E.A. Sports Today

Keeping the Faith

Boys roundup: Faith Christian wins intense game with neighborhood rival; Piedmont pulls away from Jacksonville; Weaver rallies on Saks, Oxford rolls and more

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
 
The way the Faith Christian players and some of their fans rushed the floor Friday night after a thrilling 73-69 victory over Donoho, you might have thought the Lions just locked up the top seed in their area or something equally as significant.
 
They kept themselves alive for a spot to avoid their area tournament play-in game, but it was taking down a neighborhood rival that really sent them over the moon.

Faith Christian’s C.J. Gomez (0) enjoys playing in big games and was particularly active in the second half Friday night against Donoho. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

“Just to come back from some adversity throughout the year, that was a huge win on the road,” Lions coach Justin Kisor said. “To beat Donoho, your rival. It’s just a good night. We played good as a team, we were on the same page, we stuck to the game plan. I think that’s the way we’re supposed to be playing.”

C.J. Gomez led the Lions with 21 points and 19 rebounds and was an absolute beast in the second half. He scored 19 points in the second half, 13 in the fourth quarter and virtually took over the game from a Faith perspective. Jacque Prater hit four 3-pointers from distances you’d think his small stature wouldn’t allow and finished with 15 points.

“The second half was good; we came out with intensity,” Gomez said. “Usually the third quarter messes us up, but this time we picked it up and it was good. I like playing in big games. It gets me pumped.”

“We’ve been waiting for this,” Kisor said. “We’ve been waiting for C.J. to calm down and get in a rhythm. He got some early easy ones and then the next thing you know, there for a second, you couldn’t stop him. There for a while it was give the ball to him and clear out.”

Rod Elston’s 3-pointer with 12.6 seconds left drew Donoho within 69-68. Prater hit two free throws with 9.9 left to make it a three-point game. Donoho’s Seth Ford was fouled on a 3-point shot with 4.7 to go, but made only one free throw. David Thomas hit two free throws with 3.5 seconds left to make it 73-69 and basically close it out.

Ford hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished with 14 points. Elston had 15. The Lions threw a box-and-one around Falcons’ top scorer Jacob LeCroy and it held LeCroy without a field goal until midway through the second quarter. He heated up in the second half and finished with 19 points.

The furious finish belied the way the night started for the home team. The Falcons 11-4 in the first quarter with only one field goal.

“The tough part is we started slow; that’s where we lost the ballgame,” Donoho coach Jeremy Satcher said. “We lost the ballgame in the first quarter and late free throws. I told the boys if we just start fast we’ll be in a better position than we were tonight in the fourth quarter. We’ve been teaching attack mode, but we didn’t do that in the first quarter.”

To see photos from this game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com 

Faith Christian 73, Donoho 69
FAITH CHRISTIAN (8-9) –
C.J. Gomez 7 7-13 21, Seth Cravens 4 2-2 10, Mike McGraw 4 4-6 13, Chase Gibbins 0 0-2 0, Jacque Prater 4 3-4 15, Jacob Cleckler 4 2-2 10, David Thomas 1 2-2 4. Totals 24 20-31 73.
DONOHO (5-10) – Seth Ford 4 3-5 14, Amari Smedley 2 2-3 8, Rod Elston 5 3-4 15, Reid Williamon 3 1-2 7, Jacob LeCroy 7 4-5 19, Connor Goodeson 2 0-0 6, Chandler Armstrong 0 0-2 0. Totals 23 13-21 69.
Faith Christian 11       16        20        26        –          73
Donoho               4         17        22        26        –          69        

3-point goals: Faith 5 (McGraw, Prater 4); Donoho 10 (Ford 3, Smedley 2, Elston 2, LeCroy, Goodeson 2). Fouled out: McGraw, LeCroy. Total fouls: Faith 21, Donoho 19. Officials: Morris, Oden, Wright.
 
WEAVER 61, SAKS 55
WEAVER –
The Bearcats learned a valuable lesson that should serve them well as the season extends: Never look past an opponent and never let your guard down.

The Bearcats rallied from a slow start and 12-point third-quarter deficit and barely avoided an upset at the hands of a team they should have otherwise easily handled.

“I felt like at the beginning of the game we were going through the motions because of the last time we played them and we weren’t ready to play,” Weaver coach Marcus Herbert said. “We realized we had to get it together or suffer a loss at home because Saks didn’t back down today. They came out and played hard and we didn’t – not until the fourth quarter.

“I told them it doesn’t matter who you play, whether they’re strong or not, you have to come out ready to play because in order for us to get to where we want to go you can’t take people lightly.”

The Wildcats led for most of the first two and a half quarters. They went on an 11-0 tear early on to open a 17-8 lead and led 36-24 with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter.

A loss would have been devastating to the Bearcats’ goal of hosting their area tournament. As it is they remain on a collision course with Piedmont with the first meeting in the season series set for Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ gym.

“I was worried about the upset and how we were going to look in the area,” center Amardric Elston said. “When I went down for my ankle (midway through the third quarter) I told Gary (Wallace) we’ve got step our game up because we’re playing kind of lazy. We got the win because of the way we finished. I felt relieved.”


The Bearcats went on an 11-0 run of their own to make it a one-point game with 2:33 left in the third and it stayed tight the rest of the way. Brandon Heath drew them even at 45 with 5:50 to play, but they were never able to pull ahead until DeAndre McCain buried a deep 3 to make it 54-52 with 2:36 to play. Once they had that lead they never lost it.
 
Elston led Weaver with 16 points and 13 rebounds. McCain (12), Heath (10) and Robert Gaines (10) also scored in double figures.
 
Tyler Smith led Saks with 16 points. Zay Elston and Zaejuan Johnson each had 12 and Daveon Dukes had 10.

“Our spirit was better today,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said. “I thought we came out trying to win a basketball game. I felt like we competed for four quarters, we just made some mistakes down the stretch and didn’t close them out. This group’s just got to learn how to play down the stretch and close it out.” –Al Muskewitz

Weaver 61, Saks 55
SAKS (3-11)–
Tyler Smith 8 0-1 16,Zaejuan Johnson 2 5 0-0 12,Daveon Dukes 4 0-0 10, Connor Martin 0 0-0 0, Zay Elston 5 1-2 12, Benji Wilson 1 1-1 3, Patrick Williams 0 0-0 0, Jordan Cosper 15 0 2-4 2. Totals 23 4-8 55.
WEAVER (15-5)– Taylor Deck 1 0-0 2, Brandon Heath 4 2-2 10,Robert Gaines 4 2-2 10, Shamar Spinks 3 2-2 9, Gary Wallace 1 0-0 2,DeAndre McCain 4 1-2 12, Amardric Elston 7 2-4 16,Colby Thompson 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-10 61.
Saks               17       10        16       13       –          55
Weaver          8         14       17       22       –          61
3-point goals: Saks 5,Weaver 4 (Spinks, McCain 3).Total fouls: Saks 12, Weaver 7. Officials: Robinson, Baker, Hall.
 

Oxford’s Zondrick Garrett goes flying in for a dunk against Clay-Chalkville. There was a six-minute stretch in the third quarter Friday when the 6-7 post was unstoppable, scoring 18 points and blocking five shots. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)


OXFORD 69, CLAY-CHALKVILLE 44
OXFORD –
– There have not been many times Clay-Chalkville has come to Oxford over the years and not come away with a victory, but this was a different story as the Yellow Jackets (16-4) pounded the Cougars.
 
The Jackets’ lead was only eight points at the half and Zondrick Garrett sat on the bench for most of the second quarter with two fouls as the lead shrank from 15 points.
 
They came out in the second half and The Big Z went on a scoring frenzy. He buried a trio of 3s, slammed home a couple rebounds, blocked five shots and scored 18 points in a six-minute span of the third quarter. A running fourth-quarter clock and reserves kept the score from getting totally out of control.
 
“I don’t think Garrett likes to sit a whole lot,” Jackets coach Joel Van Meter said. “He came out pretty aggressively after the half.”
 
Sophomore Rock Taylor was just as devastating with nine points of his own, including a dunk and a 3-pointer as the Jackets opened a 32-point lead over the stunned Cougars.
 
Taylor and Garrett are giving opponents matchup fits with their powerful inside presence and ability to make the 3-pointers. The two combined for 48 points in just a little over three quarters of play. Garrett finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots. Taylor had 21 points.
 
“Those two do not want to be known as post players,” VanMeter said. “They take pride in being all-around basketball players and play anywhere on the court. They are learning where each other is on the court and can score from anywhere.”
 
Mont McClendon had three 3-pointers and had 11 points. Eugene Leonard added three points as he’s starting to get back in shape after injuring his shoulder, but the Jackets did not need his driving to the basket on this night.
 
“We play well when our defense is getting stops and when we play with a sense of urgency and keep that mental aspect in the game,” VanMeter said. “It is tough to do that all the time, but that is where we are trying to be.” – Brant Locklier

Oxford 69, Clay-Chalkville 44
CLAY-CHALKVILLE – Khalib Johnson 1 2-2 4, Donovan Shangase 0 4-4 4, Chris Charles 0 0-0 0, Cameron Ware 0 0-0 0, Jake McDaniel 1 0-0 3, Dayon Bryant 2 0-0 4, Jaylin Mack 3 0-0 6, Chance Armstrong 0 2-2 2, Judah Walton 0 2-2 2, Daniel Beachem 8 3-4 19. Totals 15 13-14 44.
OXFORD (16-4) – Rylan Houck 0 0-0 0, Zondrick Garrett 9 6-7 27, Eugene Leonard 1 0-0 3, Mont McClendon 4 0-0 11, Kobe Warren 1 1-1 3, Rock Taylor 10 0-1 21, Cordell Chatman 0 0-0 0, Justin Moore 1 1-2 4, Milas Jackson 0 0-0 0, Trafton Houck 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 8-11 69.
Clay-Chalkville        10        12        11        11        –          44
Oxford                        22        9          26        12        –          69
3-point goals: Clay-Chalkville 1 (McDaniel); Oxford 9 (Garrett 2, Leonard 2, McClendon 3, Taylor, Moore). Technical fouls: Mack, Bryant, Ware, Taylor. Total fouls: Clay-Chalkville 13, Oxford 13. Officials: Binion, Courtney, Holloway.

Rock Taylor (5) and Zondrick Garrett pose quite a matchup problem for Oxford opponents with their ability to dominate inside and shoot it from the outside. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

To see photos from this game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com
 
PIEDMONT 61, JACKSONVILLE 56
PIEDMONT –
 Just when it seemed like Jacksonville had turned a corner in learning to win close games, Piedmont scored the game’s last five points in the final 1:26 to win its seventh in a row and third by seven or less over the Golden Eagles in 13 days.
 
With the score tied at 56, the Bulldogs closed out the scoring with a basket by Alex Odam and three free throws by Carl Myers. Odam finished with 21 points (17 in the fourth quarter) and Myers with 16. They were a combined 14-of-26 from the field, 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Delo Foster had seven rebounds and seven blocked shots.
 
Kyrie Maynor led Jacksonville with 16 points. Donavon McClain added 14, with six rebounds
 
Piedmont 61, Jacksonville 56
PIEDMONT (13-2) –
Alex Odam 9-14 0-0 21, Carl Myers 5-12 4-7 16, Silas Thompson 4-8 1-2 9, T.J. Fairs 4-8 1-1 9, Delo Foster 1-5 2-4 4, Kaedon Jenkins 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 24-51 8-14 61.
JACKSONVILLE (9-9) – Kyrie Maynor 6-14 1-3 16, Donavon McCain 6-16 2-2 14, Hudson Harvey 3-7 2-2 8, Omarion Adams 1-5 4-4 7, DeMarien Stewart 2-4 0-0 5, Yessman Green 2-8 0-0 4, Jay Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Nathan Barnwell 0-1 0-0 0, Luke Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-57 9-11 56.
Piedmont         5          22        10        24        –          61
Jacksonville     12        14        13        17        –          56

3-point goals: Piedmont 5-12 (Odam 3-3, Myers 2-5, Thompson 0-2, Fairs 0-1, Jenkins 0-1); Jacksonville 5-18 (Maynor 3-7, McCain 0-3 Adams 1-2, Stewart 1-2, Green 0-4). Rebounds: Piedmont 32 (Foster 7); Jacksonville 37 (Harvey 7, Stewart 7). Total fouls: Piedmont 13, Jacksonville 14.

OHATCHEE 53, GASTON 42
GASTON –
Evan Keller scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the middle two quarters when Ohatchee pulled away for an area victory. The Indians broke away from a 9-9 game to outscored their hosts 14-8 in the second quarter for a 23-17 halftime edge. Keller scored 10 in the third quarter when the Indians extended their lead to 22 pointsGarrison Hunt scored 19 points and Malik Redmond had 16. The Bulldogs staged a minor rally in the fourth quarter; leading scorers Garrison Hunt and Malik Redmond combined for 13 of their points in the third quarter. 
 
Ohatchee 53, Gaston 42
OHATCHEE (7-9) –
Nathan Higgins 3 0-0 6, Grayson Alward 5 0-2 10, Todd Dover 1 0-0 2, Cameron Foushee 3 1-2 7, Evan Keller 9 1-2 20, Bailey Tillison 1 2-6 4, Austin Wyatt 2 0-2 5. 
GASTON – Garrison Hunt 7 3-3 19, Malik Redmond 6 4-7 16, Joe Moore 0 0-0 0, Kendal Blackwell 2 1-4 5, Jayden Dupree 0 0-0 0, K.V. Lindsey 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 8-14
Ohatchee         9          14        18        12        –          53
Gaston             9           8          8          17        –          42
3-point goals: Ohatchee 1 (Keller); Gaston 2 (Hunt 2). Fouled out: Moore. Total fouls: Ohatchee 13, Gaston 15.
 
TALLADEGA 69, SYLACAUGA 62
SYLACAUGA –
Kobe Simmons scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and the Tigers bounced back from a disastrous second quarter to win their 10thin a row. D’Corian Wilson had 14 points. Malik Powell scored 11 points in the second quarter and finished with 17 for Sylacauga.
 
TALLADEGA – Nigel Scales 0 1-2 1, Chaztin Tanner 2 0-0 4, Jaquon Chatman 3 0-0 7, Aaron Green 3 0-0 8, Rontavious Barclay 1 0-0 2, D’Corian Wilson 7 0-2 14, J.Q. Wilson 2 2-3 6, Kobe Simmons 10 6-8 27. Totals 28 9-15 69. 
SYLACAUGA – Aamatrius Sanders 2 3-7 7, Desmon Jones 1 2-2 4, Max Jackson 1 0-0 3, Malik Powell 7 0-0 17, Daylon Keith 0 0-0 0, David Carpenter 0 0-0 0, Ty Trammell 3 0-2 6, Shannon Grant 5 6-9 16, Caden Lansford 2 2-2 7, Demarco Campbell 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 13-20 62.
Talladega         18        9          23        19        –          69
Sylacauga        14        21        13        14        –          62

3-point goals: Talladega 4 (Chatman, Green 2, K. Simmons); Sylacauga 5 (Jackson, Powell 3, Lansford). Technical fouls: Grant. Total fouls: Talladega 17, Sylacauga 16. Officials: Childs, Dupree, Guyton.
 
LINCOLN 73, PELL CITY 46
PELL CITY –
Tre Garrett scored 25 points and Brian Garrett had 24 as Lincoln thumped Pell City. Tre Garrett got it going with 11 points in the first quarter and scored 21 in the first half. 
 
Lincoln 73, Pell City 46
LINCOLN –
Brian Garrett 8 6-9 24, Cam Reynolds 1 0-0 3, Tre Garrett 9 5-7 25, Jakahr Howard 1 2-4 5, Steve White 2 0-0 4, Xavier Ragland 0 0-0 0, Kevon Moore 1 0-0 2, Jack Wood 2 2-2 7, Trevon Hines 1 0-0 2, Kye Patterson 0 1-2 1. Totals: 25 14-24 74.
PELL CITY – Connor McCombs 0 0-1 0, Richard Parker 0 3-4 3, Kelton Seale 2 1-2 7, Cody Williams 1 0-2, Cordell O’Neal 3 0-2 6, Nash Hathorne 5 3-4 13, Hayden Cofield 0 0-0 0, Grant Hadley 3 2-2 11, Clayton Rich 1 2-3 4. Totals 15 11-20 46.
Lincoln            18        22        14        19        –          73
Pell City          10        11        11        14        –          46

3-point goals: Lincoln 9 (B. Garrett 2, Reynolds, T. Garrett 4, Howard, Wood); Pell City 5 (Seale 2, Hadley 3). Total fouls: Lincoln 18, Pell City 18.
 
CHEROKEE COUNTY 57, WHITE PLAINS 44
CENTRE –
After a tight first quarter Cherokee County outscored White Plains 22-9 in the second quarter to grab a 28-19 halftime lead. The Warriors hit three 3-pointers in the quarter and were 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Cherokee County’s Luke Goss led all scorers with 16 points. Ian Edwards had 15 and Slade Alexander 11. 
 
Cherokee County 57, White Plains 44
WHITE PLAINS (13-7) –
Coleman Messer 3 0-2 6, Houston Confer 1 0-1 2, Quin Wilson 2 0-0 4, Jaden Chatman 2 1-1 5, Simeon Shadrix 2 0-0 5, Brody Baker 3 1-4 8, Matthew Clay 2 2-2 6, Jaden Harris 0 0-0 0, Kahlil Williams 1 0-0 2, Gavin Burrage 2 0-0 5. Totals 18 4-10 
CHEROKEE COUNTY – Blake Dobbs 0 0-0 0, Walton Green 0 0-0 0, Nasire Diamond 0 0-0 0, Ian Edwards 4 5-6 15, Slade Alexander 3 5-9 11, Ivory Moore 3 2-2 9, Mitchell Davis 0 0-1 0, Bradley Elrod 0 0-0 0, Stephen Smith 0 0-0 0, Chancellor Latty 2 0-0 6, Luke Goss 6 0-1 16. Totals 18 12-19 57.
White Plains                10        9          13        12        –          44
Cherokee County        6          22        19        10        –          57

3-point goals: White Plains 3 (Shadrix, Baker, Burrage); Cherokee County 9 (Edwards 2, Moore, Latty 2, Goss 4). Total fouls: White Plains 19, Cherokee County 14. Officials: Rary, Higdon, Graves.

JCA 60, VICTORY CHRISTIAN 41
Chase Vinson and Kobe Messer both enjoyed double-doubles for the Thunder (14-4). Messer led JCA with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but Vinson scored 14 points and hauled in 17 boards. Messer also had five assists and Vinson also had three steals.

Eli Fair and Jonathan Carter each added eight points. Brady Shaddix had seven and Nash Messer four to complete the scoring.



 

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