Arab basketball celebrated Senior Night in fine fashion Monday as all four teams won, mostly by large margins.
• VARSITY BOYS
Arab 67, DAR 37
The Knights struggled early and were actually down two after a quarter before getting back in the game to close the half.
After that, the Knights bolted to a 58-28 lead after three quarters and, with a running clock, maintained a 30-point lead for what turned out to be an easy win.
“It’s amazing how it works for us with how well our seniors play on Senior Night,” said coach Justin Jonus. “When we subbed our starters with five seniors, we had a burst of energy.”
With six seniors on the roster, he didn’t start all seniors to start the game.
“I would have felt bad for whichever one I left out. But it worked out good. I was proud of everybody one through 12,” said Jonus.
John Wesson Johnson led the Knights with 11 points, James Ed Johnson had 10, Darian Lusk and Spencer Strickland had eight points each, Will Cavender had seven and Kolby Conley had six.
• VARSITY GIRLS
Arab 54, DAR 48
The Lady Knights built a 32-16 halftime lead then watched DAR scramble back to get as close as four points in the final quarter before finally putting the game away.
The third quarter was bad for Arab as it gave up 10 straight points in the final 2:22 to lead by just seven (39-32) at the end of the period. The Lady Patriots cut it to 41-37 with a 3-pointer with 6:45 to play and kept up the pressure until the closing minutes, but Sydney Ferguson made 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to keep the Lady Knights safely ahead.
“The third quarter killed us,” said coach Jessica Thompson. “We scored seven points in the third quarter and that’s when they started their comeback.”
Thompson thinks her players might have become distracted after taking the big lead, especially with Senior Night activities poised to get started toward the end of the game.
Still, she liked what she saw, early in the game and late.
“We did a great job with our press and forced a lot of turnovers,” she said. “And we scored a lot on those turnovers.”
Reagan Malone had a big first half and finished with 16 points. Ferguson finished with 12 points, Bennett Elrod had 10 and Bryleigh Bodine had nine.
Thompson recently called up three girls from the JV team – Bennett Elrod, Lexi Mann and Kaely Hill – and she thinks the newcomers, as well as other young players already on the roster, have created a new energy on the team.
“Look at our leading scorers tonight,” she said. “Three of the four are an eighth grader (Elrod) and two freshmen (Ferguson and Bodine).
“These young girls are competitive and they expect to win. They bring a lot of energy coming off the bench.”
• JV BOYS
Arab 47, DAR 33
Case Couch poured in 14 points and Tre Wilks and Ethan Thomas added 10 each to lead the JV Knights.
“Case played really well for us tonight,” said coach Brad Kitchens. “We had our moments on offense when we really played well.
“But really, it was our defense that won this game. We had one of our better defensive games.”
• JV GIRLS
Arab 50, DAR 5
In a game that lasted approximately 41 minutes because of a running clock in the second half, the Lady Knights put away DAR early, leading 35-0 at halftime.
“Obviously we shot the ball well,” said coach Carlie Henderson, who added in defense of the opponent: “I think they’ve called up some of their better players (to varsity).”
Still, it was an explosive night for the Lady Knights. Lily Livingston had 14 points, Ava Wooten scored 10, Maggie Chastain added eight, Ava Kinney and Marissa Pope had six each and Karlie Westbrook had four points.
• Mike Tankersley contributed to this article.