Bears peaking latePublished 10:08pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011
After losing all five starters from last year and having just one senior on the roster this season, Edward Bell head coach Mitch Joiner expected to take some lumps early. But, he also was looking for a turn-around in the second half of the year, and that’s just what has taken place.
The Bears lit up LaFayette for a season-high 90 points in their last outing to win their seventh game in the last nine. The 90-78 victory puts Edward Bell at 10-12 overall after a 3-10 start.
“We had some growing to do,” said Joiner, the 2010 1A Coach of the Year. “We didn’t handle pressure situations well early, and we were still trying to figure out everyone’s roles.
“But, we’ve gotten more confident and more comfortable as we’ve gained experience, and we’re starting to recognize some little mistakes. I feel good with the depth we’re building, as well.”
Joiner did point out that the consistency is still not there yet, however, and said the upcoming Area 6 tournament is anyone’s to win.
“We’ve still got a lot of growing left,” Joiner said. “You can see we’re not the same team every night. We just scored 38 points total in a game and a week later we put up 90. Us, Loachapoka, Notasulga and St. Jude can all beat the other on any given night.
“However it turns out, the thing that excites me the most is that everyone is back next year.”
Junior guard Eddie Webb scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 32 against LaFayette, who had beaten the Bears twice this season.
Freshman Thomas Cross totaled 11 points and drew praise from Joiner.
“We’ve used (Cross) sparingly so far, but we need a guard to step up and help Eddie and he could be the one,” Joiner said. “He saw the court well and did a good job of handling the press. He gave us a big boost.”
D.J. Black (16 points, 11 rebounds), Chris Black (15 and 10) and Akeem Holloway (14 and 10) all recorded double-doubles.
The Bears, who will be the 2-seed in the area tournament after finishing 5-3 with a 78-39 win over Verbena Friday, wrap up the regular season Saturday at Dadeville.
The Lady Bears won their seventh consecutive game by beating the Lady Bulldogs 58-37.
Edward Bell outscored LaFayette 17-5 in the second quarter to own a 31-16 halftime lead, then pulled away by winning the third quarter 19-7.
Natalie Copeland poured in 20 points to lead the Lady Bears (16-4). Desharte Edwards was next with 18, and Kierra Billingsley followed with 14.
Nancy Shealey’s team concluded the regular-season portion of the area schedule with a 56-36 win over Verbena to finish at 7-1 in a tie with St. Jude. The two are supposed to settle home-court advantage with a coin toss today.