In a much tougher than the score would indicate contest, Arab’s varsity boys basketball team pushed its record to 4-0 Monday night with a 61-38 win at Brewer. (Arab improved to 5-0 Tuesday night).

Will Cavender was again the go-to man on offense with 17 points, but he got key help from Dakota NeSmith and Spencer Strickland, who had nine points each. Owen Thomas, who got on track late in the game, finished with eight. Jackson Dunn had 16 for the Patriots.

“It was a hard-fought win for sure,” said Arab coach Brandon Crews.

The Monday night series had its share of rust.

“The early part of the game wasn’t exactly pretty, but we didn’t get down about it and our guys kept chipping away to stay in it,” Crews said.

Arab emerged with a 27-17 lead at the half.

“We kept getting a little bit better with each possession and luckily some shots started to fall for a couple of guys, and that opened it up for everybody,” Crews said. “Just thankful we got into the flow of the game better after a slow start.”

• JV BOYS

Arab 53, Brewer 28

It seemed the JV team was in rhythm no matter who was in the game.

“We’ve only had our full team the last four games,” said coach Jonathan Embry, who pointed out that his team’s only loss came on a Saturday when the Knights played back-to-back games with six players.

“I’m really proud of these guys. This is an athletic group that plays really physical and very fast,” Embry said. “A lot of people get in the game, too. We want to win as many as we can and with this group, there’s no reason we can’t win every game we play.

“The amazing thing is, they should only get better.”

Landon Strickland had 17 points for the Knights, Wyatt Lamar had eight and Carson Jennings seven. Landon Mitchell, Cameron Croes, and Jackson Bishop had five each. The JV team is now 5-1.

• GIRLS VARSITY

Arab 62, Brewer 30

The Lady Knights built up a 36-13 halftime lead and rolled to a much-needed win for a team with no seniors and only three juniors. While there is still much room for improvement, that really wasn’t coach Brad Kitchens’ concern moments after the contest.

“What I was pleased with tonight was the overall effort we gave,” he said. “We had a tremendous effort on defense and I thought that set the tone for the whole ballgame.”

Bennett Elrod led Arab with 16 points, Bryleigh Bodine had 10, and Sydney Ferguson had eight. Lily Livingston, Laney Kelley and Lexi Mann had seven points each.

“There’s plenty of things we’ve got to clean up,” said Kitchens. “We’ve been hitting about 75 percent from the free throw line and tonight we only made 10 of 22. That will get you beat in a close game.

“We also had too many unforced turnovers. When you play pressure defense like we do, we have a tendency to carry it over to the offensive end and sometimes we go too fast.”

In the tournament last week at Supreme Courts, all three teams the Lady Knights played were in the state finals of their respective categories last year.

“We didn’t show up in one of those games, but that was a good experience,” Kitchens said. “We faced some adversity and we hope that makes us stronger and better.”

• JV GIRLS

Arab 47, Brewer 15

The Knights jumped out early, at least somewhat by design.

“I’ve talked to my girls about that,” said coach Carlie Henderson. “We don’t have a lot of room for error this year so we have to come out ready, come out quick, try to pressure the ball and get some points off our press.”

Ella Bradshaw led the Knights with 12 points, all coming in the first quarter. Julianna Jernigan had eight points, and Makenna Tidmore and Hannah Poston had six each.

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