E.A. Sports Today

Stepping into his own-ish

Boys roundup: With two best players out, Piedmont looks for others to emerge, Bethel has answered the call; Jacksonville erupts for 105 points, and more

TUESDAY’S BOYS GAMES
Anniston 51, White Plains 38
Faith Christian 63, Talladega Co. Central 50
Jacksonville 105, Ashville 43
Piedmont 57, Ohatchee 31
Ragland 63, Pleasant Valley 34
Saks 63, Cleburne County 42
Springville 41, Oxford 39

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE – With their two best players sitting on the end of the bench in street clothes, the Piedmont Bulldogs need someone or two or three to step up to pick up the slack until they return.

Several have made contributions and they all are getting valuable experience for the stretch run, but Tuesday night freshman Ish Bethel rose above the crowd and his double-double propelled the Bulldogs to a 57-31 victory over Ohatchee that sealed their No. 1 seed in Class 3A Area 11.

Bethel scored a career-high 19 points and recorded 11 steals. He’s been a regular in coach JoJo Odam’s rotation, but his visibility has increased as Alex Odam and Omarion Foster remain sidelined with injuries.

“It’s definitely a good experience,” Bethel said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity coach is giving me. I knew I had the potential (to play a lot), but everybody can play, so I have to work harder.”

Bethel was really active on the defensive end. He picked up five steals in the first quarter alone. There was a stretch across the third and fourth quarters where he made steals on three straight possessions, one of which he took on his own and finished with a thunderous dunk. He tied up several other balls and blocked a couple shots.

“Tonight was just one of those nights,” he said. “I was hyped. All the teammates were cheering me on. Everybody had the good mentality to play defense.”

Odam and Foster are the Bulldogs top two scorers. When Odom missed the Champions title game against Alexandria because of a foot injury, Foster took control of the ball and handled himself well. But now he’s hurt as well.

It’s uncertain when they might return from their injuries. Coach Odam calls it a “slow go” with Foster. Player Odam gets reevaluated Wednesday.

The next big thing on the schedule is the Calhoun County Tournament that starts Friday. The Bulldogs debut the next day. Asked if he anticipates either player being available for any of it, Odam allows a “maybe.”

“I don’t know about both of them,” he said. “Maybe we can get something out of one of them.”

In the meantime the Bulldogs will look around the locker room for others to pick up the slack. Bethel and classmate Cole Wilson have provided some regular reinforcement, but Tuesday night the Bulldogs also got some good play from Coleman Reid, Gavin Lawler and Ridge Fagan.

Lawler scored 10 points, Fagan scored eight and Reid blocked several shots.

“Not having those guys, somebody is going to have to step up and we’re just looking for that guy,” JoJo Odam said. “Offensively tonight I would say it was Ish, but it was everybody on the defensive end.

“We had a good day of practice yesterday. We got after it defensively. We talked about that’s where it starts. We’ve got to play better defense. We need to. We had a really good one (practice) yesterday; maybe that helps.”

Cover photo: Piedmont freshman Ish Bethel (11) puts up a shot against Ohatchee Tuesday night.

Piedmont 57, Ohatchee 31
PIEDMONT –
Gavin Lawler 4 2-2 10, Cassius Fairs 3 0-0 6, Cole Wilson 1 0-0 3, Ridge Fagan 2 3-4 8, Ish Bethel 7 4-7 19, Jake Rhinehart 1 1-3 4, Chance Murphy 1 1-3 3, Coleman Reid 1 1-2 3, Rhett Alford 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 13-23 57.
OHATCHEE – Eli Teem 3 0-0 7, Jake Roberts 0 0-0 0, Jesse Baswell 3 3-5 9, Tripp Pesnell 0 0-0 0, Colby Hester 0 0-0 0, Jake Roberson 0 0-0 0, Ethan Blackburn 0 0-0 0, Nathan Dover 1 0-0 2, Brent Jennings 0 0-0 0, Luke Vinson 0 0-0 0, Ayden McNair 0 0-0 0, Kelbe Crook 2 9-10 13. Totals 9 12-15 31.
Piedmont             16  13   15   13   –  57
Ohatchee                8    5   10    8    –  31
3-point goals: Piedmont 4 (Wilson, Fagan, Bethel, Rhinehart); Ohatchee 1 (Teem). Fouled out: Baswell. Total fouls: Piedmont 14, Ohatchee 19. Officials: Mallicoat, Shirley, Hall.

JACKSONVILLE 105, ASHVILLE 43: The Golden Eagles shot 59 percent from the field, put four scorers in double figures and scored a season-high for points. Caden Johnson and John Broom each scored 20 points, freshman Kevin Barksdale had 14 and Quin Long had 12 (with seven rebounds). The four top scorers were a combined 26-for-38 from the field.

The Golden Eagles also forced Ashville into 30 turnovers (21 steals), off which they scored 40 points. 

Jacksonville has added a game to its schedule right before the area tournament. The Golden Eagles will play Plainview 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Jacksonville State. The Bears needed a game after Enterprise had to reschedule an area game.

“It’s a great opportunity against a great opponent in a great environment,” Plainview coach Robi Coker said. “Pete Mathews (Coliseum) is dear to my heart (as a former JSU basketball assistant) and the opportunity to play a team of (Jacksonville’s) caliber, it’s a no-brainer.

“It’ll be a fun game. It should be a playoff caliber game. We believe iron sharpens iron and obviously they’re one of the teams in 4A that has a chance to win a championship and we’re trying to gear up for a possible run at one.”

Jacksonville coach Shane Morrow agrees it’ll be a good late-season measuring stick for a team with high expectations.

“It is a great opportunity to play a really good team, a good measuring stick to see where we are at as a team,” he said.

Jacksonville 105, Ashville 43
ASHVILLE –
Ashton Vann 6-18 1-1 15, Chandler McGinnis 3-6 0-0 9, Jacob Wilson 3-8 1-2 7, Walker Griffith 3-9 0-0 7, Elijah Turner 2-2 0-0 5, Braxton Hall 0-1 0-0 0, Ashton Mostella 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-44 2-3 43.
JACKSONVILLE – Caden Johnson 8-11 2-2 20, John Broom 9-10 0-0 20, Devin Barksdale 4-11 4-5 14, Quin Long 5-6 0-3 12, Jacob Zackery 3-6 0-0 8, Cade Phillips 2-3 3-4 7, Ethan Duke 3-4 0-2 6, Camren Johnson 3-4 0-00 6, Taj Morris 2-6 1-2 5, Kydric Fisher 1-3 1-2 4, Julian Hill 1-4 0-0 3, Hayden Robinson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 41-69 11-20 105.
Ashville                 11   16    8    8   –    43
Jacksonville         36  27  32  10   –  105
3-point goals: Ashville 7-17 (Vann 2-7, McGinnis 3-5, Griffith 1-4, Turner 1-1); Jacksonville 12-30 (Cd. Johnson 2-3, Broom 2-2, Barksdale 2-7, Long 2-2, Zackery 2-5, Morris 0-3, Fisher 1-3, Hill 1-4, Robinson 0-1). Rebounds: Ashville 26 (Wilson 7); Jacksonville 38 (Long 7, Duke 5). Total fouls: Ashville 15, Jacksonville 8.

FAITH CHRISTIAN 63, TCC 50: Thomas Curlee and Ethan Richerzhagen scored 24 and 17, respectively, to lead the Lions’ comeback. TCC led 15-10 after the first quarter.
 
Faith Christian 63, Talladega Co. Central 50
TCC –
Zion Robinson 1 0-0 2, Cameron Swain 4 0-0 8, Jakendrick Tuck 9 0-2 18, Jhovi Cole 2 0-0 5, Jamieon Garrett 4 0-0 9, Javari McKenzie 1 0-2 2, Jamier Duncan 2 2-2 6. Totals 21 2-6 50.

FAITH – Thomas Curlee 10-23 3-5 24, Ethan Richerzhagen 5-13 6-6 17, Jacques Prater 3-9 1-2 9, Yoshua Arevalo 2-5 2-4 7, Demonde Bell 3-5 0-0 6, Colton Pahman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-57 12-17 63.
TCC          15   8  10  15   –  50
Faith       10 18  22  13   –  63
3-point goals: TCC 2 (Cole, Garrett); Faith 5-27 (Curlee 1-7, Richerzhagen 1-8, Prater 2-8, Arevalo 1-2, Pahman 0-2). Rebounds: TCC 26, Faith 34 (Arevalo 10, Richerzhagen 7, Bell 7). Fouled out: Garrett. Total fouls: TCC 15, Faith 11.

ANNISTON 51, WHITE PLAINS 38: The Bulldogs hit all five of their 3-pointers in the third quarter – three by Tadyn Jones – to pull away from a defensive battle. They were only leading 16-11 at halftime before their outside shot came to life. 

Jones and Talib Christian led Anniston with 11 points each. Troy Hall added 10. The Wildcats held Antonio Kite scoreless.

Anniston 51, White Plains 38
WHITE PLAINS –
Tucker Pearson 1 0-0 3, Paul Laube 0 0-0 0, Dylan Barksdale 2 0-0 4, Cole Senciboy 1 0-0 3, Josh Wheeler 4 0-0 11, Braden Knight 0 0-0 0, Daniel Williams 1 2-2 4, Walker Osteen 4 2-2 12, Kendrick Ball 0 0-0 0.  Totals 14 3-3 38.
ANNISTON – Jaden Lewis 0 0-0 0, Antonio Kite 0 0-0 0, Tadyn Jones 3 2-2 11, Jamarius Billingsley 0 0-0 0, Jacques Thomas 0 0-0 0, Troy Hall 4 2-2 10, C.J. Munford 2 3-4 8, Malik Beisley 2 2-2 7, Kamron Sandlin 2 0-0 4, Talib Christian 5 1-2 11. Totals 18 10-12 51.
White Plains         2    9   13  14   –  38
Anniston               10    6  25   10   –  51
3-point goals: White Plains 7 (Pearson, Senciboy, Wheeler 3, Osteen 2); Anniston 5 (Jones 3, Munford, Beisley). Fouled out: Pearson. Total fouls: White Plains 16, Anniston 12. Officials: McClendon, Caldwell, Smith.

SAKS 63, CLEBURNE COUNTY 42: Gavin Doss scored 13 of his game- and career-high 20 points in the first half as the Wildcats opened a 36-20 lead. Sean Parnell scored eight of his 13 in the second quarter.

Saks 63, Cleburne County 42
SAKS –
Braelan Robinson 2 1-4 5, Shon Elston 2 2-4 6, Sean Parnell 6 1-4 13, Jalen McCants 3 0-2 6, Christian Smith 0 2-3 2, Rickey Garrett 4 0-0 8, Anthony Bothwell 0 3-8 3, Gavin Doss 8 2-3 20. Totals 25 11-28 63.
CLEBURNE COUNTY –Dayleon Brown 3 2-2 9, Andrew Adams 0 0-0 0, Brody Higgins 2 0-0 4, Joel Campbell 0 0-0 0, Grant Harcrow 1 0-2 3, Jaylan Groce 2 0-0 4, Ron Ervin 2 0-0 6, Rico Huguley 1 0-2 2, Dawson Haynes 0 2-2 2, Dee Prothro 1 0-1 2, Kyler McGrinn 1 0-0 2, Isaac Marshall 2 0-0 4, Greyson Freeman 1 2-6 3. Totals 16 6-15 42.
Saks                                      16  20 10  17   –  63
Cleburne County                8  12  10 12   –  42
3-point goals: Saks 2 (Doss 2); Cleburne County 4 (Brown, Harcrow, Ervin 2). Total fouls: Saks 16, Cleburne County 17. Officials: McGraw, Jarrett, Kelley.

RAGLAND 63, PLEASANT VALLEY 34: Jordan Turner jumped out of the gate with 16 points in the first quarter and helped the Purple Devils open a 26-12 lead they carried throughout the rest of the game. Turner finished with 19 to lead all scorers. D.J. Turner had 18.

Ragland 63, Pleasant Valley 34
PLEASANT VALLEY –
Garrett Cranmer 3 5-10 12, Dalton Haynes 0 0-0 0, Brayden Robinson 4 0-0 10, Kolby Battles 1 0-2 2, Zeke Johnson 0 0-0 0, Shane Cramer 0 1-2 1, Kyle Smith 4 0-0 9. Totals 12 6-14 34.
RAGLAND – Javaris Turner 1 2-2 4, Jordan Turner 8 1-2 19, Braxton Layton 2 0-0 5, Kentrell Turner 5 2-2 12, Tacorian Soler 1 0-0 2, Ezra Hill 1 0-0 3, D.J. Turner 7 4-7 18. Totals 25 9-13 63.
Pleasant Valley                    12   11    4    7  –  34
Ragland                                    26   13  16    8  –  63
3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 4 (Robinson 2, Cranmer, Smith); Ragland 4 (Jo. Turner 2, Layton, Hill). Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 10, Ragland 12. Officials: Hoffman, Hollingsworth, Bearden.





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