E.A. Sports Today

Looks like Daniel

Williams erupts for 25 points, and White Plains’ boys down Calhoun County champions Jacksonville to keep hopes of playing host to area alive. Jacksonville girls dominate.

White Plains’ Daniel Williams goes up for two of his 25 points as Jacksonville’s Ky’dric Fisher defends Monday at White Plains. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Monday’s scoreboard

White Plains 66, Jacksonville 65
Weaver 56, Munford 50
Ohatchee 70, Wellborn 42
Spring Garden 50, Faith Christian 39
Cedar Bluff 72, Pleasant Valley 64, OT
Beulah 53, Wadley 51
Jacksonville 59, White Plains 29
Weaver 40, Munford 29
Ohatchee 45, Wellborn 32
Cleburne County 42, Woodland 31Cedar Bluff 53, Pleasant Valley 29
Talladega 64, Handley 54

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

WHITE PLAINS — Calhoun County tournament? What Calhoun County tournament?

Daniel Williams poured in 25 points Monday, and White Plains’ boys staved off freshly minted Calhoun County champion Jacksonville’s fourth-quarter comeback to win 66-65.

The victory gave White Plains a split of their Class 4A, Area 10 boy-girl doubleheader. Most importantly for the boys, it avenged a 12-point loss to Jacksonville on Dec. 15 and likely set up a tiebreaker to see which team plays host to the area tournament.

If White Plains beats Cherokee County on Tuesday and Cleburne County on Thursday, and Jacksonville beats Cherokee County on Friday, then the area host will come down to a coin flip.

White Plains’ victory came after two-time defending Class 4A state champion Jacksonville clinched its first county title since 1985 Friday.

White Plains lost to Alexandria in the quarterfinals.

“To get that win at home when they came off of a county championship, that’s memorable,” White Plains coach Chris Randall said.

Just as memorable was Williams’ performance off of the bench. He hit three 3-pointers on the way to his game-high 25 points.

“I’ve always known I had the ability,” Williams said. “I just sort of needed the confidence and just start shooting the ball.

“That’s what I did tonight, and it worked out for me.”

Randall said Williams’ performance was nothing he hadn’t seen in practice.

“That’s the Daniel Williams we had this summer, that was confident and poised,” Randall said. “We’ve been looking for that guy, and he hadn’t been shooting that good. 

“For him to bust out in a game like tonight, coming off the bench too? And he does it all the time in practice. He’s got the green light. It’s not like he surprised when he scores the ball.”

White Plains also got nine points from center Carter Johnson, seven while also blocking four shots in the first half.

Dylan Barksdale hit two 3-pointers en route to eight points.

Jacksonville got 16 points from Aaron Nixon, all in the second half. Devin Barksdale, who had to exit in the action in foul trouble after Paul Laube drew a second-quarter charging foul on him, scored 15.

Coming off of the bench, Ky’dric Fisher hit four 3-pointers, including a 30-footer at the first-half buzzer, and finished with 14 points. Jaquan Ervin added 12.

Barksdale scored seven of his 15 during Jacksonville’s late rally. Down 58-48 with three minutes to play, the Golden Eagles pressed and rallied to within 64-62 with White Plains inbounding the ball at 4.8 seconds.

After an exchange of timeouts, White Plains successfully inbounded to Wheeler, who was immediately fouled and hit both free throws to make it 66-62.

Devin Barksdale hit a three at the buzzer to provide the final margin.

“Hats off to them,” second-year Jacksonville coach Tres Buzan said. “They played well, and we played bad. We’ve got to be better than that.

“In basketball, you’re going to have your ups and downs. You come off that county high, and you’re up, and having a lull is normal. It’s human nature, but we still want to fight it. You want to have reality checks and know your strengths and your weakness, and we have some things to work on to get better.”

Randall, in his 23rd year at White Plains, noted the “rollercoaster” of coaching the high school game.

“Just like the highs and lows of the county tournament and tonight, the highs and lows of the game,” he said. “You have kids that make unbelievable plays, and then we do some stuff that, we know better.”

Jacksonville’s DeAsia Prothro goes up for two of her 11 points as White Plains’ Cooper Martin (left), Braeton Moran (24) and Abbie Dickeson defend Monday at White Plains. (Photo by Joe Medley)


JACKSONVILLE 59, WHITE PLAINS 29: Jayci Taylor led a balanced scoring performance with nine points, and Jacksonville forced 41 turnovers to complete a season sweep of White Plains.

DeAsia Prothro added 10 points, and Lexi Phillips and Emerson Weaver scored nine apiece.

After starting the season 1-7 against an early schedule of mostly higher classified teams, Jacksonville reached 12-12. The Golden Eagles are 4-1 in area and play host to Cherokee County on Friday with a chance to force a coin flip to determine the area-tourney host.

Jacksonville led 31-20 at halftime and blew the game open in the third quarter.

“We just had to regain our focus,” second-year Jacksonville coach Corey Mize said. “We let things out of our control get in our heads. I told them we need to have games like that to experience that and learn how to channel our focus into what we do and stop worrying about that we can’t control.

“I talked to them at halftime about worrying about what we can control.”

Cooper Martin and Abbie Dickeson led White Plains with eight points apiece.

White Plains played its third game without guard Cassidy Arnold, who sustained a strained knee at Cherokee County on Jan. 9. The Wildcats also lost center Bella Higgins for the season because of a knee injury.

“With Cassidy being out, that’s our other guard,” first-year White Plains coach Clay Sprayberry said. “It’s hard to win ballgames with 24 turnovers. In the girls game, you want to shoot for 15, so when you have almost three times that many, it’s hard to win ballgames, especially with how hard they play defense.”

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