Hoops round-up: Cougars roll over BobcatsPublished 7:33pm Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Central-Coosa will come into Friday’s contest with Benjamin Russell in Alexander City off of an area win.
The Cougars ripped Beulah to the tune of 63-28 to get their third victory of the season on Tuesday. Coach Joe Belyeu said he still has not seen as much progress as he would like through eight games, however.
“We were glad to get the win, but we’ve got to keep climbing the ladder,” Belyeu said. “We’re at the same step as where we started, and there are a lot of stairs left. We’ve got a tough five-day stretch coming up with Ben Russell, Elmore County and Handley and our level of play has to go up.”
Central entered this season with a lot of youth and inexperience. The Cougars’ go-to player for the last couple of years, Joe Russell, graduated and just one player with significant playing time returned, and most of the players in the rotation are underclassmen. But, Belyeu said some of the younger players, especially the guards, have been coming along.
“Xavier Moon has had his moments and (Carderius McKinney) has played well in spots,” Belyeu said. “Moon only weighs about 100 pounds, so it’s hard for him to go up against a 6-foot, 175-pound guard. But, he’s just got to live with it, and he’s held his own. Jalan Thomas has had a couple of good games, too.”
McKinney (17), Thomas (15) and Moon (10) all were in double figures for Coosa in the win against the Bobcats. Charteveous Keith and A.J. Longmile added four points apiece.
The Cougars led by 12 after one quarter and owned a 37-17 advantage at halftime. They’ll take on a BRHS team that’s on a three-game winning streak on Friday at Central Alabama. The Wildcats won 55-37 in the Pepsi Classic finals last Saturday.
“We made it a decent game with (BRHS) until the third quarter,” Belyeu said. “Then they got in the press and that was all she wrote. We’ll have to adjust to that.
“Then we turn around and have a big chore with Elmore County and Handley. Handley is probably the team to beat in our area, but coach (Cliff) Drummond has never won at our place. He feels like it’s a jinx. Whatever it is, hopefully we can keep it going (Tuesday).”
HBHS splits with LaFayette
The Lady Generals ran their season-opening win streak to nine games with a tight triumph over Class 2A, Area 8 rival LaFayette on Tuesday in New Site.
HBHS led throughout and was on top by eight at halftime, but it briefly lost the lead in the fourth.
“We led about the whole way, but LaFayette got a three-point lead on us late in the game,” coach Mike Boyd said. “We were able to convert twice in a row and get a couple of stops.
“We had a good inside game and were able to spread it around. That helped us score in a lot of ways.”
Boyd said he was happy with the post play of Jessica Williams, Ranley Clayton and Rachel Smothers. The three combined for 19 points. Brittney Keel led all scorers with 14, and Jessica Harden had nine. Hannah Funderburk had the other field goal for the Lady Generals.
HBHS (9-0) was 13 of 22 from the free throw line.
The boys hung tight with the Bulldogs all night, but they dropped a 64-58 decision to LaFayette. HBHS led 14-10 after one quarter and was tied at 28-all at halftime, but a slow start to the third quarter put the Generals in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
“LaFayette went on a 7-0 run to start the third, and that was tough for us,” Boyd said. “They changed gears and it took us too long to adjust. That lapse really hurt us.”
Josh Martin was 6 of 6 from the foul line and he had 18 points for the Generals (1-4). Kendall Thomas was next with 13 points, Corey Battle had 10 and Jay Glenn had seven. Nick Morris scored three. Emmanuel Higgins paced the Bulldogs with 23.
“We got Josh some touches and he scored when he got it, which made it easier for everybody,” Boyd said. “We’re playing hard, playing better defense and competing with some tough teams. Maybe we can put it all together here soon.”
Lady Bears win, boys beaten in OT
The second area win of the season was an easy one for the Edward Bell girls, as the Lady Bears took a 20-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on their way to a 57-38 win.
“This game was never close,” head coach Nancy Shealey said. “Our offensive game was on and the defense held its own. They played a very physical game, but we held on with no new injuries.”
Kierra Billingsley has consistently led Edward Bell (4-1) all season, and she did again with 23 points Tuesday. Natalie Copeland scored 12 and Jamelia Wilkerson put up six points and 12 rebounds.
Mitch Joiner’s Bears were on the wrong end of a 56-55 score in overtime. Loachapoka held the ball in a tie game with 20 seconds left in the extra period, and a whistle stopped play. After some discussion, a foul was called on the Bears and the Indians made one free throw. Edward Bell’s last shot was no good, and the Indians escaped their home court with a win.
“There were a lot of controversial calls both ways, but I was glad to see our players’ attitudes after the game,” Joiner said. “They didn’t blame it on the refs; they took responsibility. They know we have to take advantage of our opportunities when we get them and make free throws, and we didn’t do that (Tuesday).”
A game after making 20 of 26 free throws, Edward Bell missed 11 of 17 shots from the charity stripe, including going just 3 of 9 in overtime.
Akeem Holloway recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Eddie Webb scored 16 and gave out nine assists for the Bears (2-3). Ladarian Black added 14, as well. JacQuez Crawford scored 26 for the Indians (2-0).
“That’s a tough place to play, and we did OK to go over there with a young team against one with a bunch of seniors,” Joiner said. “We should be better the next time we see them at our place.”
Edward Bell plays next at St. Jude on Friday.
Rangers’ new coach looking for success in 2010 season
Lyman Ward head coach Dewayne Thomas is optimistic about the Rangers’ chances in 2010-2011.
“It’s a new look, new day and a new team,” Thomas said.
The Rangers opened the year this week with a 58-50 loss against Coosa Valley Academy, but Thomas said this group is different from those in years past at LWMA.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Thomas said. “They’re a young team, but they have a lot of great character. Lyman Ward is gaining its mojo back in becoming a team to reckon with. We will compete in the area tournament.”
Thomas said forward Chris Grammer is one of the reasons why the Rangers could have success. Grammer recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Thomas said he could be a player at the next level.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt he is at least a D-II prospect,” Thomas said. “He’s a phenomenal player. He jumps extremely well and has good moves to get penetration inside. He’s a senior leader for us, as well.”
DeWayne Pritchett score 14 points in the loss, which won’t count in area play because the game was a late agreement between the coaches.
Dillan McMullen finished with eight points and eight rebounds even though he fouled out in the third quarter. Colton McKinley had 10 points, and Thomas also complimented the play of point guard Jared Gustin.