Arab’s varsity basketball teams picked up 6A, Area 15 wins last Friday at home against Scottsboro.
• BOYS VARSITY
Arab 63, Scottsboro 59
In a game where literally every shot, rebound, turnover, whatever, counts, things can get a little antsy sometimes when defending one’s right to the ball.
If the game itself wasn’t interesting enough, tied at the half and with a one-point difference after three quarters, a little physicality added to the drama. As John Wesson Johnson claimed a steal, the Wildcats hoped to steal it back and things got – shall we say – physical.
While the fans and officials had their thoughts on the brief altercation, Arab’s coach looked at it a little different
“It was a real tough, gritty win,” said coach Brandon Crews. “We had talked in the locker room at halftime if there was an ounce of softness, we wouldn’t get the results we wanted. Mental toughness is a part of that.
“We had the little scuffle there that was really a little pushing and shoving, just teenage boys playing really hard. But after that, they went on a 10-0 run that made us go from up eight to down two. We didn’t panic and I felt like we responded in the right way, so I was really proud of that.”
The area win was big in a lot of ways, as Scottsboro came into the game at 17-3. James Ed Johnson, who had four, fourth-quarter free throws, had 20 points for Arab. Dakota NeSmith added 17, Wes Johnson had 10, Owen Thomas eight and Will Cavender five.
With Spencer Strickland sick and out of the lineup, Crews did a bit of shifting in who was on the floor when.
“We’re a little banged up right now,” he said. “We have a couple of players with nagging injuries and one not here due to sickness.
“But we had some guys step up, like Dakota NeSmith, who had a starting role tonight. I was really proud of him. He just kept making big shot after big shot for us when we needed them.
“But, we stress to our guys that with our lineups, we don’t have five starters. We have a full team we feel confident in and when you go in the game, you make the most of your opportunities. We care more about who’s on the floor at the end of the game, not necessarily who starts the game.
“Multiple people stepped up and it made it a fun Friday night in front of a home crowd.”
Scottsboro defeated the Knights earlier this season 69-62.
• BOYS JV
Scottsboro 47, Arab 41
It came down to a good defensive effort by Scottsboro in the second half. “I felt like we outplayed them in the first half but we weren’t shooting well and had too many turnovers against their press in the second half,” said coach Jonathan Embry. “They probably got 10 easy ones off turnovers in the second half.”
Eli Morrison paced Arab with 18 points, Austin Dyson had eight and Cameron Croes had six.
• 9TH GRADE BOYS
Arab 51, Scottsboro 41
For the ninth grade boys, a strong second half equated to a nice win. The Knights had missed layups and were 0-for-5 in the first half and found themselves down 21-19 at the break.
“The guys played really, really well in that second half, especially on defense,” said coach Dylan Pope, who watched his team outscore the Cats 17-8 in the third quarter. Carson Jennings had 17 for Arab, Drew Puccio 11, Noah Mann had seven, Lawson King had five and Evan Brazelton four.
• GIRLS VARSITY
Arab 43, Scottsboro 26
It was a close game early, but a bucket from Sydney Ferguson gave the Lady Knights a 17-14 lead at the half. And, it was Ferguson who helped ignite Arab in the second half.
“We ran a set play to begin the third quarter inside to Laney Kelley,” said coach Brad Kitchens. “They doubled down on her and she passed it over to Sydney who was wide open and made the shot and that set the tone for the whole half right there.”
Ferguson had 13 points in the game, Bryleigh Bodine had 11, Bennett Elrod had five and Kate Collins had four.
The Knights gave up a few turnovers early.
“We were a little lazy with our passes to begin the game but I thought we were a lot sharper in the second half,” said Kitchens.
The defense kept a close eye on the Wildcats’ Adair Holland.
“She had 15 against us at their place and she had two points tonight,” Kitchens said.
If the coach had any concern it was that his team has been playing good basketball overall, with the exception of a flat second half at Guntersville.
“I asked them at the half which team was going to come out in the second half and they responded tonight. The girls played with confidence and executed well,” he said.
• GIRLS JV
Scottsboro 49, Arab 43
Down 21-19 at the half, the Lady Knights continually got back in the game but never could seem to get closer than three points.
Julie Stapler had 12 points for Arab, Ava Wooten had eight, Hannah Poston and Maleah Wooten had seven each and Ella Bradshaw had six.