E.A. Sports Today

Regional roundup

Alexandria, JCA, Anniston boys and girls reach finals, Fyffe knocks out Piedmont with defensive second half, Spring Garden’s Austin hits 1,000; will be updated

Boys subregionals

1A: Jacksonville Christian 50, Skyline 47
3A: Plainview 73, Saks 33
3A: Fyffe 61, Piedmont 51
4A: Anniston 61, Randolph 37
5A: Alexandria 62, Douglas 33
6A: Mountain Brook 58, Oxford 48
Girls subregionals
2A: Spring Garden 69, Altamont 34
4A: Anniston 58, Priceville 42

Valley Cubs’ long wait over

By East Alabama Sports Today

At one point in the season Alexandria was two games below .500 and searching for answers. Then it lost a big chunk of its lineup over the holidays.

Today, the Valley Cubs are one win away from going to the Final Four.

The Cubs earned their first trip to the regional finals since 2009 Friday night when they swamped Douglas 62-33 in Larry Ginn Gym.

They will play Ramsay in the 5A Northeast Regional final 4:30 p.m. Monday at Jacksonville State for their first trip to the Final Four since 1998, the year after they last won a state championship.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Cubs coach Jason Johnson said. “We were sitting ta 2-4 early this year, but were able to overcome that adversity and play our best basketball late in the year.”

No one is hotter for the Valley Cubs at this time of year than D’Anthony Walton. He scored 19 points against Douglas and has scored 95 points in the Cubs’ four postseason games. He won the subregion game with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Landan Williams was Alexandria’s leading scorer with 20 points. He did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 14 points. Julian Wright added 10 points.

Alexandria 62, Douglas 33
Eli Teal 0 0-0 0, Josh DeArmos 1 1-4 4, Jansen Rogers 0 0-0 0, Ziano Naradi 1 0-0 3, Yael Lucas 1 0-0 3, Raygen Edmondson 7 0-0 17, Jaylen Spain 0 0-0 0, Dakota Steward 2 0-0 4, Oscar Conriquez 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 3-6 33.
ALEXANDRIA – Javais McGhee 1 0-0 3, D’Anthony Walton 7 3-3 19, Collin Taylor 3 2-2 8, Ivonte Davis 0 0-0 0, Aaron Johnson 0 0-0 0, Julian Wright 4 2-2 10, DeShaun Foster 1 0-0 2, Landan Williams 7 6-8 20. Totals 23 13-15 62.
Douglas                    5     8     9   11   –   33 
Alexandria            11   22   20    9   –   62
3-point goals: Douglas 6 (DeArmos, Nardi, Lucas, Edmondson 3); Alexandria 3 (McGhee, Walton 2). Technical fouls: Edmondson, Walton. Fouled out: Rogers. Total fouls: Douglas 12, Alexandria 11. Officials: Binion, Riley, Batey.

JCA back in the finals

JACKSONVILLE – Ethan Burrage hit a 3-pointer with 3:30 to play to put Jacksonville Christian ahead and the Thunder held on under a barrage of fouls to edge Skyline 50-47 and earn a spot in the Class 1A Northeast Regional championship game at Jacksonville State.

The Thunder (19-8), who won the region last year for its first-ever trip to the Final Four, will play either area rival Ragland or Decatur Heritage Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. for a return trip to Birmingham.

Tanner Wilson was JCA’s leading scorer with 23 points, while Tavian Alexandria led it on the boards with 13 rebounds. Landon Willis had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. 

Burrage broke a 45-45 tie with his 3-ball. He finished with nine points.

Bulldogs bedeviled

FYFFE —Fyffe did it to them again.

The Red Devils took out Piedmont in the Class 3A football semifinals earlier in the fall and Friday night, just a long 3-pointer from where that game was played, they took out the Bulldogs in the basketball Northeast Regionals.

Overcoming a sluggish start, Fyffe held the Bulldogs to 13 second-half points and closed the game with clutch free-throw shooting, winning 61-51 in a Class 3A Northeast Sub-Regional semifinal game at Mike Cochran Gymnasium.

Fyffe (24-6) plays area rival Plainview in the 3A regional final at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jacksonville State. Plainview routed Saks 73-33 in the other semifinal.

Piedmont (17-8) roared to an 11-point halftime lead behind a big half from Alex Odam and looked like it would be headed down the road for the regional final. But the Bulldogs had only five field goals in the second half; Odam had seven in the second quarter alone.

“When we started out tonight I thought it might be our last game, because we didn’t seem to be into the game,” Fyffe coach Neal Thrash said. “I don’t know what was going on.”

After erupting for 24 of his game-high 32 points in the first half, Odam was held to just eight in the second half, largely due to Xavier Works’ defensive work. Odam finished shooting 13-of-30 from the floor. He also had three assists and three steals. 

“I tried to tell them how good (Odam) was, and I don’t think they believed me,” Thrash said. “But now they had a good dose of him right there. He did some very special things in the first half, but then we settled down and started getting after his tail.”

Odam poured in 17 points in the second quarter to help push the Bulldogs to a 38-29 halftime lead before the Red Devils sharpened their defensive effort and rallied. Thrash praised the job Works did in guarding Odam in 1-on-1 situations in the second half.

“It was about staying with and staying with hands up in his face,” Thrash said. “And if he started getting a couple of dribbles into the paint, we were going to have somebody run and help. Tate Goolesby, Micah Johnson and Brody Dalton all did a really good job of coming to help defend.”

Parker Godwin scored a layup off a stolen pass and assisted Works with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 45-43 with 3:21 remaining in the third. Tate Goolesby found Brody Dalton for a layup to make it a one-point game and Micah Johnson dished to an open Goolesby, who buried a trey, to lift Fyffe into a 47-45 lead with 1:50 to play in the period.

Godwin paced Fyffe with 25 points and five assists. Johnson added 12 points and 10 rebounds, Dalton contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Goolesby chipped in seven points and 10 rebounds.

Odam sank a pair of free throws to send the game into a 47-47 tie entering the fourth. Fyffe took the lead for good with 5:14 left in regulation and extended it by making nine of 12 free throws in the closing minutes.

“We’ve not been the best free-throw-shooting team in the world this year, but tonight we did really well,” Thrash said. “The ones we missed weren’t deadly for us, but we made some crucial foul shots.” – Glendon Poe, The (Fort Payne) Times-Journal

Fyffe 61, Piedmont 51
PIEDMONT (17-8) –
Alex Odam 13 5-5 32, Omarion Foster 2 2-3 6, Luke Bussey 2 0-0 6, Jadon Calhoun 0 0-0 0, Jack Hayes 0 0-0 0, Jakaari Foster 1 0-0 2, Sean Smith 2 0-0 5. Totals 20 7-8 51.
FYFFE (24-6) – Tyler Stephens 0 0-0 0, Micah Johnson 5 1-2 12, Xavier Works 2 0-1 6, Tate Goolesby 2 2-2 7, Parker Goodwin 7 6-7 23, Brody Dalton 5 3-3 13, Jesse Matthews 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 12-15 61.
Piedmont              18   20    9     4    –   51
Fyffe                      16   13   18   14   –   61
3-point goals: Piedmont 4 (Odam, Bussey 2, Smith); Fyffe 7 (Johnson, Works 2, Goolesby, Goodwin 3). Fouled out: Bussey. Total fouls: Piedmont 15, Fyffe 10. Officials: Stoudmire, Flowers, Kerney.

Girls games
Spring Garden rolls, Austin hits 1,000

BIRMINGHAM – Ace Austin etched her name alongside the numerous history-makers in the Spring Garden girls basketball program.

The eighth-grader eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in just her second varsity season during a 23-point performance that carried the Lady Panthers over Altamont in the Class 2A Northeast Regional semifinals. She now has 1,003 career points.

“I want to say I’m surprised, but at the same time I’m not surprised because I know what her level of play has been since she was a fifth grader,” Austin’s father and head coach Ricky Austin said. “I’m proud we have a player in our program who can produce that kind of points at a young age. That says a lot about the type players we have in our program, when we’ve got one who can do that at a young age.”

Altamont tried to slow the pace of the game down, but Spring Garden was still able to take control early.  The Lady Panthers (32-2) built a 20-7 first-quarter lead and held a 34-12 advantage at halftime. They led by a 55-22 margin at the end of three quarters.

“That was to our advantage when we were able to speed them up,” Austin said. “Our girls kind of forgot about everything and just played basketball once the tempo of the game got where we wanted it.”

Neely Welsh tossed in 21 points, grabbed three rebounds and had an assist for Spring Garden. Abbey Steward added eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Lexy Adkison finished with seven points, eight boards and two steals. Austin also had nine rebounds, eight assists, six steals and two blocks.

The Lady Panthers now play Pisgah (18-5) Thursday at JSU for another trip to the Final Four in Birmingham.

“We know who we’re playing,” Austin said. “As soon as the reclassification came out, and we saw where we ended up, and we saw where Pisgah ended up, we immediately said if you’re going to win a state championship, you’re going through Pisgah, and here we are. 

“We’re in a position to take one more step and try to get back down to Birmingham. That would be great progress for this program, to do it at the 2A level.”– Shannon Fagan, Sports Director, WEIS

Anniston 58, Priceville 42

The top-ranked defending state champion Lady Dawgs return to the Class 4A Northeast Regional finals after winning a matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state. Anniston will play Monday at 9 a.m. against an opponent to be determined.

It’s their third straight trip to the regional finals and tenth since 2006. They’ve won seven of the previous nine and the last five in a row.

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