E.A. Sports Today

Heflin Hoops Classic

Cleburne County’s Faith Brown surpasses career milestone, but Randolph County girls advance to face Central-Clay in final. Central-Clay boys survive overtime thriller with Faith Christian to face Weaver in boys’ final.

Cover photo: Cleburne County’s Faith Brown surpasses 2,000 career points during Thursday’s action in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic, but Randolph County won in double overtime to reach the girls’ final. (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


Ranburne 45, Wadley 37
Ohatchee 34, Weaver 26
Central-Clay 45, Vincent 16
Randolph County 39, Cleburne County 34, 2OT
Vincent 58, Ranburne 30
Cleburne County 59, Ohatchee 40
Central-Clay 67, Faith Christian 65, OT
Weaver 61, Randolph County 34

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

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — Cleburne County’s Faith Brown faced box-and-one and double-down defense from Randolph County during their girls’ Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic.

She beat it to surpass a career milestone, but Randolph County advanced to the final.

Brown surpassed 2,000 career points en route to a 19-point performance before fouling out in the second overtime, but Brantley Wortham scored all five of her points at the foul line in the second overtime as Randolph County overcame Anna Grace Henderson’s fouling out in the first overtime to win 39-34.

Randolph County (7-7) advanced to Friday’s final against Central-Clay.

“It’s like I said yesterday, the girls find a way,” Randolph County coach Brady Phillips said. “They keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting.

“At halftime, it was a real slow game, and I think we missed a lot of points we could’ve put on the board in the first half. Our halftime speech was keep working, keep working.”

Brown’s two coast-to-coast, driving buckets in the final minute of regulation helped Cleburne County force overtime, and Hannah Turley hit the last two of three free throws with 3.2 seconds left in the first overtime to force the second.

Wortham scored all but two of Randolph County’s seven points in the second overtime to help the Tigers overcome Henderson’s fouling out. Wortham also used her dribble to force Brown’s fifth foul in the second overtime and drew a charge on her earlier in the game.

As for Brown, she entered the night needing seven points to reach 2,000. She had six at halftime and went scoreless in the third quarter, but her baseline drive early in the fourth got her over the mark.

Officials stopped the game for a brief recognition.

“I’m really excited,” Brown said. “A lot of this, you’ve just got to say it’s God. That’s what it really is. It’s Him.”

Randolph County’s top performers:

Anna Grace Henderson: nine points (one 3-pointer).
Lakaiyah Baker: 13 points.

Cleburne County’s top performers:

Faith Brown: 19 points (two 3-pointers).

OHATCHEE 34, WEAVER 26: Ohatchee went with a box-and-one defense on high-scoring Weaver guard Aaliyah Marks and held her to two points. Tabi Davidson guarded Marks, and Mollee Barnes took over when Davidson rested.

“That was the plan, to try to limit her touches,” Ohatchee coach Aaron Jackson said. “I’ve seen what she’s been capable of this year, so we tried to limit her touches.

“We did a good job executing that.”

Ohatchee’s top performers:

Kiana Garber: nine points.
Lindsey Zurchin: eight points (one 3-pointer).

Weaver’s top performers:

D.J. Gibbs: 16 points (one 3-pointer).
McKenley Davis: eight points (two 3-pointers)

CENTRAL-CLAY 45, VINCENT 16: The Vols held Vincent to three points in each of the final three quarters and advanced to Friday’s championship game against the Cleburne County-Randolph County winner.

Central-Clay will make its first appearance in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic final.

“It’s exciting,” Central-Clay coach Tyrell Bishop said. “I think it’s our third year here, and we usually get beat that first game, the first day, so it’s exciting to be able to play in the championship.”

Central-Clay’s top performers:

Nariah Brock: 12 points.
Ramyah Billinsley: 14 points (two 3-pointers).

Vincent’s top performers:

Jakaylin McGinnis: 12 points.


Weaver’s D.J. Marbury shoots against Randolph County during Thursday’s Heflin Holiday Classic boys’ semifinals. The Bearcats advanced to the final. (Photo by Joe Medley)

WEAVER 61, RANDOLPH COUNTY 34: D.J. Marbury hit two 3-pointers en route to 15 points, and Weaver advanced to face Central-Clay in Friday’s Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic.

“If we have (made the final), it’s been a long time,” Weaver coach Beau Winn said. “I don’t know if we have.

“We’ve worked hard for this. The boys have really done a good job. We kind of marked this on our calendar.”

Weaver went 2-1 in this 2022 Heflin tourney but fell into the elimination bracket on the first day, after a close loss to host Cleburne County.

Weaver’s top performers Thursday.

D.J, Marbury: 15 points (two 3-pointers).
Kaden Gooden: 14 points (two 3-pointers).
KeShawn Allen: 11 points.

Randolph County’s top performers:

Avion Willis: 17 points (two 3-pointers).

Faith Christian’s Conner Richerzhagen shoots against Central-Clay during their Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic semifinal Thursday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

CENTRAL-CLAY 67, FAITH CHRISTIAN 65, OT: Central-Clay’s 67-65, overtime victory over Faith Christian in Thursday’s Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic was so good, each coach sought out a player from the other team to praise after the game.

Cental-Clay’s Josh Giddens came looking for Faith’s Conner Richerzhagen, who had just missed at the buzzer. Giddens found Richerzhagen, who had just led Faith with 22 points, hugged him.

“He’s a really good player,” Giddens said. “What I like about him, some players, when things get tough, and the game gets close, they shy away and don’t want the ball. He wanted the ball every time.

“He made a lot of big shots and made some free throws, and he’s a really good player.”

Faith coach Cory Hughes sought out Central-Clay’s Deshaun Gibbons, the player who guarded Richerzhagen down the stretch in an intense, talkative matchup.

“I told 15 after the game, ‘We wouldn’t be coming at you if we weren’t worried about you,'” Hughes said. “That’s what you want to see. That’s good basketball.”

Central-Clay’s top performers:

Kevin Cherry: 12 points.
DeMauri Whetstone: 11 points.

Faith Christian’s top performers:

Richerzhagen: 22 points (three 3-pointers).
Carson Harris: 18 points (two 3-pointers).

Ohatchee’s Colby Hester drives against Cleburne County during Thursday’s action in the Heflin Holiday Hoops Classic. (Photo by Joe Medley)

CLEBURNE COUNTY 59, OHATCHEE 40: Up 33-29 in the third quarter, Cleburne County surged to an insurmountable lead with a 21-5 run.

“We played better down the stretch,” Cleburne County coach Josh Perry said. “We’ve been up and down. We’ve got sickness like everybody else right now, so I hope we’re on the back end of it, and we’re trying to finish the second half as good as we did the first half.”

Cleburne County’s top performers:

Jacob Cavender: 15 points (five 3-pointers).
Grey Freeman: 11 points.
Cavin Bates: nine points.
James Cotton: nine points.

Ohatchee’s top performers:

Colby Hester: 10 points.
Alston Carroll: 10 points.
Hunter Brown: seven points (one 3-pointers).

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