The victory was powered by the Eagles’ ability to open the game on a 10-0 run and keeping the Lady Valley Cubs off the scoreboard. Alexandria did not get on the scoreboard until Timberlyn Shurbutt made a free throw with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter. The Cubs’ first basket came in the second quarter when Ellie Morris sank a jumper. Jacksonville also fed off a 14-0 run during the second quarter.
“That’s what we always talk about — getting out and getting ahead and being able to control the game, so we can control the pace of the game,” Jacksonville head coach Ryan Chambless said. “With that, we can press or back off. It just depends on the situation.”
The wealth of offensive production was spread out for Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon. Darrien Martin and Angel Kidd led the Lady Golden Eagles in points, as both finished the night with 10. Virginia Poe added nine points and five steals. Sierra Stone had eight points. Dasia Kirksey did a little bit of everything, as she finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Alexandria’s offense ran through Ariel Tuck, who finished with a game-high 12 points and nine rebounds. Kaitlyn Brown added nine points and nine rebounds. Makai Andrews chipped in with eight points.
The win puts Jacksonville in control of its destiny in terms of trying to host their area tournament.
“We already have one over Hokes Bluff, and two on Cherokee County, so this win was big,” Chambless said. “The worst we can do is at least split with Alexandria now.”
Despite being in the driver’s seat, Chambless doesn’t want to let up: “It doesn’t matter how many you win right now, because when you get into that area tournament and lose the first one, your season is over.”
Alexandria boys 72, Jacksonville 63
Playing in front of several hundred fans in enemy territory, the starting five for Alexandria knew all eyes were on them. In what is billed as one of Calhoun County’s greatest rivalries, the Valley Cubs earned a hard-fought area win over Jacksonville.
“It was a big win,” said Alexandria head coach Jason Johnson. “With the job Ryan (Chambless) does, and the fans, it’s always tough to get a win in Jacksonville.”
Alton Davis led the way for the Valley Cubs, finishing the game with a double-double — 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gabe Marchal added 12 points and five rebounds. Tyrelle Gay chipped in with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Cole Burgess finished with 10 points and Dakota Kelley had eight.
“It’s just the way we are. We don’t really have a number one, or even a number two scorer,” Johnson said. “We just try to get about eight or 10 points, because we have a real unselfish team.”
For Jacksonville, Cam Horton finished with a game-high 25 points and five rebounds. Sid Thurmond added 12 points Lavontae LaCount chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.
The turning point came when Alexandria outscored Jacksonville 21-11 in the second quarter.
“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on them, really any team you play, and create some turnovers and play real intense,” said Johnson. “Our guys did a pretty good job at that tonight.”