E.A. Sports Today

Getting over the hump

White Plains edges Piedmont to reach semifinals in Calhoun County boys tournament

All games at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville
Boys bracket
Jan. 17 game
No. 12 Ohatchee 76, No. 13 Donoho 56
Saturday’s games
No. 11 Weaver 71, No. 14 Faith Christian 58 (OT)
No. 10 Pleasant Valley 63, No. 15 Wellborn 37
No. 8 Jacksonville Christian 80, No. 9 Saks 73 (OT)
No. 5 Sacred Heart 66, Ohatchee 45
Monday’s games
No. 6 Piedmont 70, Weaver 31
No. 7 Jacksonville 91, Pleasant Valley 71
No. 4 Alexandria 67, Sacred Heart 61
No. 1 Oxford 84, JCA 47 

Tuesday’s games
No. 3 White Plains 54, Piedmont 51
No. 2 Anniston 60, Jacksonville 45

Wednesday’s games
Oxford vs. Alexandria, 5:30 p.m.
White Plains vs. Anniston, 8:30 p.m.

Friday’s game
Championship game, 8 p.m.
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
JACKSONVILLE – There were a number of reasons that made White Plains’ 54-51 victory over Piedmont in the Calhoun County Tournament quarterfinals Tuesday.
Do you want them in alphabetical order or off the top of one’s head?
First and foremost, it sends the Wildcats into Wednesday’s tournament semifinals where they will play Anniston at 8:30 p.m.
It snapped a three-game losing streak.
It perhaps justified their No. 3 seeding in the tournament when there may have been a case for making Alexandria or even Piedmont the third seed.
And it avenged an earlier post-seeding-meeting loss to Piedmont on the road, which carries into the final point. The Wildcats hadn’t won a significant game away from Coach Richard Madden Court in weeks.
“We haven’t won a tough game away from home since Christmas,” Randall said, running down a list of opponents who’ve taken them down on their floor. “We’ve lost in overtime, we lost by five, we lost by two. We’re losing (nailbiters) on the road. We just haven’t been able to get over the hump away from home.
“Hopefully this will really help us and give us some confidence playing away from the house.”
The Wildcats got 25 points from Brody Baker and a big contribution from Walker O’Steen. The sophomore scored 16 points off the bench and made the defensive play of the game when he blocked Jakari Foster’s shot under the goal in the final 30 seconds and White Plains holding a 52-49 lead.
“We lost three straight and we needed a win,” said O’Steen, whose grandfather starred in the County Tournament two generations ago. 
“We needed that one … real bad,” Baker agreed.
White Plains led by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, but Piedmont chipped away. Bulldogs freshman Alex Odam, who Randall calls “collegiate today, right now,” knocked down four free throws within a span of six seconds to make it a 47-45 game.
Odam scored 34 points — the single-best boys game of the tournament — and was the only Piedmont scorer in double figures. Second leading scorer Silas Thompson was held to seven points by Coleman Messer, and only two over the final three quarters.
It was a 51-49 game with 35 seconds left. O’Steen hit the second of two free throws to push the lead to three, he blocked the Foster shot at the other end and Quin Wilson made a free throw with 20 seconds left to make it 53-49.
“Like Coach Randall says there are no layups in the fourth quarter so I wasn’t going to give up a layup,” O’Steen said of his block.
Odam hit two free throws off O’Steen’s fifth foul with 14.4 seconds left. Baker’s free throw made it 54-51 with 11.5 seconds left.
Players got tangled chasing down a loose ball in front of Piedmont’s bench and it was ruled out of bounds off a White Plains player with 3.1 seconds left.
The Wildcats were going to foul before Piedmont could get a shot, but it didn’t come down to that. Jaden Chatman deflected Omarion Foster’s inbounds pass and the ball bounded into empty space as Odam and Thompson peeled away on the play.

White Plains 54, Piedmont 51
Alex Odam 11 9-11 34, Omarion Foster 1 0-0 3, Trey McFarland 0 2-2 2, Silas Thompson 3 0-2 7, Jack Hayes 1 0-1 2, Malachi Jackson 0 0-2 0, Jakari Foster 1 1-3 1. Totals 17 12-21 51.
WHITE PLAINS – Coleman Messer 1 0-0 2, Rico Aguirre 0 0-0 0, Quin Wilson 1 1-2 6, Jaden Chatman 1 1-1 3, Jacob Wheeler 0 0-0 0, Landon Senciboy 0 0-0 0, Brody Baker 10 5-8 25, Carson Wright 0 0-0 0, Will O’Steen 7 1-4 16, Kahlil Williams 1 0-0 2, Garrett Wilson 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-15 54.
Piedmont              11  9   10  21  –  51
White Plains        11  14 9    20  –  54
3-point goals: Piedmont 5 (Odam 3, O. Foster, Thompson); White Plains 2 (Q. Wilson, O’Steen). Fouled out: O’Steen. Total fouls: Piedmont 16, White Plains 24.

Cover photo: White Plains’ Brody Baker (15) moves in cut off Piedmont’s Alex Odam. (Photo by Ken Grissom) 

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