After Scottsboro lost to Buckhorn by only two in Area 15 play, the Arab boys basketball team knew the challenge was real last Friday night.
And, they came close, very close, to answering the challenge. Arab came up just short in a thrilling, albeit disappointing contest for Arab where a few plays and a few shots proved costly at the end.
The varsity girls also lost, with the JV girls being the only Arab to win, 30-25.
• VARSITY BOYS
Scottsboro 82, Arab 75 (2OT)
This game was a doozy that left Knights fans with realistic hopes in area competition down the stretch. Arab led 13-12 after a quarter, were down two at the half and down five after three quarters before settling for a 63-all tie at the end of regulation. It was tied at 69 after one overtime before the Wildcats (12-3, 1-1 Area 15) got the edge at the end.
“You hate when you play a game like that,” said coach Justin Jonus. “You play well most of the game. You fight hard, the lead goes back and forth, and you come up short.
“I was very proud of our kids’ resilience tonight, until certain moments. We’re still a young team but we lost as a unit. We missed all those free throws (six in the two overtime periods), we didn’t rebound in the big moments, and we all had turnovers when we couldn’t afford to have any.
“Those three things cost us but I felt like we still should have won.”
Darian Lusk had a monster game with 21 points and numerous boards, Will Cavender continued to step up his offensive presence with 15 points, James Ed Johnson had 13 points despite a tenacious Wildcat defense, and John Wesson Johnson had 11.
“The good thing is, it happened now,” said Jonus. “You hate to lose them (area games) on the front, but basketball is a long season and you’ll have a chance to get it back.
“I feel like we beat ourselves tonight and we can work on that. This is a good unit. We’re just inexperienced right now.”
• JV BOYS
Scottsboro 38, Arab 33
JV ball has its own unique challenges, but coach Brad Kitchens has another plan to get back in the win column.
“We’ve just been out of sync the last couple of games,” he said. “It was actually two years ago when we last lost two games in a row. We can make all kinds of excuses about Covid and players moving up to the varsity, but the bottom line is its been a long time since we were out-hustled and out-worked.
“And I feel like we were a little out-worked tonight and Tuesday night at Buckhorn, so we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.”
Ethan Thomas had nine points and Jonathan England eight in the loss. Turnovers were a big story in the contest.
“We put the keys to success up on the wall before the game and one of those keys is to be patient with our offense and not try to make things happen too fast,” said Kitchens. “We just didn’t do that tonight. We had some key turnovers because we were in too big of a hurry trying to make something happen.”
• 9TH GRADE BOYS
Scottsboro 36, Arab 28
Very similar to the varsity game, the ninth grade team was up five at the end of the first quarter and up two at the half but came up short.
“We had a chance to tie it back up toward the end and couldn’t make a shot,” said coach Jonathan Embry. “Then we had to foul late and they made their free throws.
“It was a tough one to lose.”
Dylan Morrow had 12 points for the Knights, Austin Dyson had 11 and David Crabtree had five.
• VARSITY GIRLS
Scottsboro 56, Arab 29
Even when the Lady Knights were down 10 at the half, hopes were high that Arab would get back in the game.
It didn’t happen.
Coach Jessica Thompson is concerned that the recent lack of offensive output from her team may be more on the psychological side of things.
“We’re just not hitting shots,” Thompson said. “We’re getting good looks, layups, and putbacks and I think in the second half we had a total of four field goals. I bet we missed 20 shots in the paint tonight.
“You’re not going to win games like that.”
Bryleigh Bodine had 11 points for Arab, Kate Collins had six and Reagan Malone had four.
“Sometimes when you shoot as poorly as we have the last couple of games it starts to get into your mental game,” said Thompson. “As an athlete, you have to put that behind you and shoot yourself out of a slump.
“It just seems like right now, if we miss one or two it affects us and it goes downhill from there.”
The positive is, this team gives a lot of effort.
“We’re hustling hard and we’ve outrebounded everybody we play. We’ve just got to get some positive things going offensively. Twenty-nine points is not going to get it done at the varsity level,” she said.
The Wildcats picked up several easy shots on the fast break.
“We’re trying so hard to make shots we have to remember to do the fundamental things and get back on defense. Even on a good night, you’re not going to make every one of them,” said Thompson.