English’s free throw lifts Weaver past Valley Cubs
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Dec 18, 2013 | 1787 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alexandria's Kaitlyn Brown dives between two weaver defenders to shoot the ball. (Photo by Stephen Gross)
Alexandria's Kaitlyn Brown dives between two weaver defenders to shoot the ball. (Photo by Stephen Gross)
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ALEXANDRIA — Weaver played its best basketball of the season and its most clutch basketball of the season Tuesday night.

Weaver had a 20-point lead in the second quarter, but after it disappeared in the second half, the Bearcats needed a free throw following the final buzzer to put away Alexandria 77-76.

The game told two halves, the first including Weaver (7-2) dominating the game, having as much as a 43-23 lead, but taking a 12-point lead into halftime.

“We were hot. Everybody was hitting,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said. “Even though we’re small, we have to keep it at a fast pace and all of the kids have the ability to shoot the 3 and drive. We jelled that second quarter.”

But the second half featured shutdown defense from Alexandria, which found Weaver’s weakness when it started trapping.

“We were just struggling to find any kind of offense and struggling to stop them,” Alexandria coach Jason Johnson said. “We went to trapping a little bit and were able to force some turnovers and pick up the pace a little bit.”

Seven consecutive points by Alexandria (4-3) in the third quarter got the game back to single digits, but the Valley Cubs weren’t able to tie the game until there was 6.4 seconds remaining.

Alexandria guard Tyrelle Gay was fouled going up for the shot and hit both free throws to tie the game 76-76.

“That’s a tough situation,” Johnson said. “I was so proud of him.”

After English led Weaver to 13 of its 18 points of its second-quarter run and had 20 points in the first half, there wasn’t much doubt the ball was going to him.

English drove down the court and shot a 3-pointer with a second left on the clock, getting fouled with the ball hitting off the front iron as time expired. English hit the free throw to win the game.

“Chris realized it was it was time to step up and be the man,” Hamby said. “He took us home with his experience. He has to understand that sometimes he just needs to take over and that’s what he did.”

English finished the game with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Timothy Hawkins had 17 points and six rebounds. Shon’D McKinney had 12 points and seven rebounds and Delo Forbes had 10 points. For Alexandria, Dakota Kelley had 19 points, C.J. Swink had 15 points and seven rebounds and Luke Tucker had 13 points.

Alexandria girls 59, Weaver 13: The Valley Cubs found their shooting touch and were able to snap a three-game losing streak on Tuesday night.

Mendi Lash led the way with 12 points, Kaitlyn Brown added 10, Ariel Tuck had nine and Makai Andrews had nine.

“We’ve been struggling this year so a win is big right now. Anytime you can win it’s big,” Alexandria coach Phillip Hartsfield said. “We’ve had a really hard time the last few games with our shooting percentage. We’ve been shooting 25 percent from the field. I don’t know our exact stats right now, but I know it was much better tonight.”

Alexandria (4-5) came out shooting hot, scoring 23 points in the first quarter, with points coming from seven different players.

“For one thing it’s confidence for the girls to know they can score,” Hartsfield said. “At the same time, it’s not just a confidence booster. It’s proof that what we’ve been coaching them works if they’ll do it. The 59 points was nice for us because it’s 59 points, but also because we finished tonight. We haven’t been finishing.”

Weaver (1-6) was led by Indeya Thompson, who scored four points. Ciara Hardy had three.

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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