E.A. Sports Today

Big-shot Bussey

White Plains senior comes up biggest in fourth quarter as Wildcats down Cherokee County in confidence-building victory

White Plains’ Luke Bussey shoots one of his six fourth-quarter free throws Tuesday against Cherokee County. He hit five and scored 11 points to help the Wildcats win 55-52. (Photo by Joe Medley)

TUESDAY’S BOYS GAMES
Anniston at Westminster Christian, ppd., Saturday
Alexandria 73, Lincoln 48
Donoho 65, Wadley 64
Faith Christian 67, ASD 55
Glencoe 61, Ohatchee 40
Handley 71, Talladega 43
Jacksonville 72, Cleburne County 28
Jacksonville Christian 62, Cedar Bluff 54
Munford 68, Pleasant Valley 59
Oxford 66, Fort Payne 52
Piedmont 71, Saks 41
Randolph County 50, Beulah 19
Southside at Douglas
Weaver 58, Wellborn 26
White Plains 55, Cherokee County 52
Woodland 55, Ranburne 40

St. Clair County Tournament
At Ragland
Victory Christian vs. St. Clair County, 8 p.m

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

WHITE PLAINS — A shooter’s conscience considers not shooting unconscionable, when his team needs a big bucket.

Luke Bussey’s conscience is clear after White Plains’ boys gained a confidence-building victory in Class 4A, Area 10 play Tuesday.

Bussey hit the 3-pointer that gave White Plains the lead for good and five of six free throws in the final 33 seconds as the Wildcats downed visiting Cherokee County 55-52.

White Plains (13-12) positioned itself for a potential coin flip for the No. 2 seed in the area tournament. The Wildcats must beat Cleburne County at home Thursday to earn the flip with Cherokee County.

In that scenario, White Plains and Cherokee County will have the middle two seeds, regardless.

“It’s just which jersey we wear” in the area tournament, White Plains coach Chris Randall said.

Confidence gained means more than which team wears white and calls itself home in area champion Jacksonville’s gym in early February.

“It’s big,” Bussey said. “We have two big games this week. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum going and have a big area tournament and make some noise in the playoffs.”

Bussey’s noise came in Tuesday’s fourth quarter. With White Plains leading 37-36 through three quarters, he scored eight of his team-high 11 points over the final eight minutes.

Actually, it was more like the final four minutes. Josh Wheeler put back A Bussey miss to start the fourth quarter. Silas Hines scored in the paint, Z.J. Rosario on a drive then Daniel Williams on two free throws to keep White Plains in a 45-45 tie.

Then Bussey met his moment, draining a three to make it 48-45.

“He’d had two air balls and still had the guts,” Randall said. “That’s one thing you don’t have to worry about Luke is whether he’s going to be confident, because he’s put the work in.”

Rosario hit two foul shots to make it 50-46, and Bussey took it from there. He hit one of two foul shots at 33.2 seconds and made two-fers at 24.5 and 7.1 seconds.

Cherokee County couldn’t keep him from getting the ball and getting on the foul line. For that matter, neither could Randall.

“At the very end we actually ran a play for Josh to get the ball, but I accidentally cut on top of him,” Bussey said. “I wanted the ball anyway.”

As for the 3-pointer that gave White Plains the lead for good?
“Oh yeah, I love taking the big shots,” Bussey said. “I feel like I can make them. I’ve got that confidence, so I’ll pull it every time.”

Just as big for White Plains was the tag-team defense of Rosario and Dylan Barksdale on Cherokee County’s Jackson Amos. He scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers, but had five points at halftime. He hit a runner and banked in a three to tie the game at 43-43 in the fourth quarter but didn’t score down the stretch.

In the game’s final sequence Barksdale and Rosario awaited Amos on either side of a screen at the top of the key. Amos dribbled left and passed to Malachi Horton, who missed a contested three from the corner.

“The best thing is, we didn’t turn the ball over in the fourth quarter, and we hit 9-for-11 from the line,” Randall said. “We missed two one-and-ones, but we hit them when we needed to down the stretch and had no turnovers against their pressure.”

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Jackson Amos 6 0-0 16, Malachi Horton 2 6-7 10, Jacob Cornejo 1 0-0 2, Jaden Wilson 8 2-6 20, Eli Martin 2 2-2 4. Totals 19 10-15 52.
WHITE PLAINS – Dylan Barksdale 3 0-0 6, Paul Laube 2 0-0 4, Z.J. Rosario 3 2-4 8, Silas Hines 2 0-0 5, Josh Wheeler 5 0-0 10, Coleman Ray 0 0-1 0, Daniel Williams 3 2-2 5, Luke Bussey 3 5-6 11, Carter Johnson 2 2-2 6. Totals 23 11-15 55.
Cherokee County    15         8        13        16 –     52
White Plains         14        12        11        18 –     55
3-point goals: Cherokee County 4 (Amos 4), White Plains 4 (Hines 1, Williams 1, Bussey 2). Total fouls: Cherokee County 18, White Plains 12. Officials: Kelley, Jarrett, Batey.

PIEDMONT 71, SAKS 41: Piedmont continued its dominance of Class 3A, Area 11. The Bulldogs improved to 17-4 overall, 6-0 in area play.

Alex Odam’s march to 3,000 career points continued with a 26-point performance. He scored them all in the first three quarters.

Rollie Pinto hit three 3-pointers en route to 20 points.

Piedmont will play host to the area tournament.

Anthony Bothwell led the way for Saks with 17 points.

PIEDMONT – Alex Odam 13 0-0 26, Rollie Pinto 6 5-5 20, Ishmael Bethel 2 0-0 5, Colton Proctor 1 1-2 4, Luke Rhinehart 1 0-0 2, Trevor Pike 1 0-0 2, Chance Murphy 1 0-0 2, Rhett Alford 1 0-0 2, Cole Wilson 3 1-1 8. Totals 29 7-8 71.
SAKS – Jakari Streeter 2 1-1 5, Christian Smith 1 102 3, Anthony Bothwell 7 2-2 17, Tae Elston 2 0-0 5, Deontae Elston 2 2-5 6, Keondre Johnson 2 1-2 5. Totals 16 7-12 41.
Piedmont           23      18     20        10 –     71
Saks     11        9        14         7 –     41
3-point goals: Piedmont 6 (Pinto 3, Bethel, Proctor, Wilson), Saks 2 (Bothwell, T. Elston). Total fouls: Piedmont 10, Saks 9. Officials: Richardson, Hall, Oden.

Drew Williamson (5) and Rich Goad (4), shown in a recent game against Faith Christian, returned to the Dohono lineup Tuesday night and played big roles in a victory over Wadley. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

DONOHO 65, WADLEY 64: Drew Williamson hit the go-ahead free throw with 10 seconds left and Sean Keel batted an inbounds pass into the backcourt with 1.5 to play to preserve another important area win for the Falcons.

Williamson and Rich Goad both were surprise returnees to the lineup after being out sick and both played big roles in the come-from-behind victory. Williamson scored 23 points and drew defensive attention away from the other players on the floor and Goad and scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. Jordan Calhoun 16 points.

“My goodness, man, it was crazy,” said Donoho coach Korielle Beavers, who credited his assistant coaches for helping him get the pieces in the right place. “I was not expecting them to play. They hadn’t said anything to me all day. It was gametime and they were going to try. If they don’t play tonight, it probably gets out of hand.”

The Falcons are still in the mix for hosting rights for the area tournament. If they beat Winterboro and Faith beats Wadley, the schools just two miles apart will toss a coin for the top seed. 

WADLEY – Jaquez Wilkes 5-1-11, Damarious Spraddling 0-3-3, Callan Hutchinson 2-1-5, Isacc Minnifield 8-4-21, Frisco Robertson 8-0-17, Jabari Burns 3-1-7. Totals 26-10-64.
DONOHO – Jordan Cameron 7-1-16, Jack Wallace 0-0-0, Isaiah Smith 0-0-0, Cash Worley 0-0-0, Sam Johnson 2-0-4, Hayes Farrell 1-0-2, Bruce Downey 1-0-2, Sean Keel 3-0-6, Drew Williamson 9-3-23, Rich Goad 5-2-12. Totals 28-6-65
Wadley           18        17        15        14 –     64
Donoho           19        9          17        20 –     65
3-point goals: Wadley 2 (Minnifield, Robinson); Donoho 3 (Cameron, Williamson 2). Total fouls: Wadley 14, Donoho 15.

MUNFORD 68, PLEASANT VALLEY 59:
 PV’s Jesse Gannaway hit eight 3-pointers for 31 points in the game, but the Raiders couldn’t contain Munford’s fourth-quarter assault.

Gannaway hit five of his treys and scored 18 points in the third quarter as the Raiders grabbed a 47-45 lead. But the Lions outscored them 23-12 in the fourth quarter with Javion White scoring eight of his 19 points and Sylvester Smith adding six of his 15 to pull it out. Demetrius Norwood scored all 12 of his points in the second half for Munford.

MUNFORD – Demetrius Norwood 6 0-0 12, Sylvester Smith 5 5-7 15, Alex Petty 1 1-2 3, Lathan Stephens 5 0-0 11, B.J. Anderson 3 2-2 8, Austin Wynn 0 0-0 0, Javion White 8 1-2 19. Totals 28 9-13 68.
PLEASANT VALLEY – Jaden Sparks 2 0-0 4, Jesse Gannaway 10 3-4 31, Hunter Sparks 6 1-2 13, Bryce Freeman 0 0-0 0, Kolby Battles 2 2-2 6, Kyle Smith 1 2-2 5. Totals 21 8-10 59.
Munford         10        15        20        23 –     68
Pleasant Valley          15        8          24        12 –     59
3-point goals: Munford 3 (Stephens, White 2); Pleasant Valley 9 (Gannaway 8, Smith). Technical fouls: S. Smith. Fouled out: K. Smith. Total fouls: Munford 14, Pleasant Valley 13. Officials: Pratt, Royster, Ratliff.

ALEXANDRIA 73, LINCOLN 48: T.K. Downie scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and the Valley Cubs erupted for 30 points in the second quarter to take control of the game.

The Cubs placed four scorers in double figures. In addition to Downie, Drake Davis and Evan Snow had 13 apiece and Q McDowell had 11. Downie and Davis were a combined 10-of-12 from the free throw line in the explosive second quarter. 

The Cubs clinched the area title and automatic bid to the subregional tournament last week, but completed a sweep of their area schedule in this one.

“That’s one of the main goals, to try to host that area tournament,” Alexandria coach Will Ginn said. “It’s not winning the area tournament, but it gives you a little advantage and takes a little pressure off you.”

Davis added six assists and five steals to his line.

ALEXANDRIA – Drake Davis 3 4-4 13, Evan Snow 6 1-1 13, Antonio Ross 1 0-0 2, T.K. Downie 4 6-8 14, Jaylen Henderson 3 0-0 6, Matthew McLeroy 0 2-2 2, Kory Cargal 4 0-0 8, Cleat Forrest 1 0-2 2, Caleb Folsom 1 0-0 2, Q. McDowell 5 1-2 11. Totals 27 14-19 73.
LINCOLN – Kadarrius Stockdale 1 0-0 2, Malachi McClellan 2 0-0 6, Camare Hampton 6 0-2 12, Khalil Smith 3 2-2 8, Brandon Estell 1 0-1 2, Caleb O’Neal 0 0-0 0, Qua Elston 0 0-0 0, Chad Long 2 0-0 6, Tripp Ward 0 2-2 2, Jamari Dye 2 1-2 5, Nicholas Hampton 1 0-2 2, Clenon Groce 1 0-1 3. Totals 20 5-12 48.
Alexandria    17        30        22        4 –       73
Lincoln           14        15        10        9 –       48
3-point goals: Alexandria 5 (Davis 3, Snow 2); Lincoln 6 (McClellan 2, Long 3, Groce). Total fouls: Alexandria 19, Lincoln 19. Officials: Askew, Baker, Wright.

OXFORD 66, FORT PAYNE 52: County tournament MVP Jayden Lewis and the Yellow Jackets showed no letdown from winning their fifth straight county title, winning on the road to move closer to clinching an area title.

Lewis, “The Manchild,” went for 28 points to lead four Oxford scorers in double figures. He started fast with eight points in the first quarter and closed strong with 10 in the fourth.

“He’s turning a corner,” Oxford coach Joel Van Meter said.

Jaylen Alexander had 16 for the Jackets, while T.J. Allen and Cristian Gibson had 10 apiece. 

The Jackets can clinch the top seed and automatic bid to the subregion tournament with a win over Gadsden City at home Friday.

OXFORD – Jaylen Alexander 5 6-7 16, Caleb Sanders 1 0-0 2, T.J. Allen 2 4-7 10, Jordan Kelley 0 0-0 0, Jayden Lewis 13 2-2 28, Marcus Perry 0 0-0 0, Cristian Gibson 3 4-6 10. Totals 24 16-22 66.
FORT PAYNE – Ethan Evett 0 0-0 0, Luke Stephens 7 3-4 19, Jake Barnes 0 0-0 0, Nolan Fowler 3 0-0 7, Kobe King 0 0-0 0, Carter Tinker 4 0-4 8, Jackson Banks 5 2-2 12, Connor Kinsley 0 0-0 0, Mason Chandler 1 0-0 2, Bennett Blanks 1 2-2 4. Totals 21 7-12 52.
Oxford           20        17        11        18 –     66
Fort Payne    10        12        18        12 –     52
3-point goals: Oxford 2 (Allen 2); Fort Payne 3 (Stephens 2, Fowler). Total fouls: Oxford 14, Fort Payne 21. Officials: Horn, Courtland, Putnam.

FAITH CHRISTIAN 67, ASD 55: Thomas Curlee had a most efficient night to lead the Lions, scoring 37 points in 19 minutes. He hit 16 of 25 shots, including 5-for-7 on 3-pointers. He also pulled down eight rebounds.

WEAVER 58, WELLBORN 26: The Bearcats have had a Big Three that made their offense go all season, but with recent changes to the roster now they have two sets of them.

Tristan Brown had 16 points, KeShawn Allen 18 and Dawson Brooks had nine to lead the offense. But coach Beau Winn made some B-team promotions to restock the roster and Allen, Harter and Kaden have made an impact.

“They love to compete,” Winn said. “They’re going to make a few mistakes, but they don’t slow down long enough to dwell on them. Harper, KeShawn and Kaden have been playing together since elementary school and they’re a tight group.”

Brown and Allen were top scorers and Brooks brought it all together.

“He did a great job tonight,” Winn said. “He works inside-out and vice versa. He also did a great job of running the floor and keeping the second chance points off the boards.”

WEAVER – Tristan Brown 6 1-1 16, Harper Williams 1 0-0 2, KeShawn Allen 8 2-3 18, Kaden Gooden 1 0-0 3, Dawson Brooks 4 0-2 9, Peyton Martin 1 0-0 2, Jackson Williams 0 0-2 0, Zach Garner 1 3-4 5, Gage Sexton 1 0-0 2, Austin Snider 0 1-2 1. Totals 23 7-14 58.
WELLBORN – Conner Woodard 0 0-0 0, Avery Odom 1 2-2 4, C.J. Hubbard 1 0-0 2, Ollie Boot 2 0-0 4, Jackson Long 3 1-4 8, Danford 1 0-0 2, Wilson 0 0-0 0, Avery 0 0-0 0, Trey Downs 3 0-0 6. Totals 11 3-6 26.
Weaver          15        15        14        14 –     58
Wellborn        11        4          7          4 –       26
3-point goals: Weaver 5 (Brown 3, Gooden, Brooks); Wellborn 1 (Long). Technical fouls: Brooks, Wilson. Total fouls: Weaver 6, Wellborn 9.

JACKSONVILLE 72, CLEBURNE COUNTY 28: Jacksonville cruised to victory to remain unbeaten in Class 4A, Area 10 play. John Broom had four rebounds and three assists to go with his 23 points, and Cam Johnson had eight rebounds and four steals to go with his 18 points.

JACKSONVILLE – John Broom 10-16 2-2 23, Cam Johnson 8-11, 2-2 18, Caden Johnson 3-4 4-5 10, Devin Barksdale 3-6 0-0 9, Jaquan Ervin 1-1 0-0 3, Kydric Fisher 1-5 0-0 3, Dee Prothro 1-1 0-0 2, DaMonte Sinclair 1-4 0-0 2, Imoree Young 1-1 0-0 2, Ethan Duke 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29 8-9 72.
CLEBURNE COUNTY – Hunter Gore 2-3 0-0 5, Jacob Cavender 2-7 0-0 5, Greyson Freeman 1-5 2-6 4, Dawson Hayes 1-3 1-2 4, Jackson Miller 1-2 0-0 3, James Cotton 0-1 2-2 2, Rico Huguley 1-4 0-0 2, Silas Altman 0-2 2-2 2, Nathan Adams 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 8 8-15 28.
Jacksonville           21          25          18        8 –     72
Cleburne County        14          8        1          5 –       28

3-point goals: Jacksonville 6 (Broom 1-5, Barksdale 3-5, Ervin 1-1, Fisher 1-5), Cleburne County 4 (Gore 1-2, Cavender 1-4, Hayes 1-3, Miller 1-2). Total fouls: Jacksonville 10, Cleburne County 9.

GLENCOE 61, OHATCHEE 40: Wade Segrest led Glencoe with 15 points, and Garrett Morgan added 14. Ohatchee’s Luke Vinson and Kelbe Crook scored 10 apiece in 3A, Area 12 action.

GLENCOE – Cooper Horton 2 2-2 7, Garrett Morgan 5 4-7 14, Aiden Cornutt  2-5 6, Wade Segrest 4 5-8 15, Brayden Smith 2 0-0 4, Jayden Patton 2 1-3 5, Nolan Fairley 0 2-2 2, Andrew Greene 4 0-0 8. Totals 17 16-27 61.
OHATCHEE – Eli Teem 2 0-0 6, Jesse Baswell 1 1-2 3, Colby Hester 0 2-5 2, Jake Roberson 3 2-4 8, Ethan Blackburn 0 0-2 0, Nathan Dover 0 1-2 1, Luke Vinson 5 0-2 10, Kelbe Crook 5 0-0 10. Totals 16 7-17 40.
Glencoe           12          15          22        11 –     61
Ohatchee        7          7       14          12 –       40

3-point goals: Glencoe 3 (Horton 1, Segrest 2), Ohatchee 2 (Teem 2). Total fouls: Glencoe, Ohatchee 25. Fouled out: Roberson. Technical fouls: Baswell, Greene.

Cover photo: White Plains coach Chris Randall talks to his team during a timeout in the Wildcats’ victory over Cherokee County on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

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