E.A. Sports Today

Staying on track

JCA routs Donoho to stay on track for area showdown with Spring Garden, three Thunder players score double-doubles 

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
JACKSONVILLE – When you’re trying to chase down the No. 1 seed in your area and there’s little margin for error you can’t afford the least slip up.
Jacksonville Christian has one of the best teams coach Tommy Miller has ever produced there and it has its sights on Class 1A Area 11 leader Spring Garden. The Thunder stayed on track for next week’s winner-take-all showdown with the Panthers with a 79-47 rout of Donoho Thursday night.
If everything stays on track and the Thunder can win the showdown, Tuesday at home, a coin flip will determine the No. 1 seed and home court for the area tournament.
“The biggest thing is this was an area game and we had to get this one to even have a chance at the No. 1 seed,” Miller said.
The Thunder (14-4), installed as a best-ever No. 8 seed in the upcoming Calhoun County Tournament, wasted little time gaining control of this one. They led 29-2 at the end of the first quarter.
“We really moved the ball well in that first quarter,” Miller said. “We were getting it to the open person, we were getting it on the post when we had position. I felt like we really were just doing what we were supposed to.”
It was such a commanding performance they wound up with three players scoring double-doubles.
Chase Vinson scored 31 points and 12 rebounds. The biggest guy on the floor, he was 11-of-15 from the floor and 9-for-11 from the free throw line. He had 13 points in the first quarter. He also had three steals and three blocked shots in the game.
Kobe Messer scored 18 points – all in the first half and all on 3-pointers – and grabbed 16 rebounds. Brady Shaddix completed the trio with 12 points and 10 assists. Nash Messer had 10 points and Tavian Alexander grabbed 10 boards.
“We don’t really care about double-doubles,” Kobe Messer said. “Brady gets the assists and me and Chase get the rebounds. Me and Chase both averaged double-doubles last year so it’s kind of common.”
“That’s good, but I think most coaches would say what impresses me is whether we win or lose,” Miller said. “It is nice to have three kids wind up with double-doubles, but I really don’t even think about it that much.”
The big early lead gave The Thunder a chance to give its second group some good minutes and contribute to extending the lead, but they didn’t take advantage of it and Miller went back to his starters. But that little exchange disrupted the Thunder’s early rhythm and while it wasn’t likely the Falcons (1-10) were going to overcome the deficit they did get what Miller called “some encouragement.”
Donoho scored the first 13 points of the second quarter. Amari Smedley scored 17 points for the Falcons in the second quarter and he finished with 22 for the game.
“I’ll give them the credit for really firing up and not quitting,” Miller said. “They came at us hard.”
Jacksonville Christian 79, Donoho 47
DONOHO (1-10) –
Grant Steed 4 0-0 9, Nicholas Goad 0 0-0 0, Wesley Goodson 4 0-0 8, Amari Smedley 8 5-7 22, Dean Harrell 0 0-0 0, Brady Patterson 1 0-0 2, Jackson Barnett 0 0-0 0, Team 2 1-1 5. Totals 19 6-8 47. 
JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN (14-4) – Tanner Wilson 1 2-2 5, Brady Shaddix 4 1-2 12, Chase Vinson 11 9-11 31, Tavian Alexander 0 0-2 0, Eli Fair 1 0-0 3, Drake Shew 0 0-0 0, Nash Messer 5 0-0 10, Mason Johnson 0 0-0 0, Kobe Messer 6 0-0 18, Jonathan Carter 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 12-15 79.
Donoho                  2    26 17  2  –  47
JCA                          29  21 22  7  –  79
3-point goals: Donoho 3 (Steed, Goodson, Smedley); JCA 11 (Wilson, Shaddix 3, Fair, K. Messer 6). Total fouls: Donoho 14, JCA 7. Officials: Miller, Barber, Moorehouse.

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