E.A. Sports Today

Heflin Hoops Classic

Faith Christian boys show signs of rugged early schedule paying off with victory over Vincent to earn shot at Central-Clay

Cover photo: Faith Christian’s Conner Richerzhagen goes up for two against Vincent during Wednesday’s action in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic


Central-Clay 41, Wadley 37
Vincent 40, Ranburne 39
Randolph County 43, Ohatchee 41
Cleburne County 65, Weaver 46
Central-Clay 71, Ranburne 38
Faith Christian 69, Vincent 60
Randolph County 59, Ohatchee 46
Weaver 63, Cleburne County 51

Wadley vs. Ranburne, 9 a.m.
Ohatchee vs. Weaver, noon
Central-Clay vs. Vincent, 3 p.m.
Randolph County vs. Cleburne County, 6 p.m.
Ranburne vs. Vincent, 10:30 a.m.
Ohatchee vs. Cleburne County, 1:30 p.m.
Central-Clay vs. Faith Christian, 4:30 p.m.
Randolph County vs. Weaver, 7:30 p.m.
TBD, 9 a.m.
TBD, noon
TBD, 3 p.m.
TBD, 6 p.m.
TBD, 10:30 a.m.
TBD, 1:30 p.m.
TBD, 4:30 p.m.
TBD, 7:30 p.m.

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — Cory Hughes still has much to figure about his third Faith Christian boys’ team.

Like, how could the Lions commit 24 turnovers yet put up 69 points in a 69-60 victory over Vincent in Wednesday’s Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic action.

One thing Hughes knows, however. A 4-10 record against an early schedule loaded with higher-classified teams belies his team’s potential.

Faith’s Carson Harris shoots during Wednesday’s action in Helflin. (Photo by Joe Medley)

He sees a team that has things his two Northeast Regional teams didn’t.

“I’ve said about this team from the beginning, I think this team has the most upside of any team that I’ve had,” Hughes said. “The problem is, unlike previous teams, we’ve got a few more components than previous teams, and that means more chemistry has to happen.

“So far, I feel like that’s where we’re falling, is not figuring out the right combination of the chemistry.”

It worked well enough for the Class 1A Lions to beat 2A Vincent, a team that’s reached the finals and won the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic.

Faith earned a winners’ bracket game against Class 5A Central-Clay on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Carson Harris led the way Tuesday with 21 points. Conner Richerzhagen, with older brother and former Lions standout Ethan watching from the bench, added 19.

Fatih never trailed against an athletic foe.

“They made some runs, and we showed that we can right and stop those runs and change the momentum, and that we can play as a team,” Harris said. “We struggled with that early in the season, not playing as a team, as a unit, and I think we played as a team today.”

Harris, a senior, wears his role as one of the team’s scorers comfortably, Hughes said. 

Richerzhagen, a freshman, is learning how much big brother he has in him.

“Conner has struggled to find his feet as a 19-point guy,” Hughes said. “If he settles into it, then we’ll be just fine.”

Faith gets another higher classified test Thursday with a chance to make the Heflin Hoops Holiday Classic final.

“This team has a greater upside, more upside, than, possibly, the past two teams,” Hughes said. “We’ve just got to figure it out.

“We showed hints of that today. There were stints where we looked great, but then there we go, being dumb. I don’t know how we have 24 turnovers and score 69 points.” 

Weaver’s KeShawn Allen gets a fast break layup against Cleburne County during Wednesday’s action in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic. (Photo by Joe Medley)

WEAVER 63, CLEBURNE COUNTY 51: Kaden Gooden and KeShawn Allen scored 23 points apiece, and Weaver used a 28-point fourth quarter to take control against tournament host Cleburne County.

The Bearcats’ big finish came after a slow start to their first game back from break.

“We tried something different this year,” Weaver coach Beau Winn said. “We played those 12 games in two weeks, and then we took Christmas time and didn’t play any. We just practiced the whole time.

“I was a little nervous about how we’d do, coming off of that lull, but I thought we did well.”

Gooden hit four 3-pointers, and Allen hit one. Weaver’s other top performers:

Gabe King: seven points (one 3-pointer).
D.J. Marbury: six points.

Cleburne County’s top performers:

Cade Shubert: 22 points (one 3-pointer).
Nathan Adams: 11 points (one 3-pointer).

Randolph County’s Gavin Wortham pulls down a rebound against Ohatchee during the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

RANDOLPH COUNTY 59, OHATCHEE 46: Randolph County took control in the fourth quarter, separating from a 40-40 tie.

Winston scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.

“We finally bought into playing a little defense,” Randolph County coach Rico Sims said. “They created a few turnovers, and we gave up quite a few offensive rebounds early, and we started boxing out and eliminated some of those extra shots they were getting.”

Colby Hester and Alston Carroll led Ohatchee with 11 points apiece.

Randolph County’s other top performers:

“We played hard for about three and a half quarters,” Ohatchee coach Kyle Wilson said. “They went on a run there in the fourth. They got stops, and they were able to push it in transition.”

Huddleston: 12 points.
Avion Willis: 17 points

Ohatchee’s other top performers:

Luke Vinson: nine points.
Hunter Brown: six points (two 3-pointers)

Cleburne County’s Faith Brown goes up for two of her 33 points against Weaver during Wednesday’s action in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic. (Photo by Joe Medley)


CLEBURNE COUNTY 65, WEAVER 46: Faith Brown scored a game-high 33 points, leaving her seven points shy of becoming the first Cleburne County basketball player in recorded school history to reach 2,000.

She’s likely to reach the mark Thursday, in the Tigers’ 6 p.m. clash Randolph County.

“I’m very excited,” the senior forward said. “It took a lot to get here, a lot of practice. I’m really excited.”

Brown’s performance Wednesday included a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. She was 4-for-6 on free throws.

“I wish she would’ve hit her free throw tonight,” Cleburne County coach Todd Gable said. “She’d be a little bit closer.

“She started off a little slow tonight, and then she got going. Hopefully, she’ll get it tomorrow. If she plays like she should, she might get it.”

Gable said he plans to stop the game and recognize Brown when she hits the 2,000-point mark.

Cleburne County’s other top performers:

Hannah Turley: 24 points .
Macey East: six points (two 3-pointers).

Weaver’s top performers:

Aaliyah Marks: 26 points (five 3-pointers).
Erionna Richmond: 13 points (two 3-pointers).

Ohatchee’s Mollee Barnes shoots a 3-pointer as Randolph County’s Lizzie Milam gives chase during their game Wednesday in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic. (Photo by Joe Medley)

RANDOLPH COUNTY 43, OHATCHEE 41: Anna Grace Henderson’s driving bucket put Randolph County up ahead of an Ohatchee timeout with 7.9 seconds left.

Ohatchee wound up with an in-bounds play with one second left but turned it over on a five-second call.

“The biggest thing was, we just stuck together, doing what we do,” Randolph County coach Brady Phillips said. “We kind of got sloppy there at the end of the third quarter, but they found a way to win.

“That’s what this team is about. It’s a good group of girls, and they just know how to win.”

The Indians went scoreless in the first quarter and trailed 30-20 going into the fourth. The found the mark, with Lindsey Zurchin hitting three 3-pointers and Mollee Barnes hitting two, and rallied, taking the lead when Tabi Davidson found Emily Riddle under the basket for the go-ahead score to make it 41-39.

“We had some young players step up when they had to,” first-year Ohatchee coach Aaron Jackson said. “We were in foul trouble early, but I would’ve liked to have not had to make that run. We came out flat, and that’s on me.

“If we don’t dig that hole, we’re probably in a better situation at the end of the game”

Randolph County’s top performers:

Henderson: 14 points.
Lizzie Milam: nine points (one 3-pointer).

Ohatchee’s top performers:

Zurchin: 11 points (three 3-pointers).
Barnes: eight points (two 3-pointers).

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