E.A. Sports Today

Off and running

Ohatchee, Sacred Heart, Anniston girls post one-sided area tournament wins; Faith, Weaver win play-in games

Monday’s games
1A-9 Girls: Faith Christian 56, Donoho 53
1A-9 Boys: Coosa Christian 65, Donoho 61
2A-11 Girls: Ohatchee 73, Gaston 41
2A-11 Girls: Sacred Heart 76, Westbrook Christian 19
3A-11 Girls: Weaver 54, Wellborn 24
4A-9 Girls: Talladega 70, Lincoln 44
4A-9 Girls: Anniston 84, Cleburne County 27
6A-13 Girls: Fort Payne 45, Oxford 24

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Spots Today

First-round games in the area tournament always make Ohatchee coach Bryant Ginn a little nervous, especially when his team is a 2 or 3 seed and the season is on the line.

The way Jorda Crook played Monday night, he really had nothing to worry about.

The fabulous freshman scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Lady Indians to an easy 73-41 win over Gaston in the Class 2A Area 11 tournament at the Anniston Aquatic Center.

The Tribe will play top-seeded host Sacred Heart for the area championship Friday at 6 p.m. Regradless of the outcome of that game, they are bound for the subregion round for the second year in a row.
“This game makes me nervous, no matter what you do or how you play against teams earlier in the season,” Ginn said. “I was a probably nervous; they weren’t. They were over there laughing and doing jazzercise or whatever those people were doing up there through the window. I’m happy they came out and took care of business. That’s big.”

Crook put her coach’s mind at ease early. She nearly had a double-double in the first quarter (missed it by two rebounds) and had her career high in points by halftime.

The most impressive part of all is she scored 17 straight points — not just for her team, but the game — in the final 4:28 of the first quarter as the Lady Indians jumped out 25-0. She scored 19 points in the quarter and had 25 in the first half.
“Whoa,” she said. “I feel like after the first couple points I got my jitters out and we all started scoring and playing good. Tonight was our night. We knew we had to play good because we’re going to have to play (Sacred Heart) Friday in the championship and we don’t want our season to end a way we don’t want it to.”
Crook’s previous career high was 22 in the second game of the year against Handley in the Champions Girls Thanksgiving Classic.She had that midway through the second quarter. She is now averaging 15.5 points a game.
The Lady Indians jumped out 8-0 and Gaston called time in hopes of stalling their momentum. When the teams returned to the floor it was all Crook. There were fast-break layups off turnovers, put backs, baskets every way imaginable except for a dunk – and don’t think there’s not a thought that’s coming some time before she graduates.
“That was huge jump start for us,” Ginn said. “I always worry about coming into games like this, how are we going to start out. I thought we played well, especially the first half. (Crook) played well right there the first half; 19 points in the first quarter, that’s big.
“She’s just so athletic. I don’t know she realizes how good she is. I talk to her all the time, I say I don’t think you realize the things you can do that can take you to the next level.”
Crook had the biggest game, but she wasn’t alone in major contributions. Tori Vice scored 19 points. Gracie George scored four points, but she grabbed 14 rebounds.

Person of interest

Sacred Heart girls coach Marcus Harrell doesn’t hesitate. Alisia Person is one of the “keys” to a long playoff life for the Lady Cardinals, he said, and the junior showed she was up to the task Monday.
Person hit four of the Lady Cardinals’ 12 3-pointers and scored 15 points in a 76-19 rout of Westbrook Christian in the night’s second Class 2A Area 11 girls semifinal. She hit two in the first quarter as part of a 33-0 run and two in the third quarter when everybody seemed to be hitting from behind the arc.
“She’s one of the keys to the playoffs, to be honest with you,” Harrell said. “When she gets hot, she’s tough to stop. We put up a lot of shots in the past week not having any games, purposely trying to get her hot again, and she came out on fire.”
The extra shooting drills was right on time. Person was as comfortable as ever on the floor and believed “I got my shot back.”
The Lady Cardinals already had five 3s in the book when they built their 44-8 halftime lead, then they hit seven in the third quarter – three right out of the gate to start the second half. Myiah Harris hit three, while Person and Serena Hardy had two each.  Harris finished with a game-high 24 points. Hardy had 14.
“We talked about a few things at halftime about what we wanted to run and they ran it to perfection,” Harrell said. “I was really glad to see that. We drew up a few different offensively looks out there. We kind of got away from that when we played Anniston in the county tournament … so it was good to see us move the ball like we did tonight.”
It’s almost as if the Westbrook made the Lady Cardinals mad by scoring the first basket of the game. Liana Shah opened the scoring with her only basket but then Sacred Heart scored the next 33 points into the second quarter to take control. They scored 14 points in the run off turnovers they created and five off their 3-pointers.
After the Lady Warriors ended that run with a 3-pointer, the Lady Cardinals went on another 11-0 run to go up 44-5. Hardy had six points in that run.
“It’s been a good year, but the problem was after the county tournament you could tell we were a little sluggish in our next game so we definitely we needed to come out to a fast start tonight, and we did just that, so I was really glad to see that, for sure,” Harrell said. “We played the Monday following the county tournament and we looked a little sluggish. We haven’t been able to play anymore, so it was good to get back on the court and have another game.
“I was anxious to see how we’d come out and the intensity was there, which is what I expected, but you like to see it.”
There were some other anxious moments later in the game. Jordan Sabree rolled her left ankle in the third quarter, had to be helped from the floor and didn’t play the rest of the game. 

Ohatchee 72, Gaston 41
Makiyah Underwood 3 3-9 10, Alexis Underwood 1 0-0 2, Tamera Foster 0 1-2 1, Lillian Lewis 1 3-5 5, Olivia Lowrey 1 0-0 2, Charlotte Whitmore 2 0-0 6, Tracionna Jones 0 0-0 0, Indya Price 1 0-0 2, Ivy Dupree 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Gargus 3 5-6 13, Totals 12 12-22 41.
OHATCHEE – Gracyn Snow 0 0-0 0, Jazmine Adams 2 0-0 4, Lyda Elders 1 0-0 2, Tori Vice 9 0-0 19, Morgan Foushee 2 0-2 5, Gracie George 2 0-0 4, Millie Rainwater 1 0-0 2, Jorda Crook 14 5-8 33, Karson Coppock 2 0-2 4. Totals 33 5-12 73.
Gaston                    0    13 10  18  –  41
Ohatchee               25  20 12  16  –  73
3-point goals: Gaston 5 (M. Underwood, Whitmore 2, Gargus 2); Ohatchee 2 (Vice, Foushee). Fouled out: Snow. Total fouls: Gaston 9, Ohatchee 21. Officials: Askew, Williams, McDonald.

Sacred Heart 76, Westbrook Christian 19
Margaret Morgan 1 0-0 3, Kylee Wyatt 0 0-1 0, Jenah Goosby 0 0-0 0, Brielle Wood 2 3-7 7, Liana Shah 1 0-0 2, Kinsley Gupta 3 0-0 7, Siera Hyfield 0 0-0, Kirsi Gupta 0 0-0 0, McKayla Bean 0 0-0 0, Anna Bowman 0 0-0 0, Claire Calvert 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 3-8 19.
SACRED HEART – Alisia Person 5 1-2 15, Myiah Harris 10 0-0 24, Amiyah Buchanan 3 0-0 7, Cearia Jenkins 2 0-0 4, Taysia West 2 0-0 4, Joelle Tillery 0 0-0 0, Jordan Sabree 0 2-2 2, Serena Hardy 6 0-2 14, Alyssa Bell 0 1-2 1, Jayda Fomby 2 0-0 5. Totals 30 4-6 76.
Westbrook           2    6    3     8    –  19
Sacred Heart       25  19  25  7    –  76
3-point goals: Westbrook 2 (Morgan, Gupta); Sacred Heart 12 (Person 4, Harris 4, Buchanan, Hardy 2, Fomby). Total fouls: Westbrook 9, Sacred Heart 15. Officials: Evans, Williams, McDonald.

Cover photo: Ohatchee freshman Jorda Crook (23) stands in the middle of the huddle listening to coach Bryant Ginn’s instructions during a timeout.

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