E.A. Sports Today

Lady Cards come up short

Roundup: Upstart Sacred Heart rallies from 11 down to get within one and had a shot to tie in the closing seconds

Weaver’s Amira Carter (R) defends against North Sand Mountain’s Arianna Christopher Monday night. On the cover, Christopher goes to the basket between Trinity Pullium (L) and Rayne Beck. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

NE REGIONAL SUBREGION GAMES
CLASS 1A
Cedar Bluff 60, Coosa Christian 47
Spring Garden 84, Whitesburg Christian 21
Decatur Heritage 46, Sacred Heart 43
Skyline 73, Appalachian 29
Thursday at JSU
Cedar Bluff vs. Spring Garden, 3 p.m.
Decatur Heritage vs. Skyline, 6 p.m.
Championship game, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

CLASS 2A
Section 49, Ranburne 43
Sand Rock 45, LaFayette 44
Collinsville 58, Lanett 39
Vincent 60, Fyffe 29
Friday at JSU
Section vs. Sand Rock, 3 p.m.
Collinsville vs. Vincent, 6 p.m.
Championship game, Monday, 3 p.m.

CLASS 3A
North Sand Mountain 74, Weaver 57
Glencoe 52, Brindlee Mountain 18
Geraldine 55, Piedmont 49
Pisgah 81, Wellborn 32
Saturday at JSU
North Sand Mountain vs. Glencoe, 9 a.m.
Geraldine vs. Pisgah, noon
Championship game, Feb. 20, 4 p.m.

CLASS 4A
Madison County 56, Handley 47
Jacksonville 55, DAR 38
Hokes Bluff 52, North Jackson 33
Madison Academy 43, Anniston 36
Monday at JSU
Madison County vs. Jacksonville, 9 a.m.
Hokes Bluff vs. Madison Academy, noon
Championship game, Feb. 21, noon

CLASS 5A
Talladega 54, Boaz 26
Arab 68, Corner 56
Scottsboro 66, Mortimer Jordan 32
Alexandria 46, Cleburne County 36
Saturday at JSU
Talladega vs. Arab, 3 p.m.
Scottsboro vs. Alexandria, 6 p.m.
Championship game, Feb. 21, 9 a.m.

CLASS 6A
Center Point 61, Cullman 55
Ramsay 60, Pell City 38
Homewood 60, Southside-Gadsden 43
Brewer 43, Clay-Chalkville 38
Friday at JSU
Center Point vs. Ramsay, 9 a.m.
Homewood vs. Brewer, noon
Championship game, Feb. 20, 12:30 p.m.

To see a photo gallery from the North Sand Mountain-Weaver game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

By East Alabama Sports Today

DECATUR – Sacred Heart’s girls got the shot they wanted in the end. It just came up a little short.

The Lady Cardinals staged a furious comeback and came within seconds of extending their first Class 1A subregion tournament game in school history Monday night, but when Sierra Pittman’s last-second 3-pointer fell off the rim and they couldn’t get another shot in time, the result was a 46-43 setback to Decatur Heritage.

“Tonight was really big for us,” Lady Cardinals coach Marcus Harrell said. “We were on shot away from going to JSU. Anytime we can do that, it’s big.”

Just as big was what they did to get there. The Lady Cardinals have been defying the odds all season and were down 11 in the fourth quarter of this one when something clicked inside them and started to rally.

They got to within a point of the lead inside 30 seconds left on two Joelle Tillery free throws. But they had to foul to keep their hopes alive and the Lady Eagles hit two free throws to take their lead back to three.

Sacred Heart got the ball back with 10.3 seconds left, made sure all of its shooters were in the game, and drew up the final play.

The Lady Cardinals got the shot they wanted. Pittman, a freshman, hit a 3-pointer earlier in the game, but this one hit the rim. Myiah Harris got the rebound, but didn’t have enough time to get back to the arc and get off another shot.

“We called a timeout (down 11) and just reminded the girls how much work they put in and this was not the time to let that go to waste,” Harrell said of the rally. “We fought so hard tonight. I’m so proud of them because at the beginning of the year we couldn’t overcome it when we got down. We’d shut down and got blown out.

“But they believe in the system and the process, and that’s the difference. If we could put up a picture of what it looked at the beginning of the year and now, people would be amazed.”

Ayanna Foster was huge for Sacred Heart in the second half, making a personal mission to pick up every loose ball possible and scoring 14 of her 22 points. She had eight in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Cardinals have basically played their equivalent of the three-time state champion boys team’s heavyweight schedule and while it didn’t do anything for their record this year Harrell is convinced the seasoning they got is what got them to this point.

“Obviously this is heartbreaking,” Harrell said. “It hurts, but it’s a good thing it hurts because it means something. It’s good to see the hurt now. We’re going to use that hurt and tonight is going to be nothing but a springboard for us to the future.”

Spring Garden 84, Whitesburg Christian 21: The top-ranked Lady Panthers had their way with the Lady Warriors, scoring 34 points in the first quarter and 54 in the first half. Tyonna Rogers scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter and Payton McGinnis had 12 of her 14.

The Lady Panthers (26-3) will play Cedar Bluff (19-12) in their Northeast Region opener at JSU.

Class 3A: Weaver, Piedmont fall, Glencoe advances

Weaver’s Caleigh Cortez (3) fights for position against North Sand Mountain’s Paige Boren. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

WEAVER – Gary Atchley knew North Sand Mountain could shoot the basketball, but even he was impressed with what he saw.

The Lady Bison hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter and seven of their nine in the first half on the way to dispatching Atchley’s Weaver team 74-56.

The Lady Bearcats got the early lead through their press, but every time Atchley turned around the Lady Bison hit a 3 either to stay close or, eventually, forge ahead.

“We played good, they just shot our eyeballs out,” Atchley said. “Every time we got up four, they’d hit a 3. We’d get it back to 11, they’d hit a 3. I knew they could shoot; none of them were wide open shots. We ran them and ran them, we just couldn’t get over the hump. We were swapping 2s for 3s.”

Leading scorer Taylor Stone hit four 3-pointers for North Sand Mountain and finished with 28 points. Arianna Christopher hit three 3s and had 21.

Rayne Beck led three Weaver scorers in double figures with 13 points. Caleigh Cortez had 12 and Amira Carter 11. Beck closed her Weaver career with 1,126 points. Cortez goes into next season with 1,116.

The Lady Bearcats finished the season 16-16 after losing leading scorer Mariah Thompson to a season-ending knee injury early in the year. Other teams may have wilted under such adversity, but Weaver got its highest county tournament seed in 10 years, won more games than it had in 10 years and won its area championship for the first time in nearly 15 years.

“They wrote us off when Mariah got hurt, but all the girls stepped up and played good,” Atchley said. “This year’s team played as hard as any team I’ve seen every night. You can win a lot of ballgames like that.”

Geraldine 55, Piedmont 49: The Lady Bulldogs (20-10) used a big third quarter to rally from a nine-point halftime deficit and got within two late in the fourth quarter, but could not get over the hump.

They trailed 48-46 and had the ball, but missed a shot and then made a turnover. They were forced to foul at that point and the Lady Bulldogs made five of six free throws down the stretch to close it out.

Sydney Prater had six of her eight points in the third quarter to play a big role in the comeback. Pinky Nation led Piedmont with 17 points, scoring six in the first and six in the fourth. ZaHayla Walker added 10 points.

Geraldine hit four 3-pointers in the first half to forge its halftime lead, two by Cassie Black (11 points). Jessie Roberts led all scorers with 18 points; she had six in the second quarter, nine in the fourth and a 3-pointer in between.

Glencoe 52, Brindlee Mountain 18: The Lady Jackets (20-8) held Brindlee Mountain scoreless in the first quarter and opened a 25-0 lead before turning off the press. Nine Glencoe players scored, led by Anna Beth Giles’ 19 points. Giles had nine in the first quarter, 11 in the first half. Glencoe plays North Sand Mountain in their Northeast Region opener.

Class 4A: Broom, Williams give J’ville big game

Jacksonville 65, DAR 38: It’s going to feel a little like a home game for the Lady Golden Eagles after they advanced to JSU for the first time under coach Tres Buzan.

Kyra Williams led three Jacksonville scorers in double figures with 19 points. Essence Hutchinson had 16 and Kayla Broom had 13 on 6-of-8 shooting.

Broom (seven) and Williams combined for 13 of Jacksonville’s 18 steals and the Lady Golden Eagles scored 29 points off the 32 turnovers they created (DAR scored 0 off Jacksonville turnovers). Broom also had four assists and four rebounds.

The Lady Golden Eagles will play Madison County in their Class 4A Sweet 16 games.

“We are definitely excited to be going to JSU,” Buzan said. “Kayla played good. I thought the whole team did a nice job in the second half finishing the game.”

CLASS 1A BOX SCORES

Decatur Heritage 46, Sacred Heart 43
SACRED HEART –
Ayanna Foster 10 2-7 22, Jacque Beyerle 0 0-4 0, Sierra Pittman 1 0-0 3, Myiah Harris 4 1-1 10, Alyssa Bell 0 0-0 0, Joelle Tillery 2 2-2 8. Totals 17 5-14 43.

DECATUR HERITAGE (18-14) – Elizabeth Wilson 1 0-0 2, Emily Hubbard 1 0-1 2, Katelynne Garrie 4 5-5 13, Brantleigh Williams 4 0-0 8, Ellie Metzgar 0 0-0 0, Katie Jones 9 2-4 21. Totals 19 7-10 46.

Sacred Heart 10 9 12 12 — 43
Decatur Heritage 14 11 11 10 — 46

3-point goals: Sacred Heart 4 (Pittman, Harris, Tillery 2); Decatur Heritage 1 (Jones). Total fouls: Sacred Heart 16, Decatur Heritage 10. Officials: Deavers, Williams, Bright.

Spring Garden 84, Whitesburg Christian 21
WHITESBURG CHRISTIAN (8-14) –
Hailey Aiton 0 0-0 0, Melanie Ponce 1 0-2 2, Mikayla Alley 1 0-0 3, Keri Phillips 6 0-0 16, Emily Pierce 0 0-0 0, Rachel Hart 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 0-5 21.

SPRING GARDEN (26-3) – AJ Broome 3 0-0 7, Katie Williams 2 0-0 4, Macy Reedy 3 0-0 7, Kerstin Bryant 2 0-0 5, Lexy Adkinson 0 2-2 2, Neely Welsh 4 2-4 10, Payton McGinnis 6 2-2 14, Tyonna Rogers 10 2-2 22, Abbie Steward 1 2-2 4, Chloe Jarrett 2 0-2 4, Madison Jennings 1 0-0 3, Susie Carter 1 0-0 2. Totals 35 10-14 84.

Whitesburg Christian 5 6 4 6 — 21
Spring Garden 34 20 19 11 — 84

3-point goals: Whitesburg Christian 5 (Alley, Phillips 4); Spring Garden 4 (Broome, Reedy, Bryant, Jennings). Total fouls: Whitesburg Christian 10, Spring Garden 9. Officials: Hamilton, Cooper, Birt.

CLASS 3A BOX SCORES

North Sand Mountain 74, Weaver 56
NORTH SAND MOUNTAIN (18-9) –
Arianna Christopher 9 0-0 21, Jaden Leake 3 2-3 8, Maggie Cooper 0 0-0 0, Paige Boren 0 0-0 0, Taylor Stone 10 4-4 28, Alexis Leake 2 0-2 5, Tori Reed 4 3-4 12, Cassidy Barton 0 0-0 0, Willow Hale 0 0-2 0, Kariann Evans 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 9-17 74.

WEAVER (16-16) – Caleigh Cortez 3 6-11 12, Kylee Jordan 1 1-2 4, Rayne Beck 6 0-2 13, Emily Reed 4 0-0 9, Amira Carter 3 5-6 11, Trinity Pullium 0 2-6 2, Abby Gaines 2 1-2 5. Totals 19 15-29 56.

N. Sand Mountain 20 17 17 20 — 74
Weaver 10 13 14 19 — 56

3-point goals: NSM 9 (Christopher 3, Stone 4, A. Leake, Reed); Weaver 3 (Jordan, Beck, Reed). Fouled out: Beck, Pullium. Total fouls: NSM 22, Weaver 15. Officials: Shackles, Pretnar, Davis.

Geraldine 55, Piedmont 49
PIEDMONT (20-10) – Kayley Kirk 3 0-0 8, Lele Ridley 0 0-2 0, Kaitlyn Ridley 1 4-4 6, Pinky Nation 8 1-6 17, Cassidy Jackson 0 0-0 0, ZaHayla Walker 5 0-1 10, Aliyah Teague 0 0-0 0, Sydney Prater 4 0-1 8. Totals 21 5-14 49.

GERALDINE – Joanna Hammett 0 0-0 0, Josie Roberts 1 3-6 5, Cassie Black 4 1-4 11, Karlee Hale 3 1-4 7, Hannah Dalton 0 0-0 0, Adyson Cagle 5 1-3 12, Jordan Combs 1 0-0 2, Jessie Roberts 5 5-6 18. Totals 19 11-23 55.

Piedmont 10 9 17 13 — 49
Geraldine 15 13 10 17 — 55

3-point goals: Piedmont 2 (Kirk 2); Geraldine 6 (Black 2, Cagle, Je. Roberts 3). Total fouls: Piedmont 17, Geraldine 15. Officials: Wallace, Henry, Bates.

Glencoe 52, Brindlee Mountain 18
BRINDLEE MOUNTAIN (2-23) –
Zoie Decker 1 0-1 2, Chantzley Kirkland 1 1-3 3, Madison Hyatt 0 0-0 0, Haley Green 0 0-0 0, Adriana Knepper 0 0-0 0, Kyleigh Wilks 3 0-0 9, Kailyn Childress 2 0-3 4, Riley Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 1-7 18.

GLENCOE (22-8) – Anna Grace Goodwin 0 1-2 1, Anna Beth Giles 8 3-4 19, Abby Vice 1 1-2 3, Alyssa Goodwin 1 1-2 3, Ashley Morgan 1 2-5 4, Kenleigh Harper 0 0-0 0, Lauren Cole 2 2-2 6, Kaylie Davis 0 0-2 0, Breia Little 3 0-0 8, Crimson Silvay 1 0-0 2, Aubrey Gray 1 4-8 6. Totals 18 14-27 52.

Brindlee Mountain 0 3 11 4 — 18
Glencoe 21 14 11 6 — 52

3-point goals: Brindlee Mt. 3 (Wilks); Glencoe 2 (Little 2).Total fouls: Brindlee Mt. 20, Glencoe 16. Officials: Long, Mayes, Hutcheson.

CLASS 4A BOX SCORES

Jacksonville 65, DAR 38
DAR (13-14) –
Payton Lankford 3-7 0-0 10, Niah Stegeman 2-7 3-3 7, Julia Rice 2-6 2-2 6, Brianna Bolt 2-3 1-2 6, Anabeth Dunaway 2-6 0-0 4, Katherine Saylor 0-4 3-5 3, Bailee Chandler 1-2 0-0 2, Kassidy Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Hannah Ayers 0-0 0-0 0, Aliddia Black 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-36 9-12 38.

JACKSONVILLE – Kyra Williams 6-15 5-8 19, Essence Hutchinson 7-13 1-1 16, Kayla Broom 6-8 0-1 13, Aniya Jefferson 3-6 1-4 7, Elizabeth Poe 1-3 2-4 4, Brenna Stone 1-4 0-0 2, Patience Carr 1-2 0-2 2, Malijah Goggins 1-3 0-0 2, Maddie Hall 0-0 0-0 0, TiAsia Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-54 9-20 65.

DAR 7 15 11 5 — 38
Jacksonville 17 14 19 15 — 65

3-point goals: DAR 3-10 (Lankford 2-3, Bolt 1-2, Dunaway 0-4, Chandler 0-1); Jacksonville 4-14 (K. Williams 2-5, Hutchinson 1-7, Broom 1-1, Goggins 0-1). Rebounds: DAR 25 (Saylor 8, Rice 6); Jacksonville 35 (Poe 7, Hutchinson 5, Jefferson 5, Stone 5). Fouled out: Rice. Total fouls: DAR 15, Jacksonville 16.

Rayne Beck (L) closed out her Weaver career Monday night with more than 1,100 points. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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