E.A. Sports Today

Delo, Drake deliver

Boys roundup: Delo Foster blocks 16 shots in Piedmont’s victory; Drake Preston scores 21 for White Plains

Drake Preston (15) scored 21 points as White Plains dumped Cleburne County; on the cover, Piedmont’s Delo Foster (shown in a game against Saks), blocked 16 shots against Weaver. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – Delo Foster says he doesn’t really worry about the number of points he scores. He just wants to contribute to the team.

The 6-foot-5 post contributed in a big way Monday, on the defensive end. He scored only three points — the margin of victory in Piedmont’s 60-57 takedown of Weaver — but he blocked a whopping 16 shots – 10 in the first quarter and 13 in the first half.

“I really don’t have words for it, really,” Foster said. “That’s the first time having that many blocks. I really don’t worry about points, but I try to contribute on my team so we can get the win.”

He was so active sending opposing shots back where they came from, the Piedmont coaches ran out of room on the stat sheet trying to keep up with them all. There were several times he blocked multiple shots in the same possession.

And when he wasn’t blocking shots, he made the Bearcats think twice about coming inside against him and then he altered their shot when they did.

“They knew I was there,” he said.

Yes they did, but they didn’t adjust.

“You’ve just got to know how to play against a big,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said. “We haven’t played against a big like that yet and the thing you can’t do against a big is … you’ve gotta be more aggressive. You’ve got to learn how to use your body because if you show him the ball, well, you can see what he’s going to do with it. You have to attack aggression with aggression.”

The 16 blocks tied 6-foot Jamichael Swain of Dora (2009-10) and 6-6 Stanley Wormely of Jones Valley (1985-86) for third on the state’s all-time single-game list, according to AHSAA records. William Lee of Dallas County (6-8), the state’s all-time leading rejector now at UAB, holds the record with 26 in a game during the 2011-12 season. Wormely, who went on to play at Samford and professionally in Australia also had a game of 17 blocks.

Foster couldn’t remember blocking any more than six or seven in a game before Monday. He now has 70 blocked shots for the season. He also grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals.

“That he did it out of the man was what really what was amazing,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said. “That showed some improvement in his game.”

Even with all the blocks Foster had in the first quarter, Weaver still managed to hold an 18-16 lead when it ended. But Piedmont was just getting started. The Bulldogs scored the first nine points of the second quarter and opened a 33-26 halftime lead.

Foster picked up his third foul in the final second of the first half and it caused him to play a little less aggressive in the third quarter. Lewis strategically removed him from the game in the fourth quarter to prevent Weaver from playing a certain way but that void actually helped the Bearcats get back in it.

They never overtook the lead, but got it within four with 2:45 to play and to 55-53 with a minute left. Foster’s only field goal of the game – a layup off a turnover – made it 57-53 with 47 seconds left.

It was a 59-57 game when Carl Myers hit the first free throw in a two-shot situation with 5.5 seconds left. Weaver’s Shamar Spinks launched a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it missed the mark.

Piedmont’s T.J. Fairs led all scorers with 21 points, including two free throws with 19.3 seconds left that gave the Bulldogs a four-point lead. Spinks led Weaver with 20 points and London Knight had 18, 11 in the fourth quarter.

“If we played with the intensity like we had in the fourth quarter like were supposed to and understand our defensive concepts … we’ll be OK,” Hamby said. “We don’t need any more setbacks right now.”

White Plains 80, Cleburne County 65: Drake Preston scored 21 points, Matthew Clay scored 16 and the Wildcats hit 28 of 33 free throws. Gavin Burrage was 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points.

Preston gave the Wildcats points in every quarter. He scored eight points in the first half as the Wildcats opened a 42-33 halftime lead and eight in the fourth quarter when they sealed it.

“He was patient and solid,” Wildcats coach Chris Randall said. “He didn’t force things. He kept things simple.”

MONDAY’S BOX SCORES
Piedmont 60, Weaver 57
WEAVER (11-6) –
Taylor Deck 0 0-0 0, London Knight 7 4-5 18, Robert Gaines 5 0-2 10, Shamar Spinks 8 2-3 20, Dalton Hamby 1 2-4 4, Gary Wallace 0 0-0 0, Amardric Elston 2 1-3 5, Brandon Heath 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 9-17 57.

PIEDMONT (12-6) – Carl Myers 3 1-2 9, Kaedon Jenkins 3 2-4 8, Delo Foster 1 1-4 3, Ryley Kirk 4 2-2 13, Lee Stanley 2 2-3 6, Silas Thompson 0 0-0 0, T.J. Fairs 7 6-10 21, Sean Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 14-25 60.

Weaver 18 8 12 19 — 57
Piedmont 16 17 15 12 — 60

3-point goals: Weaver 2 (Spinks 2); Piedmont 6 (Myers 2, Kirk 3, Fairs). Total fouls: Weaver 20, Piedmont 17. Officials: Miller, Wise, Phillips.

White Plains 80, Cleburne County 65
CLEBURNE COUNTY –
A.J. Brown 4 2-6 12, Tashun Hall 1 0-0 3, Chase Smith 0 0-0 0, Zane Farr 0 0-0 0, Rico Jordan 1 0-0 3, Bradley Smith 0 2-2 2, Reese Morrison 4 3-4 11, Isavia Brown 8 5-9 23, Gage Herron 0 0-0 0, Art Thompson 1 0-0 2, Ben Casey 2 3-4 9. Totals 21 15-25 65.

WHITE PLAINS (8-9) – Coleman Messer 2 0-0 4, Houston Conger 2 4-4 9, Chase Helms 3 1-2 8, Pierson Branham 0 0-2 0, Austin Bussey 2 0-0 5, Drake Preston 8 4-4 21, Matthew Clay 3 8-11 16, Jaden Harris 0 0-0 0, Ethan Bozarth 1 4-4 6, Gavin Burrage 2 7-8 11. Totals 23 28-33 80.

Cleburne County 18 15 15 17 — 65
White Plains 21 21 13 25 — 80

3-point goals: Cleburne County 8 (AJ Brown 2, Hall, Jordan, I. Brown 2, Casey 2); White Plains 6 (Conger, Helms, Bussey, Preston, Clay 2). Technical fouls: Hall, Morrison. Fouled out: Jordan. Total fouls: Cleburne County 28, White Plains 22. Officials: Boyd, Meeks, Ratliff.

White Plains captain Gavin Burrage (24) looks for the open man as he draws three Cleburne County defenders to him. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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