The game-changing moment in Arab’s 57-39 win at DAR on Friday came seconds before the half ended as James Ed Johnson hit a 3-pointer, followed by a quick steal from John Wesson Johnson on the inbound pass who kicked it back out to Ed who hit another 3.
From there it seemed, it was Arab’s game. The win capped a long, three-game week for the Knights, and that was what coach Justin Jonus was most proud of.
“Tuesday, we went to Douglas and ran late, we came back home and competed very well against a good Guntersville team, and then went back on the road Friday,” Jonus said. “We got blown out at DAR last year so for everything they faced this week I give them credit. This is a great win.”
There was good effort but the Knights continued to improve in their play, too.
“We had much better shot selection tonight. I was very proud of that,” said Jonus, “even if we did struggle at times shooting.”
Ed Johnson’s back-to-back 3’s didn’t go unnoticed, either.
“Big, big play there and I thought we rebounded hard. Spencer Strickland was really getting in there hard for us and I hate he was injured (nose),” said Jonus.
Ed Johnson had 17 points and six rebounds. Wes Johnson had 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Darian Lusk had 12 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Will Cavender had six points and four rebounds. James Reynoso had two points and four rebounds. Strickland and John Brady Bowman had two points and three rebounds each.
Dakota NeSmith scored two points.
• The Arab varsity boys also played in a Thanksgiving Tournament Monday (vs. Fairview) but early holiday deadlines prevented the Tribune from including that game in this report.
• VARSITY GIRLS
Arab 40, DAR 38
Leading 25-14 at the half, the Lady Knights were able sneak out a two-point win with two starters on the bench after a nasty collision.
Tatum Monroe and Sydney Ferguson crashed into each other during the game, leaving Ferguson with a terrible headache and Monroe thankful that her dentist was able to save her two front teeth. She also had three stitches in her lip and is sidelined at least until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Ferguson is expected to be OK.
Bryleigh Bodine, Kate Collins and Reagan Malone not only had eight points each to lead the Knights, they got high marks from their coach.
“Bryleigh was all over the floor,” said coach Jessica Thompson. “She’s a hustler and wants to win. She had a couple of big 3’s for us, too, and as a freshman is not afraid to take those shots.
“Kate also hit two big 3’s and is very physical for us inside. I think Reagan had 15 rebounds tonight in the first half alone and is really leading us defensively, talking to our younger players and getting them where they need to be.”
Still, DAR certainly made a great game out of it.
“We had a comfortable lead, 13-3, at the end of the first because our defense was generating our offense, but we may have got a little too comfortable. DAR did a great job of pressuring us to get back in it, but I was proud of our team to find a way to win,” said Thompson.
• JV BOYS
Arab 48, DAR 28
Down 7-2 early, the JV Knights quickly regrouped and put together a nice win.
For coach Brad Kitchens, it was his 40th win in the last 41 games. Jonathan England led the Knights with 14 points.
“Jonathan is blossoming,” said Kitchens. “Of all the England boys we’ve had, this one may be the best when it’s all said and done. He is really working hard and is putting a lot of effort into it.”
Case Couch had 12 points for the Knights, Ethan Thomas had nine and Tre Wilks had five. “We’re beginning to jell together. We knew it would take a while but we’re playing with a lot of confidence now. I’m proud of all of them,” said Kitchens.
• 9th GRADE BOYS
DAR 43, Arab 42
The game was tied at 16 at the half, and 24 after three quarters. A win would have been nice but coach Jonathan Embry was just proud to get a game.
Of 13 players on the roster, 10 had been in quarantine (coronavirus) the last two weeks. The full team was only together in practice for two days.
“I really liked having this game, a competitive game, as our season opener,” said Embry. “We swapped the lead back and forth all night and for us to be as far behind in our development as we are, I was very proud of the effort.”
Austin Dyson had 16 for the Knights and Ryan King 13. Cameron Croes and Dylan Bennefield had five each.