E.A. Sports Today

Up for the job

Cleburne County’s Henson out to convince his coach he can be the guard the Tigers seek to take charge on the floor

Stashun Henson blows past Lincoln defenders P.J. Parris (21) and Cody Williams (4) to get to the basket. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN – Ryan Chambless has been looking for that go-to guard to take over the floor as his Cleburne County basketball team moves into the most important phase of its season.

Stashun Henson wants the job. He showed how much Tuesday, scoring 23 points and controlling the floor as the Tigers secured an important 66-55 area victory over Lincoln and their former coach Doug Ward.

The victory moved them into a tie with Lincoln in the area standings and keeps alive the likelihood of a coin toss with them Golden Bears for the third or fourth seed in their area tournament. Both teams play the best teams in the standings in their final area games and a No. 3 seed would keep that team away from No. 1 Clay Central in the bracket.

No. 2 is no picnic either – Talladega.

For now, Henson wants to be the guy to gets them through.

“I’m trying every practice I got to prove it to him,” Henson said. “My dad told me you don’t lead by words, lead by actions, so every day I’m committed to it. I told him from Day One I’m going to give all I got.

“I played with Coach Ward and I felt restricted, but (Chambless) opened me up and I’ve got to get used to that. I’m trying to be that guy. I want to be that guy. I’m going to be that guy. I’m giving everything I got, every single practice, to get better and be that guy.”

Henson did all his scoring his the final three quarters. He went for 12 in the second after the Tigers pulled away from an early deficit to a 29-24 halftime lead, then he had seven in the fourth-quarter run that took their lead to 14.

“He’s been playing a lot better here lately,” Chambless said. “I’ve been looking for a guard to kind of taken over and run offenses and try to be that guy who settles us down. I think he’s becoming that guy, him and Brock (Swafford) both. They’re starting to understand what you have to do when you get a lead.”

The game marked the first time Ward has coached a game back in the Tigers’ gym since he left the program for family reasons in July. It was the second time he’s faced his former team since he left, but the first time they have beaten him.

“The first time we lost to him I got really mad and was like,’we’ve got to do something,’” Henson said. “We had to beat him here; you can’t lose at your own place against your old coach. I still have respect for him, but I had to beat that butt one time.”

Cleburne County 66, Lincoln 55
Donte Rivers 5 5-7 16, Chris Prince 5 2-2 14, Cody Williams 1 0-0 2, Brikeal Truss 4 9-14 18, Earl Wells 0 0-0 0, P.J. Gaddis 2 0-1 5, Montez Hall 0 0-1 0. Totals 17 16-25 55.

CLEBURNE COUNTY – Brock Swafford 2 2-2 6, Stashun Henson 10 2-5 23, Josh Brown 3 1-2 7, Avery Gentry 2 1-1 5, John Robinson 5 1-6 11, Caleb Brown 2 0-0 4, Bubba Brown 2 0-0 4, A.J. Brown 0 0-2 0, Chad Brown 2 0-2 4, Reese Morrison 1 0-0 2. Totals 29 7-20 66.

Lincoln 10 14 10 21 — 55
Cleburne County 8 21 18 19 — 66

3-point goals: Lincoln 5 (Prince 2, Rivers, Truss, Gaddis); Cleburne Co. 1 (Henson). Technical fouls: Lincoln coach Ward. Fouled out: Wells, Gentry. Total fouls: Lincoln 17, Cleburne Co. 26. Officials: Winn, Batey, Miller.

Lincoln leading scorer Brikeal Truss (11) tries to weave through two Cleburne County defenders to get to the basket.

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