E.A. Sports Today

County tourney openers

Pleasant Valley, JCA and the Saks girls all win on opening night of the Calhoun County Tournament

Calhoun County Tournament
Friday’s Games
Boys Bracket
Pleasant Valley 68, Wellborn 41
Jacksonville Christian 51, Ohatchee 41
Girls Bracket
Donoho 2, Faith Christian 0 (forfeit)
Saks 28, Wellborn 20

Saturday’s Games
Boys Bracket
White Plains vs. Donoho, 9 a.m.
Weaver vs. Faith Christian, noon
Pleasant Valley vs. Piedmont, 3 p.m.
Girls Bracket
Jacksonville vs. Jacksonville Christian, 10:30 a.m.
Pleasant Valley vs. Weaver, 1:30 p.m.
Donoho vs. Piedmont, 4:30 p.m.

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – The Saks girls along with the boys from Pleasant Valley and Jacksonville Christian advanced to the next round on the opening day of the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament at Pete Matthews Coliseum Friday.

It was a day of short-handed rosters and COVID stories and teams battling with everything they could give out on the basketball floor. Saks head coach Dwight McDonald summed it up best:

“All of us are battling things we cannot control. We just have to show up, play the best we can and have fun.” 

Boys Bracket
Pleasant Valley 68, Wellborn 41

Pleasant Valley went on a 17-2 run in the second quarter to pull away and never looked back.

Garrett Cranmer banged home 16 points in the first half as the Raiders opened a 33-16 halftime lead and poured in 18 in the second half to finish with 34 to go along with 5 rebounds. Wellborn had no answers for Cranmer as he slashed his way to the basket for easy lay-ups or pulled up and hit 3-pointers.

“Cranmer had a really good game for us,” PV coach Brad Hood said. “He had ankle surgery after baseball last spring and missed all of our summer work-outs. He is starting to gather his strength back and is playing well.”

Wellborn got 22 points from center Kameron Jackson – 18 in the second half as the Panthers kept feeding him the ball on the low post.

The Raiders smothering defense created 18 turnovers in the game.

”We have been working on our defense,” Hood said. “We have gone from a team that I did not think could play defense at all to a really good man-to-man defensive team.

“We have been in so many close games and could not finish. I think that was my fault. I did not have them in good physical shape. We have worked on that and were able to finish strong tonight.”

The 11th-seeded Raiders improve to 6-13, while 14th-seeded Wellborn dropped to 0-12. PV will face sixth-seeded Piedmont Saturday.

PLEASANT VALLEY (6-13) – Garrett Cranmer 16 0-1 34, Dalton Haynes 0 0-0 0, Brayden Robinson 2 0-0 4, Kolby Battles 4 1-1 9, Zeke Johnson 2 0-0 5, Kyle Smith 3 2-2 10, Braxton Williams 1 0-0 2, Bryce Freeman 2 0-0 4. Totals 30 3-5 69.
WELLBORN (0-12) – Messiah Moore 1 2-2 5, Xavier Parker 1 0-0 3, Kameron Jackson 11 0-3 22, John Searcy 0-0 9, Conner Woodard 0 0 0-0 0, Jahlil Gay 0 0 0-0 0, Avery Odom 1 0-4 2. Totals 18 2-9 41.
Pleasant Valley   14  19  16   20   –  69
Wellborn                6  10  10  15   –  41

3-point goals: PV: 5 (Cranmer 2, Smith 2, Johnson); Wellborn 3 (Moore, Parker, Searcy). Total fouls: PV 13, Wellborn 10. 

JCA 51, Ohatchee 41

Cameron Moses parted through the sea of red Ohatchee jerseys, came out on the other side and made a three-point play the old-fashioned way to stop a 12-point Indians run in the fourth quarter and help the Thunder slide into the next round.

The 12th-seeded Thunder had seen a 41-27 fourth quarter lead shrink to 41-39 against the 13th-seeded Indians. Moses bulled his way through the lane and got the shot while being fouled and made the free-throw to give JCA a 44-39 lead.

The Thunder (7-8) would outscore the Indians 8-2 the rest of the way. JCA will face Saks in the next round Monday.  

“It was great game to watch,” Thunder head coach Tommy Miller said. “I thought both teams played well. Coach (Bryant) Ginn always does a great job of getting his teams ready to play. All eight of our players contributed important roles tonight. We shot the ball better than they did, but they played better defense.”

JCA’s Ethan Fair buried four 3-pointers and ended up with 18 points in the game, while Keibe Cook hammered the boards and came out with 18 points for Ohatchee.

JCA (7-8) – Emanuel Kidd 1 0-0 3, Ethan Fair 6 2-4 18, Tyler Doggrell 2 1-3 5, Braxton Brown 1 0-2 3, Noah Lee 0 2-4 2, Jordan Garner 0 0-1 0, Cameron Moses 3 1-2 8, Brodie Clay 6 0-1 12. Totals 19 6-17 51.
OHATCHEE (3-12) – Jake Roberts 2 0-0 5, Jesse Baswell 3 0-0 6, Eli Teem 3 1-2 8, Carson Tittle 1 0-0 2, Colby Hester 0 0-0 0, Jake Robertson 1 0-0 2, Ethan Blackburn 0 0-0 0, Keibe Crook 7 4-7 18. Totals 17 5-9 41.
JCA                          14  15  10  12  –  51
Ohatchee               14    7  10  10  –  41
3-point goals: JCA 7 (Fair 4, Brown, Kidd, Moses); Ohatchee 2 (Teem, Roberts). Fouled Out: Roberts, Baswell.

Girls Bracket
Saks 28, Wellborn 20

It was a game of overcoming adversity as 12th-seeded Saks (3-8) survived being down two starters due to COVID and choked out a late run by 13th-seed Wellborn (1-11). The Wildcats will face Alexandria in the next round Monday.

It was an ugly game from the start, as only seven field goals were made by the two teams combined in the first three quarters. Wellborn had none in the first half as the basket had a lid on it.

In heavy foul trouble, Wellborn defied the odds in the fourth quarter and Anna Odom scored five straight field goals in a little over two minutes. All of a sudden, the Saks lead was down to one point, 21-20. The Wellborn press had forced turnovers and the Wildcats seemed to be in trouble. 

Saks center Kayleigh Thomas then nailed three straight free throws to put the game away. She had missed 10 of her 11 previous attempts in the game.

“She was tired, as I did not have enough players to sub her out, but she came through when we needed her,” McDonald said.

The Wildcats missed 20 free throws in the game, while Wellborn was a perfect 4-4 from the line. The Panthers only made two other field goals outside of the fourth quarter, were at a 30-4 disadvantage in attempted free throws, had three starters foul out and had 26 turnovers in the game. Yet, they were only down a point with two minutes to go in the game. 

“I felt like the key point in stopping their run was us switching to our half-court trap,” McDonald said. “That shut down their momentum and gave us some turnovers. It was our fourth game this week. I told our kids to just go out and have fun and we got a win.”

SAKS (3-8) – Trenzly Bolding 0 0-0 0, Alayzia Neal 1 2-4 4, Keilynn Williams 2 0-0 5, Kennedy Robinson 0 0-0 0, Camrie Denham 0 0-3 0, Monterria Christopher 0 0-0 0, Kayleigh Thomas 2 5-16 9, Kendale Welch 3 3-7 10. Totals 8 10-30 28.
WELLBORN (1-11) – Mikayla Williams 2 4-4 8, Taniya Taylor 0 0-0 0, Bentley Rae Bean 0 0-0 0, Destiny Benefield 0 0-0 0, Calla Hayes 0 0-0 0, Anna Odom 5 0-0 10, Libby Smith 1 0-0 2, Layla Amberson 0 0-0 0, Hannah Grubbs 0 0-0, Totals 8 4-4 20.
Saks                        5   10   3   10    –  28
Wellborrn             2      2   4  12    –  20
3-point goals: Saks 2 (Williams, Welch). Fouled Out: Traylor, Hayes, Odom. Total fouls: Saks 11, Wellborn 25. Officials: Williams, Whitten, Holston.

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