E.A. Sports Today

Breaking the mold

Thursday boys roundup: Pleasant Valley starts fast against Ranburne, wins first area tournament title in 23 years; Piedmont, Faith Christian to play host to subregional games

Championship game: Faith Christian 56, Winterboro 50
Cross: Faith Christian hosts Ragland, Winterboro travels to Appalachian

Championship game: Spring Garden 47, Cedar Bluff 31
Cross: Area 15 (Oakwood vs. Skyline)

Championship: Pleasant Valley 58, Ranburne 42
Cross: Pleasant Valley hosts LaFayette, Ranburne travels to Lanett

Championship game: Piedmont 65, Saks 49
Cross: Piedmont hosts Hokes Bluff, Saks travels to Glencoe

Championship game: Glencoe 74, Hokes Bluff 73
Cross: Glencoe hosts Saks, Hokes Bluff travels to Piedmont

Feb. 10
Championship game: Talladega vs. Anniston, 7 p.m.
Cross: Area 10 (Jacksonville vs. White Plains)

Jacksonville 98, Cleburne County 32
White Plains 49, Cherokee County 46
Feb. 11
Championship game: Jacksonville vs. White Plains
Cross: Area 8 (Talladega vs. Anniston)

Championship: Southside 50, Alexandria 49
Cross: Area 11 (Springville vs. Moody)

Feb. 10
Championship: Gadsden City vs Oxford, 6 p.m.
Cross: Area 10 (Mountain Brook vs. Shades Valley)

By East Alabama Sports Today

RANBURNE – Brad Hood said he was going to do it. Whenever his Pleasant Valley basketball team ended its drought to play in the subregion round of the state tournament he was going to write the year on his clipboard and break it over his knee.

He followed through on that promise Thursday night, but he handed off the honor of breaking the mold to one of his assistants.

The Raiders won their first area tournament championship in 23 years with a 58-42 takedown of host Ranburne for the Class 2A Area 9 title.

Just as he promised, once the team got in the dressing room, Hood wrote “23 years” in big letters on the clipboard, handed it to assistant coach Nathan Gilbert, who proceeded with one mighty swipe to snap it over his right knee, much to the delight of the players gathered around.

“The kids were ready, everybody was ready,” Hood said. “I was going to write it on there and let Gilbert smash it. He was going to do it a little more emphatically than the old bald guy.

“The kids really think the world of him. He’s a Coach (Chris) Randall product. He’s got that mindset and the kids buy into it. He’s a huge reason why we are where we are.”

The moment wasn’t too big for the Raiders. They jumped out with the first 22 points of the game and led 25-5 after the first quarter. Kyle Smith had nine of his game-high 17 points in the quarter. Jesse Gannaway (13) and Kolby Battles, the team’s only senior, each had five. Hunter Sparks (12) came within a missed free throw of joining them.

“We started so intense,” Hood said. “The kids were so jacked up we literally were having to be on cruise control of the next three quarters they were so gassed. It took so much out of them to get that lead, but I’m glad we got it because they played us even after that.

“I think the kids just understood the magnitude of the game. They realized the pressure was off by winning that first game and getting to the area championship. We actually felt better against the Ranburne team than we did Woodland.”

After the game the Raiders returned to their gym where they stayed nearly an hour and cut down the nets in triumph. They will now host LaFayette 6 p.m. Tuesday in the subregion round. Ranburne will travel to Lanett.

“When you host, the percentages are just your way, even if it’s a good area having to travel to your place,” Hood said. “We’ve already been researching them some. They run a zone mainly and, my goodness, with two shooters if we get hot who knows what could happen. We could be one of those 10-win teams at Jax State just because we got hot at the right time and had the right matchups.”

PLEASANT VALLEY – Jaden Sparks 1 1-2 3, Jesse Gannaway 6 0-0 13, Hunter Sparks 5 2-5 12, Bryce Freeman 1 0-0 2, Kolby Battles 3 3-4 9, Braxton Williams 1 0-0 2, Kyle Smith 8 1-1 17. Totals 25 7-12 58.
RANBURNE – Bryce Cash 3 0-0 7, Isaac Walker 3 1-2 8, Tate Bailey 0 0-0 0, Seth McAdams 1 1-2 3, Will Skinner 1 0-0 2, Trey Ertzberger 3 0-2 6, Jax Stewart 4 5-6 13, Cody Jackson 1 0-0 3. Totals 16 7-12 42.

Pleasant Valley25169 8 –58
Ranburne510918 –42

3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 1 (Gannaway); Ranburne 3 (Cash, Walker, Jackson). Fouled out: Jackson. Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 14, Ranburne 15.

Class 3A, Area 11

PIEDMONT 65, SAKS 49: Most valuable player Rollie Pinto hit seven 3-pointers en route to tying a career-high 30 points, and Piedmont held serve at home to win the area title.

The Bulldogs (23-5) will play host to Hokes Bluff in Tuesday’s 6 p.m. subregional. Saks will go on the road to play Glencoe.

Alex Odam (14 points), Ishmael Bethel (four) and Cole Wilson 13) made the all-tournament team, as did Saks’ Dee Elston (two), Anthony Bothwell (18) and Christian Smith nine).

Weaver’s Tristan Brown and Wellborn’s Ethan Tidwell also made the all-tourney team.

SAKS – Jakari Streeter 2 0-0 5, Dee Elston 1 0-1 2, Christian Smith 4 0-0 9, Anthony Bothwell 7 1-2 18, Keondre Johnson 5 0-0 10, Christian Hall .2 0-0 5 Totals 21 1-3 49.

PIEDMONT – Alex Odam 7 0-1 14, Rollie Pinto 11 1-1 30, Ishmael Bethel 2 0-0 4, Chance Murphy 1 0-0 2, Rhett Alford 1 0-0 2, Cole Wilson 5 0-0 13, . Totals 25 6-8 63.

Saks 10 161211 – 49
Piedmont18151715 – 65

3-point goals: Saks 6 (Bothwell 3, Streeter, Smith, Hall), Piedmont 10 (Pinto 7, Wilson 3). Total fouls: Saks 11, Piedmont 4. Fouled out: none. Officials: Graves, Simpson, Miller.

Class 1A, Area 8

FAITH CHRISTIAN 56, WINTERBORO 50: After a dreadful start, the Lions came to life in the second half and rallied to take the area title on the road.

Thomas Curlee was under the weather but still led the way with 20 points. He had 12 in a 24-point fourth quarter that capped the comeback. Faith outscored Winterboro 24-15 in the quarter and 38-19 in the second half.

“There were two moments in the game,” Lions coach Cory Hughes said. “The first was at the beginning of the third quarter. Conner (Richerzhagen) came out and had the green light and fired two (3s) in a row, then Yoshi (Arevalo) hits one and – boom – we go on a 13-0 run.

“We played the worst first half I’ve ever seen in my life; it was 32-19. I was in shock. We couldn’t hit anything; nothing was going in. If Carson Harris wouldn’t have been hitting shots, we wouldn’t have had 19.

“In the fourth quarter, Thomas took off. It went to be ‘feed Thomas’ and I think he scored 10 in a row that pushed us up eight and we kept that buffer the rest of the game.”

Harris finished with 11 points and Richerzhagen had 10.

The Lions will play their subregional game at home Tuesday 6 p.m. against Area 10 runner-up Ragland. Winterboro will play Appalachian on the road.

FAITH CHRISTIAN – Conner Richerzhagen 3 2-2 10, Tyler Bell 2 0-0 4, Eli Robinson 2 0-0 4, Yashua Arevalo 2 2-2 7, Thomas Curlee 8 4-5 20, Carson Harris 3 4-6 11. Totals 20 12-19 56.
WINTERBORO – Monterious Williams 4 1-1 9, Brandon Hunter 3 4-8 13, Jemareo Clegg 6 0-0 13, K. Jones 3 1-2 7, Jemarion Clegg 1 0-0 2, Kylen Campbell 3 1-4 7. Totals 20 7-15 50.

Faith Christian 101424 – 56
Winterboro1516415 – 50

3-point goals: Faith Christian 4 (Richerzhagen 2, Harris, Arevalo), Winterboro 5 (Hunter 3, Jo. Clegg, Jones). Total fouls: Faith Chrisitan 15, Winterboro 16. Fouled out: Campbell. Officials: Teel, Gamble, Kirkland.

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