E.A. Sports Today

He’s back

Carr returns to White Plains with new team, helps Golden Eagles score big area road win; J’ville girls ‘D’ it up

White Plains’ Coleman Messer (3) and Houston Conger (4) bottle up Jacksonville’s DeAndre McCain during their game Tuesday night. On the cover, Macey Carr (2) tries to drive past former teammate Gavin Burrage in his return to White Plains as a member of the Jacksonville basketball team. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jacksonville coach Cordell Hunt may have summed up his team’s big area game with White Plains best as he bounced down the stairs on his way to the winner’s locker room when it was over. It was like a heavyweight fight, he said, and the Golden Eagles got in the last shot.

On a night filled with emotion on all sides, the surging Golden Eagles held off their hosts in the final minute to get their second area win of the season 38-36.

Just because there weren’t a lot of points scored, don’t think it wasn’t intense.

See a photo gallery from the doubleheader at www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

The subplot to the game was the return of Macey Carr to White Plains in a Jacksonville uniform. Carr helped the Wildcats win two area championships during his time with them, but transferred to Jacksonville over the summer for a new environment.

It actually was the second game Carr has played against his old school since transferring – he played here in football this fall – and there was a lot of give and take in the gym on both sides.

Carr drew a mix of cheers and jeers when he was announced in pre-game introductions and even stopped to share a moment with White Plains coach Chris Randall about former teammate Michael McGuirk on the way back to his bench. The crowd let him hear it every time he turned it over or got a foul, but he took it in stride and often times brought into an accepting smile. Of course, he relished his moments to give it back, too.

“It was kind of weird because you’ve got people over here that’s hating on me because I’m at the new school, but it’s … whatever,” he said. “So I just had to come here and set a statement.

“I knew from the jump they would probably try to get me out of the game early so I had to keep my composure so I could play with my team. I had to make everything work.”

Carr was active in the first quarter, scoring six points, grabbing five rebounds and making two steals as the Golden Eagles opened an 8-2 lead. He cut down the lane on Jacksonville’s first possession, got fouled and made a free throw to open the scoring. Later in the quarter he had a three-point play and two more free throws.

He really got loose in the second quarter when Randall acknowledged he dictated the flow of the game. He closed the half with a flourish, breaking a 19-all tie with a 3-pointer from the left corner and then converting a Ron Wiggins steal and lob pass into a thunderous dunk at the buzzer that cost him a technical foul for hanging on the rim.

Carr finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds – both game highs. He didn’t score many points in the fourth quarter, but his presence was influential down the stretch despite playing with four fouls.

“Macey played really good right there at the end … controlling the floor,” Hunt said. “I knew it would be rough for him to come back home, people would be on him a little bit, but I thought he handled it great. He kept his head in the game, got us in what we were supposed to be in, got us what we need. You did that story on the edge earlier this year, I thought he was a big part of that energy we talk about every game.”

“Macey’s the type of guy when he gets going it makes his teammates feel like the hoop gets bigger for everybody,” Randall said.

DeMarien Stewart’s basket with 2:24 to play put Jacksonville ahead 35-34 and the Golden Eagles (7-1, 2-0) never lost the lead. Wiggins pushed the lead to three with 45 seconds left with two free throws and it went to four with 23 seconds to go.

Matthew Clay’s basket made it 38-36 with 15 seconds to go, but he missed the completion of a three-point play that would have made it a one-point game. Pierson Branham kept the ball alive, but the Wildcats (5-4, 0-1) missed their third front end of a one-and-one with nine seconds left.

The Wildcats were 7 of 15 from the free throw line, which Randall called the difference for his team. It also didn’t help they hit only one of 18 shots from 3-point range.

Jacksonville had a chance to seal the game with two free throws with 7.4 seconds left, but Donovan McCain, still feeling the effects of the flu that kept him out of Monday night’s game with Ohatchee, missed both shots. White Plains had the last shot and Clay took an off-balanced 3-pointer under pressure that hit the rim.

“I thought we guarded really good and fought them on the glass, we just didn’t make enough shots on the other end,” Randall said. “I felt like we got really good looks in the fourth quarter. I kept thinking we were going to hit that big momentum 3 that was going to change the game. We just never did. We had our chances, that’s for sure.”

“They kept fighting but we were able to hang in there and get maybe the last punch of it,” Hunt said. “It was a heavyweight bout and we were able to get the last one.”

Defense keys girls’ win

Jacksonville won the girls game 43-8, holding White Plains without a field goal in the first half.

The Golden Eagles scored the first 20 points of the game and held White Plains scoreless until Jocelyn Harris’ successful one-and-one with 2:44 left in the first half. The Lady Wildcats didn’t score their first field goal until Landry Bussey’s inside basket 2:30 into the third quarter.

“We tried to make what they did difficult and did a decent job,” Jacksonville coach Tres Buzan said. “I’ve got five girls who have played for me before and three seniors on the starting five. When we decide to set a tone like that we’re usually pretty good defensively.”

In addition to holding their hosts off the scoreboard for so long, the Golden Eagles forced White Plains into 26 turnovers. Kyra Williams had six of their 12 steals.

“That was the best defense we have seen in a while; they guarded us,” Randall said. “Once it got going, the girls started pressing a little bit.”

Jacksonville 38, White Plains 36
Macey Carr 5-12 6-12 17, Ron Wiggins 2-7 3-5 7, DeMarien Stewart 2-5 0-2 5, Alex Davis 2-4 0-0 4, Donovan McCain 1-1 0-4 2, Cade Landers 1-7 0-0 2, DeAndre McCain 0-4 1-2 1, DeDarien Savage 0-1 0-0 0, Carter Landers 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Gilbert 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-41 10-25 38.

WHITE PLAINS (5-4) – Matthew Clay 4-13 6-8 14, Pierson Branham 3-4 0-3 6, Gavin Burrage 3-5 0-0 6, Chase Helms 2-5 0-1 5, Jaden Harris 1-1 0-1 2, Coleman Messer 1-2 0-0 2, Austin Bussey 0-3 1-2 1, Houston Conger 0-0 0-0 0, Nicholas Preston 0-5 0-0 0, Ethan Bozarth 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-40 7-15 36.

Jacksonville 8 16 5 9 — 38
White Plains 2 19 9 6 — 36

3-point goals: Jacksonville 2-13 (Carr 1-4, Wiggins 0-2, Stewart 1-3, Cd. Landers 0-2, DA McCain 0-2). White Plains 1-18 (Clay 0-6, Burrage 0-1, Helms 1-4, Messer 0-1, Bussey 0-1, Conger 0-2, Preston 0-3). Rebounds: Jacksonville 37 (Carr 8, Do. McCain 7). White Plains 31 (Clay 6, Branham 6). Fouled out: Burrage. Total fouls: Jacksonville 20, White Plains 21. Officials: Kelley, Oden, Watson.

Jacksonville 43, White Plains 8
Kayla Broom 2-7 8-14 12, Kyra Williams 3-12 5-6 11, Essence Hutchinson 3-5 0-0 8, Elizabeth Poe 1-2 0-0 2, Aniya Jefferson 1-3 0-4 2, Brenna Stone 1-1 0-0 2, Patience Carr 0-1 2-4 2, Malijah Goggins 1-1 0-1 2, TiAsia Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Idea Gray 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Hall 0-2 0-0 0, Destoni Edwars 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-35 15-29 43.

WHITE PLAINS (4-6) – Lily Ponder 1-7 1-2 3, Jocelyn Harris 0-0 2-2 2, Landry Bussey 1-2 0-0 2, Hannah Dyar 0-2 1-3 1, Jordan Sabree 0-3 0-3 0, Marisu Chandler 0-1 0-0 0, Callyn Martin 0-5 0-0 0, Chasity Nelson 0-3 0-3 0, Angel Bozarth 0-0 0-0 0, Ary Rosario 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 2-25 4-13 8.

Jacksonville 10 15 10 8 — 43
White Plains 0 2 3 3 — 8

3-point goals: Jacksonville 2-12 (Broom 0-3, K. Williams 0-4, Hutchinson 2-4, Carr 0-1); White Plains 0-9 (Ponder 0-3, Dyar 0-2, Chandler 0-1, Martin 0-1, Nelson 0-2). Rebounds: Jacksonville 37 (Broom 9, Poe 8); White Plains 25 (Harris 5). Total fouls: Jacksonville 18, White Plains 20. Officials: Watkins, Kelley, Askew.

Jacksonville’s defense kept White Plains bottled up all night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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