets tonight in Weaver and Atchley will be leading the band. He was beaming with joy as his No. 10 Bearcats upset No. 7 Oxford 51-40 to move into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003 against No. 2 Pleasant Valley Thursday at 8:30.

“When we came out in warm-ups I told our kids that we are expecting to win this game and to go out and play your tails off and they did just that,” Atchley said. “It was just a great win for our kids.”

Tayanna Perry, the team’s only senior, led three Weaver scorers in double figures with 18 points. Mariah Thompson had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Rayne Beck added 10 points.

It was Weaver’s fifth win in a row, matching the longest streak of Atchley’s tenure. The Lady Bearcats (11-8) opened last season 5-0.

“I guess we finally know what we can do this season and it’s all coming together,” Perry said.

The game was a back-and-forth affair until Weaver scored the last eight points in the final 1:21 to pull away.

Anna Bolton kept the Lady Jackets in it all night with her shooting. She had a game-high 20 points.

“She just ate us up,” Atchley said. “We were not ready for her at all, she is a really good player.”

It did not look so good early for Weaver as Bolton came out red hot. She drilled two 3-pointers and a 2-pointer to give the Yellow Jackets a 12-2 lead. The Bearcats answered with 12 straight points to re-take the lead at 14-12 and the fight was on.

Weaver hounded Oxford time after time on a trap press that ended up creating 33 Yellow Jacket turnovers. Oxford created 23 Weaver turnovers with its own defense as the teams played at a torrid pace.

“I have to give B-team coach Marcus Herbert all the credit on our press,” Atchley said. “He came over and helped us work on that press all last week in practice and tweaked a few things. It just worked great for us tonight.”

Atchley also says most of his players play like he coaches – loud and with a lot of emotion. And then there’s Perry.

The Bearcats began feeding the ball down low to the senior post and Perry quietly scored 18 points off mainly layups while breaking the Oxford press. She scored their last three points and had four – all from the line – in that run in the final 80 seconds.

“She’s the only senior I’ve got, it’s finally clicking in I’m pretty decent in basketball,” Atchley said. “She’s a quiet leader, if there is such a one on my team. The exact opposite of me.

“She deserves this, being the only senior on this team. She’s gotten her tail beat for four years. She deserves this more than anybody.”

The Bearcats are not satisfied with a win over the 6A Yellow Jackets. They want more and more means having to take on Pleasant Valley to get to the semifinals.

“I don’t want to say (this is) the top of the mountain because we want to keep climbing, right,” Atchley said. “I’m going to be honest with you, going to the seed meeting everybody drops us 10, nobody respects us and I think those girls in there playing, we’re playing to earn some respect from some people. I’d like to think we earned a little bit tonight — and I think we’re going to try to earn a little bit more Thursday.”

Weaver 51, Oxford 40
WEAVER (11-8) –
Caleigh Cortez 2 3-6 7, Tayanna Perry 7 4-6 18, Rayne Beck 5 0-0 10, Emily Reed 0 0-0 0, Anna Howell 0 0-0 0, Amira Carter 0 0-0 0, Hannah Roberts 0 0-0 0, Mariah Thompson 5 3-4 13, Abby Gaines 1 1-2 3. Totals 20 11-20 51.

OXFORD – Izzy Shaver 0 0-0 0, Anna Bolton 6 2-4 20, MaKayla Kidd 3 1-3 7, Halaya Harmon 0 0-2 0, Acacia Kidd 1 0-2 2, Tremeria Britt 1 0-0 2, Akiera Robinson 0 0-0 0, Quameria Britt 1 0-0 2, Justyce Smith 3 1-2 7, Kaylyn Hendrix 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-13 40.

Weaver 14 8 9 20 — 51
Oxford 12 11 6 11 — 40

3-point goals: Oxford 4 (Bolton 4). Total fouls: Weaver 14, Oxford 15. Officials: Don Shirey, Karl Burns, Corey McKinney.

Anna Bolton (2) kept Oxford in the game with several key 3-pointers and a game-high 20 points.

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

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