E.A. Sports Today

They’ve arrived

McCain breaks out in his second game with his new team giving Weaver coach Herbert the first official victory of his career

Faith Christian’s Malcolm Carlisle (1) contorts his body to avoid Robert Gaines’ defense under the basket. On the cover, Weaver’s DeAndre McCain (23) had a big game for his new team. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

Monday’s boys scores
Albertville 57, Alexandria 34
Glencoe at Pleasant Valley
JCA 78, Gaylesville 52
Weaver 75, Faith Christian 50

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

DeAndre McCain may have showed up at Weaver on the first day of school, but he arrived for his new basketball team in the second quarter Monday night.

The former Jacksonville player is going to be a key piece of coach Marcus Herbert’s first Weaver team, but got off to a slow start in the season opener. He was much more comfortable Monday, scoring 20 points in the Bearcats’ 75-50 victory at Faith Christian to give Herbert his first official victory as a head coach.

McCain scored only four points in the Bearcats’ season opening loss at Southside, but was particularly sharp in the second quarter against the Lions, scoring his team’s last 10 points of the half and 12 straight for them carrying into the third quarter.

“The first game I wasn’t used to playing with everybody and tonight they were telling me don’t be scared and shoot it, so I just came in shooting,” McCain said. “I knew coming to Weaver that all they do is run and I was pretty tired (the first game) and I couldn’t keep up with them, for real.”

DeAndre and his younger cousin Donavon played together at Jacksonville last year after Donavon transferred from Clay Central, but DeAndre transferred when he went to live with grandmother after his sister, with whom he had been living, moved to Anniston.

Donavon stayed at Jacksonville and has been the go-to guy in the Golden Eagles’ lineup at the start of this season – just as DeAndre will be vital to the Bearcats’ fortunes.

“He spreads the floor,” Herbert said. “He’s the shooter we hadn’t had in a while … and now people can’t just shut down the paint. Now they have to respect him because you can see he can shoot it from the outside. He’s a huge, huge weapon for us.

“It was great for him to finally have a game like tonight to build confidence being a new student with us. I told him after the game last Monday go out there and be you. I know you can play, you can handle the ball, you can shoot, just go do you. The guys are open to you, just go out there to have fun and relax, and I think tonight that’s what he did.”

The Bearcats already were up 26-18, pulling away from a 17-17 tie after the first quarter, when McCain took over the game.

The win was Herbert’s first complete-game victory as the Bearcats’ coach, but not his first win. He won two games in “relief” as an assistant, guiding the team to victory in games it was either trailing or tied at the time then head coach Daryl Hamby got run.

“I guess it’s a sigh of relief; it’s a great feeling,” Herbert said of breaking through. “We hadn’t practiced since last Tuesday because of the construction going on, but they came out and played hard today. All the credit to them; they shared the ball, played as a team. There were moments I got scared – they tried to do a little bit of individual things – but I think they timed in and realized if we played together as a unit we could be very dangerous. I’m very pleased with that.”

The Bearcats also did a nice job on Faith scorer Malcolm Carlisle. Brandon Heath and Shamar Spinks held Carlisle to seven points in the first half and 13 points through three quarters as the Bearcats, behind McCain, opened a 21-point lead. Carlisle finished with a game-high 23 points.

The game was Weaver’s home date and it was the home team on the scoreboard, but it was played at Faith because the Bearcats’ gym reconstruction was still ongoing.

To see a gallery of photos from the game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Weaver 75, Faith Christian 50
C.J. Gomez 3 0-1 6, Malcolm Carlisle 8 6-10 23, Seth Cravens 2 0-0 4, Michael McGraw 5 0-0 13, Beau Conley 0 0-0 0, Jacque Prater 0 1-2 1, Jacob Cleckler 0 0-0 0, Bailey Thoas 0 0-0 0, Dalton Rogers 1 0-0 3. Totals 19 7-13 50.
WEAVER (1-1) – Taylor Deck 2 1-2 7, Brandon Heath 1 0-0 2, Robert Gaines 8 2-2 18, Shamar Spinks 5 1-2 12, Gary Wallace 1 4-6 6, DeAndre McCain 8 2-4 20, Amardric Elston 3 3-4 9, Taber Stephens 1 0-0 2, Colby Thompson 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 13-20 75.
Faith Christian 17 5 13 15 – 50
Weaver 17 19 20 19 – 75

3-point goals: Faith Christian 5 (Carlisle, McGraw 3, Rogers); Weaver 4 (Deck 2, McCain 2). Technical fouls: Gaines. Total fouls: Faith Christian 16, Weaver 18. Officials: Tillery, Montgomery, Woods.

Faith’s Malcolm Carlisle drives hard to the basket and protects the ball from Amardric Elston’s block attempt. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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