E.A. Sports Today

Top seeds

Oxford boys, Anniston girls grab top seeds in Calhoun County Tournament; starts Jan. 17 at JSU 

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE —There probably should have been more debate in some places, but there was no debate who the No. 1 seeds in the upcoming Calhoun County basketball tournament should be.

Oxford (10-6, 1-0) won a decided show of hands for the top seed in the boys bracket over No. 2 seed Anniston (10-5, 3-0) in Sunday’s seeding meeting at Pleasant Valley.

Similarly, Anniston (11-3) was the easy choice for No. 1 in the girls bracket despite not playing any in-county games, ahead of No. 2 Sacred Heart (14-6).

White Plains, Alexandria, Sacred Heart, Piedmont, Jacksonville and JCA completed the boys top 8.Alexandria, Jacksonville, Oxford, Ohatchee, White Plains and Pleasant Valley round out the girls top 8.
“It’s very appreciative that people think of us that way and our program that way,” Oxford coach Joel VanMeter said. “We’ve played a tough schedule. We’ve got to figure some things out because we’ve played a tough schedule, we’ve played really good teams, we’ve got to beat some of them.

“It’s not like we have bad wins, but for what we’re trying to do we’ve got to figure out how to win some of those games. But it’s an honor to be voted the No. 1 seed, no doubt.”
With 10 of 15 county boys teams sporting .500 records or better going into the meeting and eight with 10 or more wins, most of the bracket was well received. “That 1 through 9 is real solid,” Pleasant Valley coach and meeting moderator Ryan Chambless said. “Best I’ve seen.”
“It’s a wide-open tournament,” VanMeter said. “I think 1 through 9 you’ve got nine good teams and I think whoever’s playing well In that five- or six-day period is going to win it.”
If any of the picks could be questioned it probably would be the boys 6-7 with Piedmont and Jacksonville. 

The Bulldogs, 11-2 overall and 5-1 in-county, got the nod by two votes despite having lost head-to-head to Jacksonville (10-3, 2-1) in the Glencoe Holiday Shootout, a fact apparently not many in the room had been aware.

Being the 6 would send the Golden Eagles to play No. 3 White Plains if they win their tournament opener; the teams play an important area game at Jacksonville Jan. 17, the first night of the tournament. The 7 sends it to face Anniston.

The suggestion of considering head-to-head meetings in the discussion only came up after that vote.
“I brought it up that I beat people, but it is what it is, you’ve just gotta play; it doesn’t matter,” Jacksonville coach Cordell Hunt said. “I brought it up. Nobody saw it that way. No sense crying over spilt milk.”
“I think they probably deserved it,” Piedmont coach JoJo Odam said. “They beat us head-to-head, they probably deserved that spot. I think we probably should’ve brought it up earlier. I definitely think they deserved it. I think they can make a run at it, as athletic as they are. Six, seven, eight is probably where we should’ve played.”

The 6-7 vote was the final shakeout from a race for No. 3 among the boys among five teams – White Plains, Sacred Heart, Alexandria, Piedmont and Jacksonville. White Plains handily won that show of hands, although Wildcats coach Chris Randall would have preferred a 5 or 6 to get the extra game.
“A little surprised,” Randall said. “I felt like Alexandria (was the 3). We hadn’t played them, but I watched them play and my goodness. I voted for them for 3. We’ll take it. It’s a nice honor to be picked that high.”
The pairings did create an area matchup on each side. Pleasant Valley and Saks, teams that likely will be playing for the No. 1 seed in their area later this month, are 8-9 opponents on the girls side. Pleasant Valley and Wellborn meet in a 10-15 game on the boys side.

The tournament opens Jan. 17 — 12 days after the seeding meeting — with the 12-13 games in both brackets at Jacksonville State: Donoho-Ohatchee (boys), Donoho-Piedmont (girls). 
With the possibility of teams playing as many as eight games between meeting and tournament potentially undermining Sunday’s results, it could be argued the meeting is bit early, but the coaches understand the need for expediency.
“I think you have to do it because of the program and all the other stuff,” Hunt said. “I think you’ve got to do it early. You’ve got to everybody out there and maybe get starting to look at who you’re playing. I guess you’ve got to do it that early. I think next week is a big week for everybody.”

Because of conflicts using JSU’s arena, this year’s tournament will start and end on a Friday night. Traditionally, teams are prohibited from playing during the county tournament, but because of the conflict’s impact on already established schedules teams with previously scheduled games not playing in the 12-13 game may play that opening night.
White Plains-Jacksonville, Wellborn-Weaver, Cleburne County-Anniston and Westbrook-Sacred Heart are all area games involving county teams previously scheduled for that night. Alexandria, JCA, Faith Christian and Oxford also have games scheduled games that night.

NOTES: The fourth annual F&M Bank 3-Point Shootout will take place during Wednesday’s semifinals with the mid-court shot for $10,000 during Friday’s championship doubleheader. Anniston’s Allasha Dudley took the shot last year, and she’s back … The local FCA is hosting a tip-off dinner for the teams Jan. 15. Former Samford player Chris Weaver, Reagan Croyle Phillips and an undisclosed “special guest” are the keynote speakers.

All games at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville
(Records overall, in-county as of Jan. 5)
Jan. 17
Boys game
No. 13 Donoho (1-8, 0-2) vs. No. 12 Ohatchee (5-8, 1-3), 8:30 p.m.
Girls game
No. 13 Donoho (1-6, 1-1) vs. No. 12 Piedmont (3-8, 3-4), 7 p.m.
Jan. 18
Boys games
No. 14 Faith Christian (9-8, 2-3) vs. No. 11 Weaver (2-14, 2-10), 10:30 a.m.
No. 10 Pleasant Valley (6-9, 2-4) vs. No. 15 Wellborn (1-7, 0-5), 1:30 p.m.
No. 8 Jacksonville Christian (12-4, 2-1) vs. No. 9 Saks (8-4, 4-3), 4:30 p.m.
Donoho-Ohatchee winner vs. No. 5 Sacred Heart (10-10, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.
Girls games
No. 14 Weaver (2-11, 1-8) vs. No. 11 Faith Christian (5-9, 3-1), 9 a.m.
No. 10 Jacksonville Christian (9-5, 1-1) vs. No. 15 Wellborn (0-8, 0-5), noon
No. 8 Pleasant Valley (8-9, 5-4) vs. No. 9 Saks (5-4, 3-1), 3 p.m.
Donoho-Piedmont winner vs. No. 5 Oxford (6-9, 1-1), 6 p.m.
Jan. 20
Boys games
Faith-Weaver winner vs. No. 6 Piedmont (11-2, 5-1), 10:30 a.m.
Pleasant Valley-Wellborn winner vs. No. 7 Jacksonville (10-3, 2-1), 1:30 p.m.
Donoho/Ohatchee/Sacred Heart winner vs. No. 4 Alexandria (11-3, 3-0), 4:30 p.m.
JCA-Saks winner vs. No. 1 Oxford (10-6, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Girls games
Weaver-Faith winner vs. No. 6 Ohatchee (8-6, 3-2), 9 a.m.
JCA-Wellborn winner vs. No. 7 White Plains (6-7, 4-3), noon
Donoho/Piedmont/Oxford winner vs. No. 4 Jacksonville (7-6, 3-0), 3 p.m.
Pleasant Valley-Saks winner vs. No. 1 Anniston (11-3, 0-0), 6 p.m.
Jan. 21
Boys games
Faith.Weaver/Piedmont winner vs. No. 3 White Plains (12-7, 7-1), 4 p.m.
Pleasant Valley/Wellborn/Jacksonville winner vs. No 2 Anniston (10-5, 3-0), 7 p.m.
Girls games
Weaver/Faith/Ohatchee winner vs. No. 3 Alexandria (9-6, 3-0), 5:30 p.m.
JCA/Wellborn/White Plains winner vs. No. 2 Sacred Heart (14-6, 1-0), 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 22
Boys games
Semifinal 1, 5:30 p.m.
Semifinal 2, 8:30 p.m.
Girls games
Semifinal 1, 4 p.m.
Semifinal 2, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24
Girls championship, 6 p.m.
Boys championship, 8 p.m.

On the cover: Pleasant Valley coach Ryan Chambless conducts the boys seeding meeting for the county tournament.

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