The Arab junior varsity Knights picked up a milestone victory at Scottsboro on Friday, the ninth grade boys continued their winning streak, the varsity boys lost their second in a row and both girls teams struggled at the free throw line.
• JV BOYS
Arab 48, Scottsboro 36
Picking up their 20th straight win on the road wasn’t easy for the Knights as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 10-point lead.
“They were a little embarrassed the way the game went in Arab,” said coach Brad Kitchens. “We played one of our best games of the season and they played one of their worst, so we had more of a lopsided win in that one.
“So, we knew they would be loaded for bear and come out for us tonight, and they did.”
Still down 20-17 at the half, Kitchens made some changes.
“We weren’t playing well at all in the first half, so we made some adjustments at halftime by switching our defense up a little bit. Wes Johnson and Will Cavender stepped up for us and played really well.”
Cavender, who was 8 of 9 from the free throw line, had 22 points and Johnson had 13.
“Alex Alcala got several steals for us that really helped turn things arounds,” Kitchens said. “It was a team effort but those guys really stood out.”
As for the 20 wins, Kitchens gave the credit to the players.
“I am truly blessed with a wonderful group of young men I’m getting the opportunity to work with,” he said. “We have great parents, great cheerleaders and great support.
“Everywhere you turn, it’s been really good. But, the season is not over and we’ve got to complete the year.”
• 9TH GRADE BOYS
Arab 47, Scottsboro 30
The Knights took charge early, led 28-19 at the half and methodically worked their way to a 12th straight win.
“They were a different challenge for us,” said coach Jonathan Embry. “We’ve played some athletic teams recently but Scottsboro was very skilled with plenty of guys that could shoot.
“Size was more to our advantage tonight, though. Spencer Strickland had his best game of the year. He played a really solid game.”
Strickland, who had 17 points, also pulled down 10 rebounds. Jonathan England and Dakota NeSmith had eight points each.
“I thought our defense was really, really good,” Embry said. “We just want to keep getting better every game.”
• VARSITY BOYS
Scottsboro 71, Arab 53
Arab was facing a lot of obstacles Friday and it proved to be too much to overcome. Blake Kelley eventually fouled out and Colby King was on the floor working with four fouls.
James Ed Johnson was the only player in double figures for the Knights, and all of his 18 points came in the fourth quarter.
“We struggled to score again,” coach Justin Jonus said. “We’re missing easy shots and we’re just not fluid right now.
“We had two single-digit quarters again. That’s less than a basket every two minutes. We’ve got to do better than that.”
As the Knights’ offense sputtered, the Wildcats flourished by hitting 11 3-pointers. Butler Bell, who had 25 points for Scottsboro, made seven of those.
Scottsboro led at the half 29-22 but Arab actually cut into the lead at that point with a 4-point play by Trevor Miller followed by a fast-break drive for two from Logan Parker.
After splitting during the regular season, the two teams are likely to meet again in the 5A, Area 15 Tournament as the middle seeds. Arab won by four at home in December and Jonus knows his team will have to turn things around, again, to get to the regionals.
“I hope we’ll be hungry and I honestly think we’ll be fine,” he said. “It may be only us, but the coaches and players feel like we’ll be going back to Jacksonville.”
• VARSITY GIRLS
Scottsboro 44, Arab 38
The Lady Knights missed 11 free throws and a costly mistake just before halftime gave the Wildcats a boost. A bad pass with less than a minute to go led to a five-point swing that helped give Scottsboro a 28-22 lead at the break.
“They capitalized off a couple of turnovers there and that’s how it is in a close ballgame,” said Lady Knights coach Jessica Thompson. “Two or three possessions can determine a close ballgame and that killed us.”
Elizabeth Brodhage had 12 points, Tristen White had 10 and Aubrie Kennamer and Reagan Malone added six points each for Arab.
The missed throws hurt just about as much. Just add them up.
“We made free throws against Guntersville but we missed 11 tonight,” Thompson said. “If we only made a little over half of those, we win the game.
Thompson still was happy with the effort.
“I’m proud of how hard the girls fought,” she said. “It was a one or two possession game until we had to foul at the end.
“We don’t want to backslide and we still have plenty to play for.”
• JV GIRLS
Scottsboro 30, Arab 29
“We missed 17 free throws,” said coach Chase Weaver.
That statement pretty much summed up the game.
“We’ve kind of been on a roll but we got shot back to earth tonight,” Weaver continued.
“Whenever we get an opportunity for free throws, we’ve got to make them.”
Arab made 12 of 29 at the line.
Laney Kelley had 12 points and Bryleigh Bodine had 11.
Arab teams hosted Albertville on Tuesday.