E.A. Sports Today

PV answers the bell

Lady Raiders, Alexandria, Wellborn win girls games; Tuesday’s games moved to Wednesday in advance of inclement weather

Pleasant Valley’s Emma Hood (22) and Karmyn Sparks focus on grabbing a rebound against Faith Christian. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Calhoun County Girls Tournament
Monday’s games
Alexandria 68, Saks 45
Wellborn 54, JCA 38
Pleasant Valley 56, Faith Christian 23
Wednesday’s games
Piedmont vs. Alexandria, 4 p.m.
Weaver vs. Anniston, 7 p.m.
Thursday’s games
Wellborn vs. Oxford, 5:30 p.m.
Pleasant Valley vs. Jacksonville, 8:30 p.m.

With winter weather expected to descend into the area overnight, tournament officials have decided to cancel Tuesday’s schedule and push all of those games into Wednesday, a scheduled off day for the tournament.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Brad Hood was really concerned about the way his Pleasant Valley girls basketball team would handle playing on the big stage.

After what happened to the Lady Raiders the last time they played in the Calhoun County Tournament at Jacksonville State and having only two regulars who have played there before, he wondered how they’d react.

The Lady Raiders answered the bell Monday, overwhelming 15th-seeded Faith Christian 56-23 and advancing to face second-seeded Jacksonville Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

The Lady Raiders put three players in double figures. Emma Hood led the way with 14 points, Karmyn Sparks continued her recent run of strong play with 13 and Mac Parris had 12.

“You always wonder how the kids will respond in this atmosphere,” Hood said. “I watched several games earlier and the higher seed has come out and not really performed well the first half and then they just kind of take care of business and finish them off.”

Last year the Lady Raiders had expected a deep run in the tournament only to get put out by Weaver in the quarterfinals. They were the No. 2 seed, one of the last teams to play, which should have been an advantage, and laid an egg against one of the most inspired teams in the field.

This time they were looking to come out fast and did, jumping to a 20-9 lead and extending it to 40-17 at the half. Sparks scored six of their first eight points and the rout was on.

“You just always wonder about how they respond, being young,” Hood said. “I tell them they’re not young anymore. They’re sophomores, but they have 22 games under them. We’ve played more games than anyone in the county. Twenty-two games is a lot of basketball.

“See what we do with Jacksonville. It’s a tall order. They’re much improved. I think our girls are growing and getting better every day.”

Lady Cubs get through opener

Alexandria eighth-grader Ashley Phillips (L) races up the floor against the defense of Saks’ Amya Carlise. Phillips led the Lady Cubs with 16 points. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Alexandria coach Craig Kiker was sure glad his team built a big early lead.

The Valley Cubs surged to nearly a 20-point lead in the first quarter, but watched it get down to single digits in the fourth quarter, then pulled away down the stretch to take out Saks 68-45 in the Calhoun County Girls Basketball Tournament at Jacksonville State.

They’ll play fourth-seeded Piedmont 4 p.m. Thursday.

Alexandria jumped out front 23-4 and was up 30-11 before it started developing foul trouble and allowing Saks back in it. The Lady Wildcats’ did it smartly, too; every time Lady Cubs star Brie Bradford left the game they cut a little more off their deficit.

Saks got it down to seven with just over seven minutes to play, but then Ashley Phillips and Kaitlyn Harvey stepped up to keep the Lady Wildcats from getting any closer. Phillips, an eighth-grader, got it started with a free throw and then Harvey hit back-to-back buckets to push the lead back into double digits.

About this time Bradford re-entered the game with four fouls, but that didn’t slow down Phillips. She scored the Lady Cubs’ next eight points – wrapping two 3-pointers around a couple free throws – and Alexandria began pulling away. She finished with a game-high 16 points.

“Phillips was probably most valuable player of today’s game,” Kiker said. “To just be an eighth-grader she is really, really improving day by day. She does things you can’t teach.

“I think we’re learning – we didn’t show it real good tonight – but I think we’re playing better without (Bradford) than maybe we did today. The other night against Douglas we beat them pretty good and Brie only had three points. We’re shooting it a little better, too.”

Lady Panthers pull away

Vanessa (3) and Katessa Carter attack the goal during their game with JCA. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Wellborn may not have played one of its best games and has some things to clean up before taking on third-seeded Oxford Thursday night, but Lady Panthers coach Shanese Morgan believes she may have found a new third option to take down the stretch.

The Lady Panthers beat Jacksonville Christian 54-38, pulling away from a tight game in the second half.

Wellborn only led by four at halftime, but Itiania Weatherly came to life in the third quarter and helped the Lady Panthers pull away.

Most of the focus on the Lady Panthers is directed at Vanessa and Katessa Carter, but Weatherly could be the newest piece to the team-leading trio now that injured Anaya Lowe is out for the remainder of the season.

Weatherly scored all 11 of her points against the Thunder in the second half. She had six in the third quarter when the Lady Panthers doubled their halftime lead and tossed in the other five in the fourth quarter when they pulled away.

Vanessa and Katessa had 20 and 16 points, respectively.

“Itiania is an explosion on the floor, one of the fastest girls I’ve ever seen,” Morgan said. “She is the hardest worker I’ve seen. Whatever mistake she makes, she gets back on defense and tries to make up for it there. She really wants to improve and from last year to this year I’ve seen it. Her in the game makes it a different game.”

And now she’s taking on a new role, moving more inside to replace Lowe, who’s been out since undergoing knee surgery in December. According to Morgan, Weatherly has “stepped up to the challenge.”


Alexandria 68, Saks 45
SAKS (2-12) –
Amya Carlise 2 3-6 7, Stefanie Christopher 1 4-6 6, Takeidra Borden 0 6-12 6, Teana Edwards 3 0-0 7, Takierra Hudson 0 0-0 0, Miracle Dennard 3 5-11 11, DeArian Stewart 1 0-0 3, Miracle Bass 2 0-0 4. Totals 12 18-35 45.

ALEXANDRIA (13-5) – Ashley Phillips 5 3-4 16, Destiny Heathcock 3 0-0 6, Kayleigh Steen 3 0-0 7, Kaitlin Harvey 4 1-3 9, Kameron Simpson 2 1-3 6, Sarah Kilgore 0 0-0 0, Brie Bradford 4 4-7 12, Alierra Bradford 1 0-0 2, Allison Bonds 2 0-0 6, Maggie Phillips 2 0-0 4. Totals 26 9-17 68.

Saks 7 16 11 11 — 45
Alexandria 23 12 6 27 — 68

3-point goals: Saks 3 (Edwards 2, Stewart); Alexandria 7 (A. Phillips 3, Steen, Simpson, Bonds 2). Fouled out: Heathcock. Total fouls: Saks 19, Alexandria 24. Officials: Hughes, Kendall, Pryor.

Wellborn 54, Jacksonville Christian 38
JCA (4-11) –
Kylie Cupp 2 1-4 6, Rebekah Carter 1 0-0 2, Briah Kupp 3 4-6 11, Mia Morales 2 1-3 5, Elizabeth Goss 1 0-0 2, Kourtney Wallace 0 0-0 0, Sidney Hancock 4 4-6 12.

WELLBORN (11-6) – Taliyah Kirby 0 0-0 0, Vanessa Carter 8 3-6 20, Itiania Weatherly 5 1-2 11, Katessa Carter 7 2-4 16, Kristyne Haisch 1 0-0 2, Markeisha Jones 2 1-2 5. Totals 23 7-14 54.

JCA 9 9 9 11 — 38
Wellborn 11 11 13 19 — 54

3-point goals: JCA 2 (K. Cupp, B. Cupp); Wellborn 1 (V. Carter). Total fouls: JCA 11, Wellborn 16. Officials: Lail, Corley, Brown.

Pleasant Valley 56, Faith Christian 23
Emily Sills 3 0-0 7, Montana Huie 0 0-0 0, Logan Boyd 0 0-0 0, Kristin Covington 4 0-2 8, Sydnee Johnson 2 1-2 6, Sarah Kate McVeigh 0 0-0 0, Savanna Gibbons 1 0-0 2. Totals 10 1-2 23.

PLEASANT VALLEY (12-10) – Lindsey Pritchett 1 0-0 2, Mac Parris 5 0-2 12, Rylee Haynes 2 0-0 4, Alyssa Cash 2 0-0 4, Chandler Dorsett 0 1-2 1, Emma Hood 7 0-1 14, Karmyn Sparks 6 1-2 13, Brooke Perry 3 0-0 6. Totals 26 2-7 56.

Faith Christian 9 8 2 4 — 23
Pleasant Valley 20 20 6 10 — 56

3-point goals: Faith 2 (Sills, Johnson); PV 2 (Parris 2). Total fouls: Faith 6, PV 8.
Officials: Burns, Zauchin, Williams.

Alexandria’s Sarah Kilgore moves in against Saks’ Miracle Dennard (20). To see a gallery of photos from all three Monday girls games visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login