Arab’s James Ed Johnson surpassed a significant career milestone against Fort Payne on Tuesday night but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Knights from losing to Fort Payne on the road.
The Lady Knights, meanwhile, picked up another key Area 15 win.
• BOYS VARSITY
Fort Payne 73, Arab 63
“We knew it was going to be tough,” said coach Brandon Crews.
And tough it was. Arab led 14-12 after a quarter on a 3-pointer from Ed Johnson and the game was tied at 32 at the half. The Wildcats began to pull away in the second half and led 52-46 after three quarters.
The Knights had their moments, including back-to-back 3’s from Spencer Strickland in the fourth that pulled Arab to within four, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“Usually in an area road game on a Tuesday night, the tougher basketball team wins and unfortunately tonight we weren’t quite tough enough and didn’t make enough plays,” said Arab’s disappointed coach.
He agreed the effort is there, but says it’s time for something more.
“It’s not a lack of effort; we play really hard, but you don’t get points for playing hard,” he said. “We’re making some mistakes over and over that we’ve got to clean up.
“I’m proud of the expectation of playing hard, but we’ve got some areas on our team that have to be corrected it we’re going to win the games we need to win at the end of the season.”
Ed Johnson, who now has over 1,000 points in his high school career, finished with 20 points. Will Cavender and Owen Thomas had 12 points each and Wes Johnson had seven.
• BOYS JV
Fort Payne 43, Arab 39
In a nip-and-tuck game all the way, size may have been the difference in the game in the form of easy shots and rebounds.
“They were a big, physical team and we struggled to keep them away from the rim,” said coach Jonathan Embry.
The Wildcats led 17-16 at the half. Eli Morrison had 19 points for Arab, Jack Bishop had eight and Austin Dyson had seven.
• 9TH GRADE BOYS
Arab 49, Fort Payne 35
Coach Dylan Pope had concerns early.
“We weren’t shooting well in the first half but we were playing good defense,” he said.
The Knights led 19-12 at the half.
“We scored 16 in the third quarter and shot much better in the second half,” said Pope.
Evan Brazelton and Carson Jennings had 10 points each for Arab, Lawson King had nine, Landon Strickland had eight and Drew Puccio seven.
“You couldn’t help but notice Landon and Lawson on defense tonight. They were all over the place,” said Pope.
• GIRLS VARSITY
Arab 47, Fort Payne 39
The Lady Knights were down 32-22 early in the third quarter before mounting a comeback, cutting the lead to 36-35 at the end of the period. A 3-pointer from Kate Collins put the Knights up by three in the fourth quarter and Arab never gave up the lead from there.
“That was a big win for us. We’re playing decent basketball now,” said coach Brad Kitchens.
With the Cats scoring almost at will, the coach elected to add some pressure.
“We never lost our composure and when we started pressing some, it made a big difference,” he said.
Arab held Fort Payne to seven points in the third quarter and only three in the fourth. Freshman Lily Livingston had 10 points for Arab, sophomore Laney Kelley had nine and freshman Lexi Mann had eight.
“Our young players continue to step up for us,” Kitchens said. “I was very proud of all of them tonight.”
• GIRLS JV
Arab 31, Fort Payne 27
After falling to the Wildcats earlier in the season, coach Carlie Henderson knew something had to change with the Wildcats’ fast-paced game.
“We slowed things down some in the second half and didn’t have so many turnovers,” she said. “We played better defense and were able to hold down their top scorer a bit, too, so I was proud of the girls for doing what they had to do.”
Julie Stapler led Arab with nine points, Ava Wooten had eight, Ella Bradshaw had seven and Ava Kinney had five.