E.A. Sports Today

Defense dictates

White Plains uses a stingy defense to hold down Jacksonville, win first area tournament title in three years
By Gregory Kirby
Special to East Alabama Sports Today
JACKSONVILLE – If offense wins games and defense wins championships, that definitely was the case for White Plains in the Class 4A Area 10 tournament title game.
It was all about defense Friday night as the Wildcats shut down regular-season champion Jacksonville 43-36 to win their fourth area championship in six years and first since 2017.
“It’s the first one for this group and that’s what matters the most,” White Plains coach Chris Randall said. “Jacksonville is so good and we had to play almost perfect to have a chance to win and I felt like we did defensively. We really guarded, the best we’ve guarded all year.”
The Wildcats held Jacksonville to its lowest point total of the season, only 16 points in the first half, 35 percent shooting from the field in the game and 0-for-12 from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles entered the game with 137 3-pointers as a team. They hit eight the night before against Hokes Bluff.
“We haven’t shot that cold in a long time,” Jacksonville coach Cordell Hunt said. “That’s really been our problem the last couple games; we’re not shooting the ball well. If you’re going to beat a team like White Plains you’ve gotta hit some 3-point shots and we didn’t do that.”
There was no MVP, but you’d be able to make strong arguments for Brody Baker, Quin Wilson and Coleman Messer. Baker led all scorers with 18 points in the title game and Wilson had 14; they both hit four 3-pointers. Messer spearheaded the defensive effort.

You might even get a couple votes for Rico Aguire. The seldom-used senior made two suggestions to Randall in the second half that turned out to be pretty good calls.
“It was a team effort,” Randall said. “That’s who we are.”

Neither team did much scoring in the first half, playing to a 16-16 tie to the break. It was a two-point game entering the fourth quarter.
“It feels great to finally be a part of a championship team,” Wilson said. “I know we needed a big night … Somebody had to pick up the slack and they just fell in tonight.”
“When we came out of the half and it was the first time out I saw that Quin said he was going to bury a shot,” Baker said. “We ran a play that he always knocks down and he just knocked it down back-to-back. I’m so happy for Quin he’s hitting them now. Me, I just wanted to box them out and not let my team down (giving up) offensive rebounds.”
The Wildcats will now host Area 9 runner-up and defending 4A state champion Talladega in the sub-region round Tuesday night. Jacksonville travels to Anniston.
“We’ve got them at home, we haven’t lost a home game all year so I feel pretty good,” Wilson said. “I know our fans will be behind us, I know we’ll have a good game plan. I just can’t wait.”
“It’ll be rocking Tuesday night I can guarantee you that,” Randall said.
Championship game
White Plains 43, Jacksonville 36
Brody Baker 6-17 2-2 18, Quin Wilson 5-10 0-0 14, Jaden Chatman 2-5 3-5 7, Walker O’Steen 2-3 0-0 4, Coleman Messer 0-0 0-0 0, Kahlil Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Garrett Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Wheeler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-38 5-7 43.
JACKSONVILLE – Yessman Green 2-7 5-5 9, Donavon McCain 3-6 2-2 8, Kyrie Maynor 2-9 1-2 5, John Broom 2-3 0-0 4, Ron Wiggins 2-3 0-0 4, Q Long 1-4 0-0 2, Hudson Harvey 1-2 0-0 2, Caden Johnson 1-6 0-0 2, Jaden Barksdale 0-0 0-0 0, Cam Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-40 8-9 36.
White Plains             10 6   12 15  –  43
Jacksonville              9   7   10 10  –  35
3-point goals: 8-19 (Baker 4-10, Q. Wilson 4-6, Chatman 0-1, O’Steen 0-1, Wheeler 0-1); Jacksonville 0-12 (Green 0-2, McCain 0-2, Maynor 0-3, Broom 0-1, Long 0-1, Cd. Johnson 0-3). Rebounds: White Plains 21 (Chatman 7); Jacksonville 29 (Green 6). Fouled out: Maynor. Total fouls: White Plains 7, Jacksonville 14. Officials: Howell, Procuik, Ingram.

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