E.A. Sports Today

Fighting through it

After ‘a really long week’ of battling seasonal illness, Jacksonville rides 3-point touch of Nixon, Barksdale to victory over Piedmont. Golden Eagles’ girls roll, as well. 

Cover photo: Jacksonville’s Ky’dric Fisher drives as Piedmont’s Luke Rhinehart defends during their game Friday at Jacksonville. (Photo by Necorra Harris/Golden Eagle Media)

Friday scoreboard

Jacksonville 63, Piedmont 38
Ashville 76, Weaver 46
Pleasant Valley 50, Ohatchee 48
Alexandria 70, Saks 39
Cleburne County 58, Wellborn 24
Mattie T. Blount 84, White Plains 46
Central-Phenix City 67, Oxford 48
Cedar Bluff 71, Jax Christian 45
Trion (Ga.) 51, Spring Garden 45
Handley 59, Winterboro 41
Hokes Bluff 55, Gaston 48
Glencoe 74, Westbrook Christian 57
Jacksonville 41, Piedmont 21
Alexandria 49, Saks 39
Handley 58, Winterboro 40
Glencoe 46, Westbrook Christian 29

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Area high school basketball teams remain in the starting stages of their seasons, but seasonal illness is off to the best start of all.

Jacksonville’s ride with the crud continued Friday as two starters missed the Golden Eagles’ 63-38 victory over visiting Piedmont.

The bug is “going around” Piedmont, too, first-year coach Matt Glover said. Dylan Oliver missed action last week.

Nearby, Pleasant Valley’s boys had five healthy varsity players for their 50-48 victory over Ohatchee on Friday, and Raiders coach Brad Hood has had to promote junior-varsity players. Flu has limited Pleasant Valley’s girls to two games.

White Plains’ boys had seven varsity players out for their Tuesday victory over Saks and five for their loss to Alexandria on Thursday.

Jacksonville (6-2) missed 6-foot-6 starting center Sean Herbert on Friday, and I’King Elder was out. Point guard Devin Barksdale “was a little sick this week,” Jacksonville coach Tres Buzan said. Jaquan Ervin and Aaron Nixon have been “super sick.” 

“I started the whole thing last Friday, when we played Faith,” Buzan said. “I was sick as a dog. Low and behold this week, the team, we’ve been going through a sickness spell, and it’s been a really long week.

“Guys that have been half healthy have been playing, and the guys that just come from football and should not have to play that many minutes are having to play a ton of minutes.”

Jacksonville went 2-1 this week, the lone loss coming at undefeated Fort Payne, on Tuesday.

“At Fort Payne, third quarter, it really showed,” Buzan said. “We ran out of gas, and that was the big difference there, but they’re a good team, and that’s a tough place to play. …

“We’re just band-aided. I walked into PE the other day, and it looked more like a hospital wing than what fifth-period athletics should look like, but I’m just really proud of them. Took a lot of guts to play.”

Nixon didn’t look sick Friday, but his shooting was sick in the best of ways. He hit six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points.

Barksdale added 10 points with two threes.

Ishmael Bethel paced Piedmont with 12 points.

The Bulldogs (4-2), who began the season without top returning scorer Rollie Pinto because of a football-related knee injury, trailed 16-5 after the first quarter but had their best stretch in the second, closing to within 21-13 on a Cole Wilson 3-pointer.

Jacksonville pushed back out to a 29-15 lead by halftime.

“I thought we played pretty good first half,” Glover said. “Defensively, I thought we were a lot better. We played the slow pace, and we got rebounds, but offensively, we couldn’t make a shot in the first half.

“We scored 15 points, and we have to score more points than that in the first half to win ballgames, and that’s on me. We’re still learning.”

Jacksonville’s Halaina Lozano dribbles as Piedmont’s Amiyah Thomas defends on Friday at Jacksonville. (Photo by Necorra Harris/Golden Eagle Media)


JACKSONVILLE 41, PIEDMONT 21: Alexis Phillips led Jacksonville (2-6) with 13 points, and four other Golden Eagles scored six apiece.

Jacksonville shot 37 percent from the field and held Piedmont to 0-for-12 shooting from the 3-point line.

“We played hard,” second-year Jacksonville coach Corey Mize said. “We’ve had a tough start to the schedule, and we’ve competed in all of the games, and it was good to see our competition finally show out. …

“It definitely gives us some confidence. Piedmont is not a bad team.””

Carson Young, Jenna Duke and Morgan Studdard led Piedmont (4-4) with four points apiece.

“We’re hot and cold right now,” first-year Piedmont coach Shane Morrow said. “We’re getting better, but we’re not there yet. We turn people over, but then we turn it right back over.

“We’ve just got to clean up our silly mistakes. When we clean up our silly mistakes, we’ll be fine.”

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