E.A. Sports Today

Jackets ready for flip

Boys roundup: Oxford draws into tie atop area, coin flip Tuesday; Alexandria rallies past Wellborn, PV gets first win

Alexandria’s Dalton Dodd (L) and Austin Taylor put a little defense on Wellborn’s Devin Machristie (11) Monday night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Monday’s games
Alexandria 93, Wellborn 74
Central-Clay County 68, Lincoln 63
Jacksonville Christian 90, Appalachian 88
Munford 58, Donoho 54
Oxford 77, Pell City 45
Pleasant Valley 66, Ashville 52
White Plains 60, Cleburne County 49



By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – No big man Zondrick Garrett in the middle for most of the night was no problem for Oxford.

Garrett, the Calhoun County Tournament MVP, was limited due to early foul trouble that dogged him the rest of the game. But the talented Yellow Jackets covered him with an intensity that took area rival Pell City out of its game early and they went on to roll up a 77-45 victory Monday night.

The win tied the Jackets (17-9) with Southside for the 6A Area 13 regular season title and will force a coin flip in Pell City on Tuesday around lunch to determine who will be the No. 1 seed and host the area tournament.

Last year the Jackets were 2-0 in coin flips as they won the right to host both the boys and girls area tournaments.

“I seem to be involved in a lot of coin flips,” pondered Yellow Jackets coach Joel Van Meter.

Oxford athletics director Larry Davidson will be headed to Pell City to do the coin flip. He is not sure what he is going to call.

If they win the flip they will have a first-round bye and automatically advance to the sub-regional round of the playoffs. Losing the toss means they will face Pell City again to keep their season alive with a chance to play Southside for the third time this year in the tournament final.

As for this game, sophomore guard Eugene Leonard had a spectacular night as he poured in 21 points, including three 3-point baskets, and was one of four Jackets scoring in double figures.

Jakolbe McClendon added 15 points and seven rebounds. Braden Mack had 14 points and seven boards, while Simeon Shaddrix had 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Markise Davis scored all nine of his points in the first half.

The Jackets bolted to a 44-21 halftime lead and stretched it to as many as 34 points.

“These kids played well mentally and were able to stay aggressive the whole game,” Van Meter said. “Sometimes when you get a big lead you let up some, but we did not do that tonight.

“We held them to just 45 points on the defensive end and we stayed focused.”

The Yellow Jackets have won six of their last seven and are scoring big every night to go with a stifling defense. They forced Pell City into 26 turnovers in the game.

“Our guys are really figuring out how to play and let their talents come out,” Van Meter said. “They are playing hard, very hard. When they are playing this hard you do not mind an occasional bad shot or mistake.”

The Panthers were led by a big performance from Jamichael Lipscomb, who had 17 points and four rebounds.

Alexandria 93, Wellborn 74

Austin Taylor’s game-tying 3-pointer at the halftime horn and “some thoughts” from coach Jason Johnson during the break about playing defense saved the Alexandria Valley Cubs Monday night.

The Cubs were going through some Senior Night struggles early and combined with Wellborn sharp play they fell behind by double digits early in the game. Taylor drew them even with his buzzer beater and when their defense, rebounding and depth finally kicked in it touched off a big second-half run that carried them to the victory.

Taylor’s trey – one of two he hit in the first half and game – came after he raced under the goal to rebound Dalton Dodd’s missed 3-pointer. He collected the ball, got out to the left side of the arc, turned and fired. Just like that, the game was tied at 41.

“I just saw two seconds left and got the ball, shot it and it went in,” Taylor said. “It just got everybody going and excited and it made us go into the second half with more momentum.”

That momentum, coupled with Johnson’s not-too-subtle reminder about what the Cubs are all about, sparked a 22-2 run that covered about eight minutes of clock and gave them the game.

“I was just trying to remind them that that was not our identity,” Johnson said. “Our identity all year has been playing defense. The last few weeks we’ve been averaging giving up 40 to 50 a game and here we are giving up 41 at halftime.

“We had to get stops. After some thoughts about playing some defense at halftime I thought we came back with some better effort on the defensive end.”

The run took them from a 52-51 lead two minutes into the third quarter to 74-53 with about six minutes to play.

Jordan Montgomery had Wellborn’s only points in the run. In fact, he had the Panthers’ last points before it started and their first points when it ended. He finished with 24 points. Teammate Blake Hanson led all scorers with 30. Hanson is averaging 29.8 ppg in his last five games.

The Valley Cubs got scoring from 10 players. Chase Smitherman led the way with 19. Dodd had 17. They combined for 17 in a 25-point second quarter that helped bring them back. — Al Muskewitz

Wellborn’s Kelvin Evans (34) tries to get a shot over Alexandria’s Landon Williams. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Pleasant Valley 66, Ashville 52

JACKSONVILLE — Pleasant Valley scored its first victory of the season behind big games from its Big Three.

Josh Faucett scored 18 points and Caden Turner and Reid Hightower had 17 apiece as the Raiders snapped a losing streak of more than 20 games.

While the results haven’t been there, PV coach Ryan McCoy could see the breakthrough coming.

“I really believe these kids are playing some of the best ball we have played since I have been here, we just haven’t been able to get over the hump,” McCoy said. “The last 10 we have been mighty close in all but one.

“These kids could have million excuses, but like I told them I’m not shying away from what we are. We are one-and-whatever and we are better now than when we started the year. That’s one thing that bothered me most about last year. I didn’t feel like we got any better after Christmas. This year we are getting better every time we go out to practice or to play.

“Hopefully this will translate over to the next couple games and we can end the year on a high note and play Piedmont tough in the area tournament.”

Jacksonville Christian 90, Appalachian 88

JACKSONVILLE — Reed Murphy, who JCA coach Tommy Miller says always plays bigger than his 5-10 frame, scored 39 points and Jayden Mitchell grabbed 13 rebounds to give the Thunder a high-scoring victory.

JCA led by one when Walker Messer hit one of two free throws with 5.4 left to extend the lead. The Thunder couldn’t celebrate, however, until the Eagles last-ditch half-court shot at the buzzer fell short.

White Plains 60, Cleburne County 49

Michael McGuirk scored 18 points and the Wildcats got 17 unexpected points from Peyton Morgan in the absence of Macey Carr to get past Cleburne County.

After falling behind early, the Wildcats climbed back to make a game of it by halftime. They were particularly again from the free-throw line. The Wildcats are 27-of-24 for the game, 9-for-10 in the second quarter when they got back in it an

This roundup will be updated.

Monday’s Boys Box Scores
Oxford 77, Pell City 45
Jay Keith 1 0-0 2, Tyler Dowdy 1 5-7 7, Trey Evans 1 0-0 2, Hudson Hughes 0 0-0 0, Andrew Pender 3 2-2 10, Logan Estell 2 0-0 4, Michael Lipscomb 7 3-6 17, Tyler Locklar 0 3-4 3, Kinshan Trammell 0 0-0 0.

OXFORD (17-9) – Markise Davis 3 2-2 9, Jakolbe McClendon 4 7-9 16, Simeon Shadrix 4 0-0 11, Kendrick Foster 1 0-0 2, Eugene Leonard 7 3-6 20, Zondrick Garrett 2 1-1 5, Braden Mack 4 6-10 14, Ty Davis 0 0-0 0, Braden Higgins 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 19-28 77.

Pell City 8 13 16 8 — 45
Oxford 21 23 20 13 — 77

3-point goals: Pell City 2 (Pender 2); Oxford 8 (M. Davis, McClendon, Shadrix 3, Leonard 3).

Alexandria 93, Wellborn 74
Mitchell Raines 1 0-0 3, Eric Johnson 1 0-2 2, Jordan Montgomery 8 4-8 24, Devin Machristie 4 0-1 11, Kam Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Blake Hanson 9 12-16 30, Kelvin Evans 2 0-0 4. Totals 25 16-27 74.

ALEXANDRIA – Devan Grant 3 0-2 8, Chase Smitherman 7 5-6 19, Austin Taylor 2 0-0 6, Jake Weathington 1 0-0 2, Dru Davis 3 0-1 6, Jaylen Cunningham 0 0-0 0, Dalton Dodd 7 0-0 17, Romeo Dye 2 4-6 8, Thorne Thornton 0 0-0 0, Jamal Tucker 0 8-10 8, Josh Tucker 5 5-5 15, Landon Williams 2 0-0 4. Totals

Wellborn 23 18 12 21 — 74
Alexandria 16 25 25 27 — 93

3-point goals: Wellborn 8 (Raines, Montgomery 4, Machristie 3); Alexandria 7 (Grant 2, Taylor 2, Dodd 3). Fouled out: Montgomery. Total fouls: Wellborn 22, Alexandria 21. Officials: Tillery, Stringer, Smith.

White Plains 60, Cleburne County 49
Brock Swafford 2 0-0 4, Stashun Henson 4 4-5 12, Josh Brown 1 0-2 2, Chad Brown 1 1-2 3, Caleb Brown 3 1-4 7, Isavia Brown 5 0-1 13, A.J. Brown 0 0-2 0, William Morrow 0 0-0 0, Avery Gentry 1 1-2 3, John Robinson 1 2-2 4. Totals 18 9-15 49.

WHITE PLAINS – Jayden Jackson 0 0-0 0, Peyton Morgan 4 8-11 17, Dylan McCareeth 0 6-6 6, Austin McCarter 0 0-0 0, Michael McGuirk 6 5-6 18, Drake Preston 1 0-0 2, Gavin Burrage 1 3-5 6, Brett Beaver 3 5-6 11. Totals 15 27-34 60.

Cleburne County 16 7 10 16 — 49
White Plains 9 16 15 20 — 60

3-point goals: Cleburne County 4 (C. Brown, I. Brown 3); White Plains 3 (Burrage, McGuirk, Morgan). Technical foul: C. Brown. Fouled out: Beaver, Gentry. Total fouls: Cleburne County 26, White Plains 15. Officials: Calkins, Kelley, Hughes.

On the cover: Alexandria’s Jamal Tucker contemplates shooting the 3 or whipping a pass as he’s surrounded Wellborn defenders. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To see more B.J. Franklin photos from the Wellborn-Alexandria game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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