E.A. Sports Today

Coming up big

White Plains sharp, big man Johnson dominant inside in rout of Talladega County Central

Girls Game
Moody 51, Talladega Co. Central 22
Boys Game
White Plains 65, Talladega Co. Central 36

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

LINCOLN – When White Plains basketball coach Chris Randall tells Carter Johnson to go play on the porch he isn’t separating his junior post from the herd for a timeout.

That’s just what the Wildcats call that spot between the end line and the low block. And for the last two games at least Johnson has made it his personal playground.

The 6-foot-7 junior established a career high for points for the second day in a row Wednesday, going for 18 points in the Wildcats’ 65-36 rout of Talladega County Central on the final day of the Lincoln Thanksgiving Round Robin. 

He scored 16 against Lincoln the night before, setting up shop down low as his teammates fed him the ball or he put back a missed shot. And it was more of the same against the Tigers.

“We’ve got names for different spots on the floor,” Randall said. “The corners are called the money spots, we just call that one the porch. You know old people sit on the front porch and watch. We want Carter and Daniel (Williams) to get back there behind the defense and watch and read the ball and then react to the ball.”

Johnson missed only two shots all game. He made three straight buckets to open the second quarter and stretch the lead to 28-8. He also grabbed eight rebounds.

“He can make nine in a row and when he misses everybody’s like ‘Oh my gosh,’ because he’s so big and he’s right at the rim a lot of times,” Randall said. “He’s been very efficient and he’s getting better every day.

“This is his first time to get varsity minutes and you can just watch his confidence grow every day, every time out. Everything’s starting to gel and he’s getting more touches.”

Having a true big man in the lineup is taking a little getting used to on both sides. The last time Randall remembers having the luxury of a true big man was way back in 2004 (Zack Lee). The Wildcats have had players with size before, but many of them played facing the basket.

Johnson is a back-to-the-basket kind of guy. It wouldn’t hurt Randall’s feelings if this big dog stayed on the porch.

“It is a lot (of responsibility), to be honest, but it is what it is,” Johnson said. “I’m ready for it. I think it’s a lot different for everyone else, too. It’s going to take a lot for them to get used to playing someone my size, but we’re getting after it.”

“We’ve always tried to get the ball inside, but lately it’s been to get it inside to kick it back out for a 3, but now we’re getting it inside to finish,” Randall said. “And a lot of times we’ve had to get it inside with the dribble and now it’s nice to be able to throw it in there to him.”

The Wildcats were as efficient as they’ve been all year in the game. They hit their first five shots from the floor, 13 of their first 17 and 16 of 24 in the first half.

Only three times in the half did they fail to score when the possession contained a shot and only once in the first 14 minutes. Johnson had two of the baskets when the Wildcats were able to secure the offensive rebound.

“We have struggled so much it’s good to see the ball go through the net for us,” Randall said. 

Collin Spivey, who did not play in either of the first two games here, hit three straight 3s on the Wildcats’ last three possessions in the first quarter and had all 11 of his points in the quarter.

“He’s a senior with a great attitude,” Randall said. “We tell our kids when you graduate the one thing we’d like to say about you is you were a great teammate and Collin Spivey is a great teammate.

“To see him score 11 in the first quarter … He got a wide open layup that got his confidence going and then he hit that first 3 and the kids are going crazy pulling for him. He’s a senior who doesn’t play a whole lot and guys like that who put their teammates ahead of themselves is special.”

Paul Laube 0 0-0 0, Z.J. Rosario 1 0-0 2, Silas Hines 1 0-0 2, Josh Wheeler 1 0-0 3, Coleman Ray 2 0-0 5, Cam Almon 1 0-0 2, Daniel Williams 4 0-0 8, Collin Spivey 4 0-0 11, Luke Bussey 5 2-2 14, Carter Johnson 9 0-1 18. Totals 28 2-3 65.
TALLADEGA CO. CENTRAL – Patrick Dosius 3 0-0 9, Thomas Gooden 6 0-0 14, Khemani Robinson 0 1-2 1, Jhovi Cole 1 0-0 3, Messiah McCuff 1 0-2 2, Javari McKenzie 2 0-0 5, Sammy Cannon 0 0-0 0, Deonte Brown 0 0-0 0, Jamier Duncan 1 0-2 2, Others 0 0-2 0. Totals 14 1-8 36.

White Plains22151315 –65
TCC86148 – 36

3-point goals: White Plains 7 (Wheeler, Ray, Spivey 3, Bussey 2); TCC 7 (Dosius 3, T. Gooden 2, Cole, McKenzie). Total fouls: White Plains 14, TCC 9. Officials: Douthitt, Baker, Stringer.

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