EDITOR'S NOTE: Arab's teams had a little better luck against Douglas on Thursday night. See the story in Saturday's print edition of The Arab Tribune. Arab Junior High teams played this week, too. Read about them in Saturday's Tribune also.
Arab’s varsity basketball teams had a hard time finding the bucket at Guntersville on Tuesday, but the younger teams gave the Knights a 3-2 edge.
• BOYS VARSITY
Guntersville 57, Arab 37
Turnovers and missed shots, along with a smooth shooting Wildcat team, gave the Knights a frustrating loss coming out of the Thanksgiving break.
“We got layups and we had open 3’s, but we couldn’t make them,” said coach Justin Jonus.
Arab’s promising season is being held back due to inconsistent shooting and keeping players healthy. Colby King was back in the lineup for the Knights but is not totally healed from a lingering ankle injury he sustained in football.
The delay in time on the court is showing up in various ways, but Jonus feels the ship will still sail.
“It’s a tough place to play but this isn’t the end,” he said. “We still have a good chance to have a good season and host the area, but we’ve got to get healthy and get back to the grind.”
The Knights’ most consistent player the last few games, Brooks Malone, turned an ankle in the third quarter but was able to return in the final frame. Considering the Knights’ occasional sputters on offense, practice could be reconfigured.
“We’re doing a good job defensively but I may adjust the practice to be just about offense and scoring,” Jonus said. “No one is necessarily more athletic than us, stronger, taller or anything like that, we’re just not putting the ball in the hole.”
There have been a few rollouts, but sooner or later, the ball needs to fall. Malone led the Knights with 10 points, Kent Tyler had eight and Darian Lusk had five in the loss.
• VARSITY GIRLS
Guntersville 56, Arab 40
The Lady Knights led this game by two points when the offense turned south.
“Guntersville did a good job pressuring us in the second half but we didn’t really turn the ball over in the backcourt,” said coach Jessica Thompson. “What killed us was missing easy baskets.
“We missed 10 layups on the right side in the second half alone. There were a couple of times we were getting enough offensive rebounds to get three or four opportunities but we missed every shot.”
Tristen White led the Knights with 12 points and Grace Crawley had seven.
Thompson said several players will have to begin to take charge on the court as opposed to serving in a supporting role for the season to turn around.
“We have a choice of whether we want to give up and say the season’s done or we can keep working and grindingm,” she said. “Those shots are going to eventually fall if we keep working.”
• JV GIRLS
Arab 40, Guntersville 28
It was more offense than usually seen from the Lady Knights but coach Chase Weaver was proud of something else.
“We had a lot of good offense tonight but it started with our press,” he said. “We pressed pretty much the whole game and the girls worked really hard.”
Laney Kelley made three 3’s and finished with 11 points. Anna McFerrin had seven and Kate Collins five.
• JV BOYS
Arab 34, Guntersville 27
Coach Brad Kitchens was glad to see his Knights get a win and push their season record to 9-1, but it wasn’t exactly a dominant effort.
“We hit a stretch where we were playing pretty well but we really didn’t play that well tonight,” he said. “Sometimes you have to find a way to eke out a win and that’s what we did tonight.
“Guntersville had a lot to do with that, but I don’t think we played as well as we’re capable of.”
No one was in double figures but four players – Andrew Byars, Will Cavender, Wes Johnson and James Reynoso – had six points each.
“When you’re able to get good distribution like that, it makes it tough for the other team to defend, so that’s always a good thing,” said Kitchens. “We rebounded well and did some good things, we just didn’t shoot as well as we have been.”
9TH GRADE BOYS
Arab 38, Guntersville 21
Guntersville jumped out to a 9-6 lead when coach Jonathan Embry decided to call a timeout. “We settled down and changed the game plan a little,” he said.
In this case, a little meant a lot as Arab went on a 21-0 run that extended all the way to halftime.
“That kind of sealed the game, but we controlled the second half as well. I was really proud of the guys,” Embry said.
Spencer Strickland sparked the Knights with a nine-point first quarter and had 11 for the game. Dakota NeSmith had nine and John Ray Wilks had five.