E.A. Sports Today

Taking charge

Hunt lines up former teammate for big foul in big moment, helps Alexandria take down Jacksonville to avenge recent loss at home; Ohatchee’s Crook goes for 61 against PV, and more

Alexandria 40, Jacksonville 38
Cedar Bluff at Ashville
Cherokee County 58, Piedmont 39
Clay Central at Saks
Jacksonville Christian 75, Gaston 45
Ohatchee 71, Pleasant Valley 50
Ranburne 48, Cleburne County 24
Sand Rock 71, Hokes Bluff 68
Spring Garden 57, Handley 34
Wellborn at Munford
Ragland 64, West End 22

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — It helps to know one’s opponent, and a little extra knowledge went a long way for Alexandria’s Allyssa Hunt on Thursday.

The former Cleburne County player drew a charging foul from her former Cleburne County teammate in a key moment, and Hunt scored her only bucket in clutch time to help Alexandria’s girls beat Jacksonville 40-38 in Van Deerman Gymnasium.

“I’m not used to it yet,” said Hunt, who moved to Alexandria last year. “This is always a big rival. We beat them at the beginning of the season, and they turned around and beat us at our place, so we just came out with the mindset that we had to beat them no matter what.”

Hunt’s former teammate, Alexis Phillips, led all scorers with 17 points. Hunt had two but made the biggest plays in the biggest moments.

With Alexandria clinging to a 36-35 lead, she broke open under the basket. Her jumping jacks caught the attention of Kailey Dickerson, who fired a pass to Hunt for the easy basket to make it 38-35.

“We were just holding the ball, just trying to run the clock out, really,” Alexandria coach Craig Kiker said. “When they started pressuring, that kind of stuff will start happening, if you take care of the ball.

“We did a real good job in that situation. After that, we did a real bad job.”

Phillips scored in transition to cut the lead to 39-37. After a turnover put her on the foul line, she hit one of two to make it 39-38.

Phillips had the ball in transition after another Alexandria turnover, driving down the middle of the court. Hunt set up at the foul line and held her ground as the two crashed to the floor.

“She’s a good athlete,” Hunt said. “I used to play with her back when I was at Heflin, but you have to get used to the way she plays. She’s real physical, so I knew I just had to do whatever I could to hold my ground.

“We needed it right there.”

After another exchange of possessions, Alexandria’s Charlee Parris provided the final margin, hitting one of two free throws with 3.3 seconds to play.

Alexandria prevailed in a game that saw both teams miss a starter.

Valley Cub Jill Cockrell has been out with COVID-19 and missed Thursday’s game, though she did attempt to attend school Thursday.

“She looked terrible, and I told her to go back home,” Kiker said. “There would’ve been no chance of her playing.”

Jacksonville went its second game in a row without point guard Ashley Grant, who has what Jacksonville coach Corey Mize described as discomfort in one knee.

“I know that, right now, her knee is bothering her,” Mize said. “She has to go to the doctor and see what they say about it.”

Jacksonville led by as much as 33-26 at 1:42 in the third quarter. After an Alexandria timeout, the Valley Cubs outscored the Golden Eagles 13-2 over a stretch that ended with Jordyn Walker hitting one of two free throws to give Alexandria a 39-35 lead.

Jacksonville had two one-and-one chances in the final 19.1 seconds, but Neveah Nicholson missed the front end both times.

Another key moment saw Phillips draw a technical foul at 2:30 of the fourth quarter, with Jacksonville up 35-34. The technical came after Dickerson fouled her on Jacksonville’s end, near midcourt.

Walker hit one of two foul shots on the technical, and Sumira Duncan hit one of two in the resulting possession.

“She just got a little animated,” Mize said. “She thought she was getting fouled a little longer than she did, so I think she just said, ‘She’s fouling me,’ and the referee teed her up.

“I talked to her after she got it. In a big game, up by one point, that’s such a momentum shift.”

The overall lesson, Mize said, is finishing.

“We needed a mental challenge to see where we’re at, going forward,” Mize said. “That was a good challenge for us.

“I think we’ve got to get better at finishing the game and understanding that we’ve got to keep playing through.”

ALEXANDRIA – Jordyn Walker 4-15 4-7 14, Kirsten Heathcock 2-6 2-2 6, Cassidy Hartsfield 3-4 0-0 6, Kailey Dickerson 2-6 0-2 4, Charlee Parris 1-3 2-4 4, Sumira Duncan 1-3 1-2 3, Allyssa Hunt 1-2 0-0 2, Makayla Brewster 0-1 1-2 1. Total 14-40 10-19 40.
JACKSONVILLE – Alexis Phillips 8-15, 1-3 17, Ontarriah Braxton 4-8 1-2 9, DeAsia Prothro 2-16 3-4 7, Halaina Lozano 2-4 0-0 5, Neveah Nicholson 0-3 0-3 0, Mya Swain 0-1 0-0 0. Total 16-47 5-12 38.

Alexandria812812 –40
Jacksonville111575 –38

3-point goals: Alexandria 2-14 (Walker 2-8, Dickerson 0-4, Parris 0-1, Duncan 0-1); Jacksonville 1-5 (Phillips 0-1, Lozano 1-2, Nicholson 0-2). Rebounds: Alexandria 36 (Walker 5, Heathcock 4, Hartsfield 2, Dickerson 8, Parris 4, Duncan 4, Hunt 1, Brewster 2, team 6); Jacksonville 27 (Phillips 1, Braxton 6, Prothro 9, Lozano 2, Nicholson 3, Swain 2, Rowan 1, team 3). Total fouls: Alexandria 16, Jacksonville 20. Technical foul: Phillips. Fouled out: Prothro.

OHATCHEE 71, PLEASANT VALLEY 50: Jorda Crook put a big dent in her bid to reach 3,000 career points before wrapping up her career when she went for a county record 61 points in the Lady Indians’ victory.

She tied two others for the second-highest single-game effort in state girls history and missed by two tying the state mark, set by Houston Academy’s Carlee Bevis in the 1990-91 season. Raven Mitchell of Sunshine and Taurus Pyles of Phillips (both in the 1996-97 season) also scored 61 in a game, according to AHSAA records.

It was the fourth time this season Crook had gone for at least 50 in a game.

“It’s definitely, when you sit back and think about it, amazing,” Ohatchee coach Bryant Ginn said. “I guess in the moment it’s not because I’m so focused on all the other stuff going on, but when you sit back and think, she’s almost had 1,000 points in a season. She doesn’t ever fail to amaze us.”

The UAB volleyball signee went 27-of-35 from the field and 7-of-11 from the free throw line. She had 19 of the Lady Indians’ 21 points in the first quarter, all eight of their points in the second when PV got back into the game and all 18 in the third. She retired for the night with 1:30 left in the game.

“If I’d have known (she was that close to the record), I might have left her in one more time,” Ginn said.

Crook now has 2,900 points for her career and stands 18th on the state’s all-time girls scoring list. Only 3,000-point scorers stand in front of her. Next on the list: Sand Rock coach Lisa Baswell Bates (Locust Fork) at 3,050.

Macey Roper led PV with 24 points. Laney Robinson hit three 3s in the second quarter to help the Lady Raiders get back in the half and finished with nine.

PLEASANT VALLEY – Ella Kate Parris 1 0-0 3, Laney Robinson 3 0-0 9, Alexa Cranmer 0 0-1 0, Bailey Brown 0 0-1 0, Kianna Hester 1 2-2 5, Rebekah Gannaway 4 0-4 9, Haylie Lee 0 0-0 0, Macey Roper 10 4-8 24. Totals 19 6-16 50.
OHATCHEE – Tabi Davidson 0 0-0 0, Whitney McFry 1 0-0 3, Mia Waters 0 0-0 0, Carly Hall 0 0-0 0, Kiana Garber 0 0-0 0, Priesly Davis 1 0-0 2, Jorda Crook 27 7-11 61, Lindsey Zurchin 0 2-2 2, Alyssa Davis 1 1-2 3. Totals 30 10-15 71.

Pleasant Valley 201114 – 50
Ohatchee2181824 – 71

3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 6 (Parris, La. Robinson 3, Hester, Gannaway); Ohatchee 1 (McFry). Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 16, Ohatchee 16. Officials: Gilbert, Mallicoat, Hanson.

JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN 75, GASTON 45: JCA forced 25 turnovers and hit a combined 12 3-pointers while improving to 16-7 headed into Friday’s regular-season finale against Valley Head.

On senior night, senior Erin Prater hit six threes en route to 22 points, and she pulled down six rebounds. Classmates Kara Grace and Kirsten Walker added 14 points apiece, and Grace had 10 rebounds. Senior Rebekah Carter dished out 11 assists to go with her four points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Prater, Grace and Walker each had four steals.

GASTON – Brooklyn Merriman 5 0-0 13, Charlee Skaggs 1 3-5 5, Mylie Harper 0 2-2 2, Tracionna Jones 5 0-0 10, Randi Morgan 2 0-0 6, Miley Beaird 0 2-2 2, Avril McKiven 1 0-0 2, Avah Horne 0 1-2 1, Shelby Waters 1 0-0 2. Total 15 8-11 45.
JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN – Rebekah Carter 1 1-2 4, Erin Prater 8 0-0 22, Kara Grace 6 2-4 14, Kirsten Walker 5 0-0 14, Payten Walker 7 2-2 16, Carlie Chesson 1 0-0 3, Riley Sanders 1 0-0 2. Total 29 5-8 75.

Gaston13101012 –45
Jacksonville Christian25151718 –75

3-point goals: Gaston 5 (Merriman 3, Morgan 2), Jacksonville Christian 12 (Prater 6, K.Walker 4, Carter, Chesson) Total fouls: Gaston 11, Jacksonville 12.

CHEROKEE COUNTY 58, PIEDMONT 39: Audrey Haygood hit four of Cherokee County’s nine 3-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. Ellison Givens hit two and scored 10 points.

Lele Ridley paced Piedmont (13-13) with 18 points. She had nine in the first quarter.

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Mary Johnson 5 0-0 11, Audrey Haygood 8 1-2 21, Macy Lea 1 0-0 2, Ella Garmany 2 0-0 5, Ava Haygood 0 2-2 2, Deannia Starr 1 1-2 3, Ellison Givens 4 0-0 10, Neveah Gaidurgis 0 1-2 1, Lynne Marie Crane 1 0-0 3. Total 22 5-8 58.
PIEDMONT – Ava Pope 2 0-1 6, Josie Young 1 0-0 3, Jayce Glover 1 1-2 3, Lele Ridley 5 7-10 18, Cayla Brothers 1 0-2 2, Melanie Strickland 2 1-2 5, Gracie Naugher 1 0-0 2. Total 13 9-18 39.

Cherokee County15101617 –58
Piedmont185412 –39

3-point goals: Cherokee County 9 (Haygood 4, Givens 2, Johnson, Garmany, Crane), Piedmont 4 (Pope 2, Young, Ridley) Total fouls: Cherokee County 15, Piedmont 6. Fouled out: Haygood.

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