E.A. Sports Today

Coming to pass

Piedmont edges Jacksonville in Glencoe consolation game on Odam’s sharp pass to Myers for winning backdoor layup

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE — Anyone who has ever watched Alex Odam play since he burst on the Calhoun County basketball scene last year knows the Piedmont eighth-grader as a straight-up shooting machine.

Turns out, he’s not too shabby a passer, either.

With time in the single digits in the fourth quarter of a tied game Saturday and the ball in Odam’s hands near midcourt, the Piedmont guard smartly found Carl Myers on a backdoor cut and ran the play as well as any program in the game.

Myers, “the only option” on the final play according to Piedmont coach JoJo Odam, couldn’t have had an easier layup. And when it dropped through the hoop with 4.5 seconds left, the Bulldogs had a 52-50 victory over Jacksonville in the boys consolation game of the Glencoe Holiday Shootout.

“He’s known as a shooter, but I think he sees the floor well, especially for his age, and does a good job passing the ball,” JoJo Odam said. “I think everybody expected him to take the shot but he does a good job passing the ball.”

The Bulldogs got back in the game with a third quarter the elder Odam called “our best quarter of the season,” certainly one on par with the fourth quarter that won their tournament opener with Holly Pond.

They put together an 18-0 run that took them from seven down to 11 up with less that 20 seconds left in the quarter. Odam’s shooting skill was on display in the middle of it as he hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game and then put the Bulldogs ahead — for good, even after it got tight again — with four minutes left in the quarter.

Odam was held to two field goals and six points in the Bulldogs’ semifinals loss to Alexandria less than 18 hours earlier and it looked like it was going to be more of the same Saturday because he didn’t make his first basket until a jumper at the first-quarter horn.

But as shooters often do, he didn’t get frustrated and let the game come to him. He heated up as the game went on and finished with 17 points and three 3s Saturday. And don’t forget there were four assists.

“I’ve always taken pride in my passing,” Odam said. “I just think it’s been overshadowed by me being a really good shooter.”

To their credit, the Golden Eagles didn’t get after Piedmont stole the momentum. They opened the fourth quarter with an 9-0 run to cut their deficit to two with 4:23 to go. They eventually tied it at 50 on Kyrie Maynor sweeping layup with 52 seconds left.

Odam’s reputation as a shooter made him the perfect decoy on the decisive play. With the ball in his hands, no one knew if he was going to let it fly from deep or patiently wait to find Myers’ back cut.

Odam the coach said Myers was the only option on the play. If the cut wasn’t there he was going to call another timeout.

It wasn’t necessary. Odam threaded the needle to Myers as deftly as an NFL quarterback beating double coverage and the Bulldogs headed into the new year with their new coach 7-2.

“Coach called a timeout and when we came to the huddle he was like we’re going to get this to Carl,” Myers said. “He told me to throw the ball in and go to my spot and act like I was coming back up the court. I didn’t want to give it away that I was getting the ball. When I cut back to the goal I was wide open and made a big play. It was a good pass. Alex can do it all.”

Piedmont 52, Jacksonville 50
PIEDMONT (7-2) –
Alex Odam 6-17 2-2 17, Delo Foster 4-5 2-2 10, Silas Thompson 2-5 4-8 8, Carl Myers 2-6 1-2 5, T.J. Fairs 2-6 1-3 5, Kaedon Jenkins 2-2 0-0 4, Jakari Foster 1-2 0-0 3, Elijah Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Sean Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Malachi Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 10-17 52.
JACKSONVILLE – Kyrie Maynor 7-12 2-2 17, Donavon McCain 3-8 1-2 8, Yessmen Green 1-8 5-6 7, Hudson Harvey 3-4 0-0 6, Omarion Adams 2-4 0-0 5, Nathan Barnwell 1-4 1-2 3, DeMarien Stewart 1-5 0-0 2, Jay Davis 1-3 0-1 2, Luke Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Landers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 9-13 50.
Piedmont 8 16 20 8 – 52
Jacksonville 12 18 5 15 – 50

3-point goals: Piedmont 4-17 (Odam 3-10, Thompson 0-1, Myers 0-2, Fairs 0-2, J. Foster 1-2); Jacksonville 3-11 (Maynor 1-2, McCain 1-2, Green 0-2, Adams 1-1, Stewart 0-4). Rebounds: Piedmont 28 (Myers 8, Jenkins 6); Jacksonville 32 (McCain 12, Green 6). Total fouls: Piedmont 14, Jacksonville 15. Officials: Dupree, Warren, Horn.

Cover photo: Piedmont guard Alex Odam, shown here from a game last season, has a court presence well beyond his age. He’s known a shooter, but he distribute the ball as well. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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