E.A. Sports Today

Milestone win

Piedmont wins another area tournament title, hands coach Tommy Lewis 600th career victory in the process

Piedmont basketball coach Tommy Lewis glances towards the scorers table as his team celebrates its area championship. On the cover, Lewis receives a ball from Piedmont principal Dr. Adam Clemons marking his 600th career coaching victory.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – There was a whole lot of celebrating going on in the Piedmont High School gym Friday night.

The Bulldogs won another boys basketball area tournament title with a 61-43 win over Glencoe in the Class 3A Area 10 finals and gave head coach Tommy Lewis his 600th career victory in the process.

Piedmont’s Lee Stanley was named tournament most valuable player. The senior guard scored only nine points, but he also had six rebounds and two steals and despite four fouls took over the game at a stretch in the fourth quarter when Glencoe was making its last best bid at a comeback.

Ryley Kirk led the Bulldogs (19-11) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Carl Myers and seventh-grader Alex Odam had 11 points each; Myers also had nine rebounds and five steals. All three joined Stanley on the all-tournament team.

Together it went into producing a milestone victory that will carry a little more meaning. He scored his 500th victory against one of his former teams, but other than that he doesn’t remember much of the other milestone wins. This latest one came with a title attached, sort of like a big-leaguer hitting his 500th career home run to clinch the pennant.

Lewis has now won 600 games over a 32-year coaching tenure that spans four schools – Gaylesville, Spring Garden, Cherokee County and Piedmont. It was his 224th victory in 12 seasons with the Bulldogs, making him the winningest coach in school history. Stanley called it “a great accomplishment for coach.”

Lewis’ teams have won 22 area titles (nine now at Piedmont), made 14 Northeast Regional appearances and been to five Final Fours (three with Piedmont). If the Bulldogs beat New Hope in their sub-regional game Tuesday night, he will be a 20-game winner for the 20th time.

“It means you’re getting old,” Lewis deadpanned about the milestone. “It just means I’ve coached a lot of really good players and kids, and anybody who’s done that will give you the same answer because it’s true: You don’t win unless you’ve got good players. It sounds like a stock answer, but it’s true.

“I’ve been real lucky. You can go back through every school I’ve been in I can name a great kid, a great team. I’ve been very, very lucky. I’ve hit schools at the right time, too. I’d say timing has been a lot of it because I’ve hit places where they just had big groups who wanted to play at that particular times.”

No. 600 wasn’t guaranteed here. The Bulldogs had to concentrate on a number of Glencoe players who could hurt them and the switches they like to play weren’t as easy as it seemed. As it was, Cam Harris and Bryan Benefield led Glencoe (10-21) with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The game was tight until Piedmont scored the last nine points nine points of the second quarter — capped by Odam’s 3-pointer right before the horn — to take a 23-15 halftime lead. The Bulldogs put an exclamation point on their fourth straight area title and ninth in 11 years when Jakari Foster threw one at the basket from near midcourt at the buzzer and it found the bottom of the net.

“I’m proud of this one because … we pretty much had a group that was starting fresh, from scratch,” Lewis said. “Usually we have some carryover, but this is the first year in I can’t tell you how many where I just didn’t have anybody who had started for me last year. They had some growing pains.

“I think before the season started if you’d have asked me and the coaching staff we were hoping .500 would have been a great year. We snuck some from people we really didn’t think we’d sneak some from.”
Piedmont 61, Glencoe 43
GLENCOE (10-21) –
Brandon Bishop 0 0-0 0, Noah Huff 0 1-2 1, Cade McCarver 1 0-0 3, Colton Stone 0 1-2 1, Zack Hare 0 0-0 0, Patrick Johnson 0 0-0 0, Jakeb Amberson 1 2-3 4, Cam Harris 6 0-2 12, Alec Pointer 0 0-0 0, Bryan Benefield 4 2-2 11, Collin Roberts 1 4-6 6, Bradley Scott 1 0-0 2, Collin Hardy 1 0-0 3, Braden Long 0 0-1 0, Daniel Maye 0 0-2 0. Totals 15 10-20 43.

PIEDMONT (19-11) – Carl Myers 3 5-6 11, Kaedon Jenkins 2 0-0 4, Delo Foster 2 0-0 4, Elijah Johnson 0 0-0 0, Ryley Kirk 5 3-4 15, Logan Pruitt 0 0-0 0, Lee Stanley 4 0-6 9, Alex Odam 3 3-4 11, T.J. Fairs 2 0-0 4, Malachi Jackson 0 0-0 0, Jakari Foster 1 0-0 3, Sean Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 11-20 61.

Glencoe 7 8 12 16 — 43
Piedmont 9 14 20 18 — 61

3-point goals: Glencoe 3 (McCarver, Benefield, Hardy); Piedmont 6 (Kirk 2, Stanley, Odam 2, Foster). Total fouls: Glencoe 18, Piedmont 18. Officials: Casey Rager, Anthony Dupree, Kyle Chambers. All-tournament team: Lee Stanley, Piedmont (MVP); Ryley Kirk, Piedmont; Carl Myers, Piedmont; Alex Odam, Piedmont; Cam Harris, Glencoe; Jakeb Amberson, Glencoe; Collin Roberts, Glencoe; Ethan Johnson, Pleasant Valley, Caden Turner, Pleasant Valley.


Hokes Bluff 58, Jacksonville 43: The Golden Eagles struggled in the second and fourth quarters and fell in the area championship game. They were in the game after the first quarter, then were outscored 15-4 in the second to fall behind 14 at the break. They cut their deficit in half going into the fourth quarter, then were outscored again 16-8.

Landon Johnson led Hokes Bluff with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Hayden Lipsomb had 16 points and Donavon Greaves 12.

Jacksonville shot only 30 percent from the field, 3-of-25 from 3-point range. Macey Carr was its only scorer in double figures (13 points.).

The Golden Eagles will travel to Area 13 champion Sardis for their sub-regional game next week.

Hokes Bluff 58, Jacksonville 43
Macey Carr 6-12 1-2 13, Ron Wiggins 3-9 1-2 8, Jaden Barksdale 2-3 1-1 5, DeAndre McCain 1-3 3-3 5, DeMarien Stewart 1-5 0-0 3, Donovan McCain 1-4 1-2 3, Alex Davis 1-1 1-2 3, Cade Landers 1-10 0-0 3, Alex Gilbert 0-3 0-0 0, Jay Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Carter Landers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-52 8-12 43.

HOKES BLUFF – Landon Johnson 8-14 4-5 22, Hayden Lipsomb 7-10 2-6 16, Donavon Greaves 2-5 7-10 12, Braydon Hill 1-2 2-3 4, Ashton Gulledge 0-1 4-4 4, Jace Stewart 0-2 0-0 0, Dalton Daughdrill 0-0 0-0 0, Cole Contris 0-0 0-0 0, Payton Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Rieger 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Teague 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-35 19-28 58.

Jacksonville 13 4 18 8 — 43
Hokes Bluff 16 15 11 16 — 58

3-point goals: Jacksonville 3-25 (Carr 0-3, Wiggins 1-3, Barksdale 0-1, De. McCain 0-2, Stewart 1-4, Do. McCain 0-1, Cd. Landers 1-7, Gilbert 0-2, Davis 0-2); Hokes Bluff 3-10 (Johnson 2-5, Greaves 1-4, Stewart 0-1). Rebounds: Jacksonville 27 (Carr 9); Hokes Bluff 33 (Johnson 11). Fouled out: De. McCain. Total fouls: Jacksonville 20, Hokes Bluff 12.

Here are the Piedmont players who made the Class 3A Area 10 All-Tournament Team (from left): Carl Myers, Ryley Kirk, Alex Odam and MVP Lee Stanley.

Here is the rest of the All-Tournament Team (from left): Ethan Johnson and Caden Turner of Pleasant Valley, Cam Harris, Jakeb Amberson and Collin Roberts of Glencoe.

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