E.A. Sports Today

Making their point

Boys roundup: Valley Cubs focus on avenging earlier close loss to Jacksonville over county tournament seed, win by 2

Alexandria’s Joe Tucker (15) forces his way to the basket against Jacksonville. Tucker’s 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter gave the Cubs the lead for good. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
 
In Alexandria coach Jason Johnson’s mind, Tuesday night’s game against Jacksonville was more about avenging a close loss earlier in the season than any perceived snub from Sunday’s county tournament seeding meeting.
 
Whatever issue you choose to accept, the Valley Cubs made their point, edging the Golden Eagles 39-37.
 
Tuesday’s games
Alexandria 39, Jacksonville 37
Coosa Christian 59, Ragland 56
Glencoe 58, Susan Moore 54
Etowah 71, Southside 44
Jacksonville Christian 76, Faith Christian 45
Lincoln 58, Cleburne County 53
Moody 85, Winterboro 80
Oxford 73, Fort Payne 62
Piedmont 59, Saks 27
Sacred Heart 66, Ohatchee 36
Spring Garden 79, Donoho 52
Sylacauga 78, Clay Central 74
Talladega 73, Anniston 54
Weaver 74, Pleasant Valley 52
White Plains 56, Hokes Bluff 47 (OT)
Ashville at Wellborn
Munford at B.B. Comer

Jacksonville handed Alexandria a two-point loss in late November, and it was one of the factors that dropped the Valley Cubs (10-6) to the bottom of a five-team scrum for the No. 4 tournament seed and No. 8 in the field, on the same side of the bracket as No. 1 Oxford and one spot below the Golden Eagles (8-8).
 
If the seeding meeting were this coming Sunday, closer to the tournament’s Jan. 19 start date, maybe the seeds would be different with Tuesday night’s result, but Johnson chose to focus on the rivalry after the game instead of what might have been in what was going to be a hotly contested seeding session anyway.
 
“I think it was more they beat us by two in a game very similar to this the first time,” Johnson said. “Our kids don’t quite understand the rivalry that there’s always been between Alexandria and Jacksonville, because we hadn’t played them in basketball in the last couple years.
 
“It was very important for a lot of our adults that our kids play hard and beat Jacksonville because they know that it’s a big rivalry or it was during their playing days. I was more impressed that we were able to find a way to win in a game that was very similar to the way we played the last time and lost to them. We didn’t feel like we finished the first game very well and we wanted to make sure we did this time.”
 
Joe Tucker’s only 3-pointer of the game with 1:51 to play gave Alexandria the lead for good 39-37. The Valley Cubs had to hold their breath through an off-balanced 3 by DeMarien Stewart with 3.9 left and Jay Davis’ shot from the center circle at the buzzer.

It was another punch in the gut for Jacksonville. The Golden Eagles have lost four games by three points or fewer this season. They had taken 37-36 lead on back-to-back three-point plays by Donavon McCain, but that would be the last time they’d score.

“We’ve got to find a way to win the close ones,” Jacksonville coach Cordell Hunt said. 

It was a low-scoring game because neither team could find the range from the floor. Tucker hit only one of eight shots from the floor prior to his lead-changing 3-pointer, but it didn’t discourage him from fulfilling his role.

“I didn’t hit a 3 the whole entire game but I just kept on shooting,” he said. “I had the shot and I took it and I made it. Shooters shoot.”

Freshman Julian Wright, who admitted the Valley Cubs came out with something to prove, gave his team a big spark in the third quarter. He scored points, grabbed rebounds and blocked shots. He had 10 of the Cubs’ 12 points in the quarter and finished with a game-high 12 points and eight rebounds.

“We needed to get some momentum going on offense, we didn’t really have a spark, and I was just trying to get the team to do better and get that momentum going,” Wright said.

As for where the Valley Cubs fell in the tournament seedings, Johnson had this to say: “It really was kind of tough to seed because not everybody had played everybody, so it’s really kind of a guessing game and it’s OK. If we want to win the county tournament I imagine we’re going to have beat Oxford. First of all, we’ve got to beat Saks (in the first round), but you’ve got to go through some of the big schools who are really top teams. The seeding is what it is, we’re just going to play and just try to get better.”
  
Alexandria 39, Jacksonville 37
JACKSONVILLE (8-8) –
Yessman Green 2-13 5-7 11, Donavon McCain 3-10 1-4 7, DeMarien Stewart 3-9 0-0 7, Kyrie Maynor 2-6 0-0 5, Nathan Barnwell 1-2 0-0 2, Jay Davis 1-5 0-0 2, Hudson Harvey 0-1 1-2 1, Carter Landers 0-0 1-2 1, Omarion Adams 0-0 1-2 1, Luke Jackson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 12-48 9-17 37.
ALEXANDRIA (10-6) – Julian Wright 5-8 2-4 12, Joe Tucker 2-9 4-6 9, Landan Williams 2-6 2-3 6, Romeo Dye 1-3 3-3 5, Kahlil Francis 1-4 0-0 3, Jalen Borders 1-4 0-0 2, Jared Ponder 1-5 0-0 2, Adam Young 0-0 0-0 0, Landon Comer 0-0 0-0 0, Seth Slaton 0-2 0-2 0, Collin Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-41 11-18 39.
Jacksonville     8          11        9          9          –          37
Alexandria       7          13        12        7          –          39

3-point goals: Jacksonville 4-20 (Green 2-7, McCain 0-2, Stewart 1-7, Maynor 1-2, Davis 0-1, Jackson 0-1); Alexandria 2-11 (Tucker 1-4, Dye 0-1, Francis 1-2, Ponder 0-3, Slaton 0-1). Rebounds: Jacksonville 38 (McCain 10); Alexandria 37 (Wright 8). Total fouls: Jacksonville 12, Alexandria 17.

Cover photo: Alexandria’s Landan Williams (33) challenges Jacksonville’s Yessman Green at the basket. (Photo by B.J. Franklin). To see a gallery of photos from the game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Alexandria’s Julian Wright (14) and Jared Ponder try to close the trap on Jacksonville’s Nathan Barnwell. Wright was particularly big for the Cubs in the second half. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

 TALLADEGA 73, ANNISTON 54
TALLADEGA –
Kobe Simmons had 16 points and 14 rebounds as the Tigers improved to 4-1 in area play. Rontavious Barclay had 10 points and seven rebounds, while Chaztin Tanner had 14 points and Aaron Green had a game-high 17 points and six steals. Green scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter, including 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Antonio Kite led Anniston with 15 points.
 
ANNISTON (12-6) – Antonio Kite 5 3-3 15, LaDreka Hall 4 2-8 10, Tahj Jones 2 2-2 7, Kwame Milton 2 1-2 6, Jordan Caldwell 0 0-0 0, William Fairley 0 0-0 0, Tyree Carmichael 1 0-0 2, Hunter Rouse 2 0-0 4, Theron Montgomery 5 0-0 10. Totals 21 8-15 54.
TALLADEGA – Nigel Scales 3 0-0 7, Chaztin Tanner 5 2-2 14, Jaquon Chatman 1 1-2 3, Aaron Green 5 7-12 17, Ronterius Barclay 5 0-0 10, D’Corian Wilson 3 0-0 6, J.Q. Wilson 0 0-0 0, Kobe Simmons 5 6-7 16, Brocker Simmons 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 16-23 73. 
Anniston          12        15        15        12        –          54
Talladega         15        17        21        20        –          73

3-point goals: Anniston 4 (Kite 2, Jones, Milton); Talladega 3 (Scales, Tanner 2). Total fouls: Anniston 16, Talladega 12. Officials: Stringer, Pivrick, Robinson.
 
JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN 76, FAITH CHRISTIAN 45
JACKSONVILLE –
Kobe Messer scored 25 points and Chase Vinson had a double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds for the Thunder. Messer scored 11 of his points in the second quarter when JCA outscored the Lions 27-8 to break it open; he also had six rebounds and five assists. Eli Fair had 14 points, five assists and three steals, while Brady Shaddix had 13 points – all in the first half – and six boards. Mike McGraw led Faith with 17 points. Jacque Prater hit five 3-pointers and had 16.
 
FAITH CHRISTIAN (6-9) – C.J. Gomez 2 0-2 5, Seth Cravens 2 1-2 5, Mike McGraw 7 2-4 17, Charles Gibbins 0 0-0 0, Jacque Prater 5 1-2 16, Jacob Cleckler 1 0-0 2, David Thomas 0 0-3 0, Dalton Rogers 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 4-13 45.
JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN (12-4) – Jeremy Cockrell 0 0-0 0, Chase Vinson 8 1-1 17, Brady Shaddix 5 0-0 13, Eli Fair 6 1-3 15, Nash Messer 2 2-4 6, Kobe Messer 10 3-4 25, Jonathan Carter 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 7-12 76.
Faith    15        8          18        4          –          45
JCA      18        27        14        17        –          76
3-point goals: Faith 7 (Gomez, McGraw, Prater 5); JCA 7 (Shaddix 3, Fair 2, K. Messer 2)
Total fouls: Faith 11, JCA 14.
 
LINCOLN 58, CLEBURNE COUNTY 52
HEFLIN –
Brian Garrett and Jack Wood combined for all seven of the Golden Bears 3-pointers and scored 20 and 16 points respective, as the Golden Bears came from behind to win. Cleburne County led by 10 at the end of the first quarter 3-pointers.
 
LINCOLN – Brian Garrett 7 3-4 20, Cam Reynolds 0 0-0 0, Tre Garrett 4 1-2 9, Jakahri Howard 0 0-0 0, Steve White 4 0-0 8, Xavier Ragland 1 0-0 2, Jack Wood 6 0-0 16, Trevon Hines 0 0-0 0, Kye Patterson 1 1-2 3. Totals 23 5-8 58. 
CLEBURNE COUNTY (2-14) – A.J. Brown 5 2-2 12, Noah Lindsey 1 2-2 4, Chase Smith 6 5-10 18, Hudson Miller 2 0-1 5, Lattrell Mackey 2 0-0 4, Manny Rollins 0 0-0 0, Ben Casey 1 6-6 9. Totals 16 15-21 52.
Lincoln                         6          18        16        18        –          58
Cleburne County        16        11        7          18        –          52

3-point goals: Lincoln 7 (B. Garrett 3, Wood 4); Cleburne County 3 (Smith, Miller, Casey).
Fouled out: B. Garrett, Reynolds, T. Garrett. Total fouls: Lincoln 22, Cleburne County 14.
 
OXFORD 73, FORT PAYNE 62
FORT PAYNE –
Roc Taylor scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the second quarter as the Yellow Jackets rallied from a five-point deficit to take a 10-point halftime lead. Eugene Leonard had 18 points, going 7-for-7 from the line, and Zondrick Garrett had 17. They combined for 13 points in the fourth quarter after Fort Payne cut the gap to three after three quarters. The Jackets’ defense held Fort Payne’ high-scoring duo of Ty Brooks and Keyshawn Hightower to 10 and 12, respectively.
 
OXFORD (15-4) – Rylan Houck 0 0-0 0, Zondrick Garrett 6 5-6 17, Eugene Leonard 5 7-7 18, Mont McClendon 2 0-0 6, Kobe Warren 3 2-3 8, Roc Taylor 9 4-5 23, Cordell Chatman 0 1-2 1, Justin Moore 0 0-2 0, Milas Jackson 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 19-25 73.
FORT PAYNE – Luke Wells 0 0-0 0, Jacob Hendricks 4 0-0 11, Kevin Hightower 3 3-4 9, Lane White 3 0-0 7, Jordan Corbin 0 0-0 0, Ty Brooks 3 3-4 10, Zachery Ridgeway 3 0-0 6, Keyshawn Hightower 5 1-2 12, Micah Simpson 3 0-1 7. Totals 24 7-11 62.
Oxford             17        25        11        20        –          73
Fort Payne       22        10        18        12        –          62

3-point goals: Oxford 4 (Leonard, McClendon 2, Taylor); Fort Payne 7 (Hendricks 3, White, Brooks, Ky. Hightower, Simpson). Fouled out: Brooks. Total fouls: Oxford 14, Fort Payne 20.
 
WEAVER 74, PLEASANT VALLEY 52
WEAVER –
Amardric Elston scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and DeAndre McCain hit five 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 21 points to lead the Bearcats. McCain set the tone early with three 3s in an 11-point first quarter as Weaver opened a 24-14 lead. Elston helped extend the lead to 18 at halftime with 16 points in the second quarter. Josh Ballew led PV with 19 points.
 
PLEASANT VALLEY (3-10) – Austin Johnson 0 1-2 1, Jake Malsy 3 1-1 9, Brayden Wright 2 0-0 4, Josh Ballew 8 1-2 19, Wyatt Ingram 3 1-2 7, Coleman Haynes 2 0-0 5, Garrett Cranmer 1 0-0 2, Jackson Almaroad 0 0-0 0, Colby Gaines 2 1-2 5. Totals 21 5-9 52.
WEAVER (14-4) – Taylor Deck 2 0-0 5, Brandon Heath 0 0-0 0, Robert Gaines 3 1-1 8, Shamar Spinks 3 0-0 6, Gary Wallace 4 0-0 8, DeAndre McCain 7 2-2 21, Amardric Elston 10 0-0 20, Taber Stephens 2 0-0 4, Colby Thompson 1 0-0 2. Totals 32 3-3 74.
Pleasant Valley           14        15        7          16        –          52
Weaver                        24        23        20        7          –          74
3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 5 (Malsy 2, Ballew 2, Haynes); Weaver 7 (Deck, Gaines, McCain 5). Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 7, Weaver 13.
 
SACRED HEART 66, OHATCHEE 36
OHATCHEE –
Jack Miller hit four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points and three other Cardinals scored in double figures. Aaron Moore returned to his previous school and added 11, Caleb Brown had 11 and Jayden Stone had 18. Evan Keller led Ohatchee with 11 points.
 
SACRED HEART (12-9) – Spencer Wigley 1 0-0 3, Khalil Watkins 2 0-2 4, Jack Miller 5 0-0 14, Caleb Brown 5 0-0 11, Aaron Moore 5 1-2 11, Jayden Stone 8 1-4 18, Cade Landers 2 1-3 5, K.D. Harris 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 3-11 66.
OHATCHEE (7-8) – Parker Alexander 0 0-0 0, Nathan Higgins 2 1-4 5, Grayson Alward 0 0-0 0, Todd Dover 0 1-2 1, Cameron Foushee 1 0-0 3, Evan Keller 3 3-6 11, Bayley Tillison 3 0-1 8, Austin Wyatt 2 0-0 4, Briley Hale 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 5-13 36.
Sacred Heart   21        12        15        18        –          66
Ohatchee          15        8          7          6          –          36

3-point goals: Sacred Heart 7 (Wigley, Miller 4, Brown, Stone); Ohatchee 5 (Foushee, Keller 2, Tillison 2). Total fouls: Sacred Heart 15, Ohatchee 18. Officials: Burroughs, Kelley, Ortiz.
 
PIEDMONT 59, SAKS 27
PIEDMONT –
The Bulldogs returned to their brutal stretch of schedule after a rare day off and an even rarer day of practice to throttle the Wildcats and go to 4-0 in Class 3A Area 11. Delo Foster led the way with 16 points (on 7-of-11 shooting from the field), seven rebounds and six blocked shots. T.J. Fairs had 13 points and Carl Myers grabbed 11 rebounds. Piedmont’s usual top scorer Alex Odam had six points, but had four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Zay Elston led Saks with 12 points.
 
SAKS (3-10) – Tyler Smith 0 2-4 2, Zaejuan Johnson 1 0-0 3, Daveon Dukes 3 0-0 6, Connor Martin 0 0-0 0, Zay Elston 5 1-3 12, Kyle Goedde 0 0-0 0, Patrick Williams 1 2-2 4, Jordan Cosper 0 0-0 0, Kamori Wilson-Hall 0 0-0 0, Myles McLaughlin 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 5-9 27.
PIEDMONT (11-2) – Carl Myers 2 0-0 4, Kaedon Jenkins 2 0-0 4, Delo Foster 7 2-4 16, Silas Thompson 3 2-2 8, Alex Odam 2 0-0 6, T.J. Fairs 4 4-4 13, Malachi Jackson 0 0-2 0, Jakari Foster 4 0-1 8, Sean Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 8-13 59.
Saks                 6          10        6          5          –          27
Piedmont        20        8         19        12        –          59
3-point goals: Saks 2 (Johnson, Elston); Piedmont 3 (Odam 2, Fairs). Total fouls: Saks 9, Piedmont 10. Officials: Calkins, Hollingsworth, Chambers.
 
WHITE PLAINS 56, HOKES BLUFF 49 (OT)
HOKES BLUFF –
Simeon Shadrix splashed his only 3-pointer of the night with 10 seconds left to send the game into overtime and Brody Baker scored eight points in the extra session to lift the Wildcats to a big area victory. Baker scored 24 in the game with the help of four 3-pointers. 
 
WHITE PLAINS (13-6) – Coleman Messer 0 0-0 0, Houston Conger 0 0-0 0, Quin Wilson 4 3-3 11, Jaden Chatman 2 0-0 4, Simeon Shadrix 3 0-0 7, Jacob Wheeler 0 0-0 0, Brody Baker 9 2-2 24, Matthew Clay 2 1-2 6, Jaden Harris 0 0-0 0, Kahlil Williams 0 0-0 0, Gavin Burrage 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 6-7 56.
HOKES BLUFF – Payton Lemons 2 0-0 6, Ashton Gullege 1 1-4 3, Caleb McGinnis 1 0-0 2, Brayton Hill 4 2-6 11, Tucker Marsh 0 0-0 0, Dylan Teague 0 2-4 2, Matthew Johnson 0 0-0 0, Ethan Whitcomb 0 0-0 0, Hayden Lipscomb 6 4-6 16, Donnovan Greaves 2 1-2 6, Trent Cross 1 1-2 3. Totals 17 11-24 49.
White Plains   18        6          10        12        10        –          56
Hokes Bluff     6          16        14        10        3          –          49
3-point goals: White Plains 6 (Shadrix, Baker 4, Clay); Hokes Bluff 4 (Lemons 2, Hill, Greaves). Fouled out: Clay, Burrage. Total fouls: White Plains 16, Hokes Bluff 9. Officials: Battles, Moore, Mulkey.

Jacksonville’s Yessman Green (14) waged a pretty good battle with his opposite number, Alexandria No. 14 Julian Wright, in the third quarter Tuesday night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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