Three Arab Junior High basketball teams will play Thursday in the the semifinals of the Marshall County Tournament at Guntersville Middle School, all needing one win to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Those championship games were originally scheduled to be played at Guntersville High School, but tournament officials announced Tuesday morning the event would conclude at GMS instead.
Arab’s seventh grade teams split on Saturday, the opening day of the tournament, with the seventh grade boy being eliminated by top-seeded Albertville in a blowout loss. The seventh grade girls defeated higher-seeded DAR 29-17 to advance to play top-seeded Albertville at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Albertville drew a first-round bye. The other bracket has Boaz and DAR meeting in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Friday.
Both of Arab’s eighth grade teams won on Monday to advance.
Meanwhile, Brindlee Mountain’s seventh grade team lost 30-17 to Douglas on Saturday. On Monday, Brindlee Mountain fell to Arab, 52-6.
That left the Brindlee Mountain eighth grade girls team as the lone Lions team left in the tournament. The No. 6 Lady Lions played No. 3 Boaz last night (Tuesday).
• 8TH GRADE BOYS
Arab 52, Brindlee Mountain 6
With Arab leading 20-0 after about two minutes of play, coach Jason Guger pulled his starters and allowed them to take a breather for the better of the night.
Aidan Cox led the Knights with 12 points with Will Cavender, Hayden O’Reilly and Ridge Stewart all getting six points each.
Arab will face Douglas at 7 p.m. Thursday. Games in the other bracket were played last night.
Ayden Ellenburg scored three points, Harlin Redmond had two and Braxton Fields one for Brindlee Mountain.
• 7TH GRADE BOYS
Brindlee Mountain 17
Lions coach Derek Brouillette was much less concerned with his seventh grade squad after its season ended Saturday.
“Four of them suited up for the JV team Monday night,” he noted, including Ian Garner, who scored eight points in his final seventh grade game.
“We finished 5-7 and they look like a pretty good group,” Brouillette added.
Garner played with the eighth grade team during the holidays. He was joined on the JV squad by teammates Colton Hall, J.P. Taymon and Gavin Daniel.
Daniel scored four against Douglas.
Albertville 44, Arab 7
The Knights were never in this one from the tip, and saw their season come to an end.
“It was a long year,” said coach Jason Guger. “It got a little better and we were able to hang with a few teams as the season went along.
“This team has a lot of work to do and has to work on its shooting ability. They’re going to be giving up a lot of size to a lot of teams, so this group has to shoot the ball a little better to compete.”
• 8TH GRADE GIRLS
Arab 25, Douglas 17
In what has been an up-and-down year for his girls teams, coach Terance Maze was proud for both after this win on Monday.
“I’m proud of the way they’re playing right now,” he said. “They’re playing with a little confidence, playing well defensively and just getting after it.”
Laney Kelley had 15 points for the eighth graders. Sydney Ferguson and Anna McFerrin each had three and Kastin Smith has two.
Arab led 4-2 after one quarter, with Douglas’ lone score coming with 37 seconds left in the period.
Arab had plenty of opportunities to have a larger advantage, and that didn’t sit well with Maze.
“Every time there’s a 50-50 ball on this end of the court,” he said pointing to Arab’s defensive end, “one team seems to always get it, and that’s Douglas.
“That tells me one thing. They’re outhustling you.”
After the game, Maze added, “They were more ready to play this game at the start.
“We struggled to rebound the ball. Give credit to Douglas. They were ready to play and were very physical.
“I told our girls they couldn’t take this team for granted.”
The Lady Knights got the message and played harder but led just 8-4 at the half. Then, surprisingly, Douglas hit a basket and a 3-pointer in the first minute of the third quarter to take a 9-8.
It was short-lived. Kelley converted a traditional 3-point play soon afterward to put Arab ahead 11-9. Douglas didn’t score again until hitting a one free throw with 2.2 seconds left in the quarter.
The Knights led 15-10.
Arab threatened to blow the game open in the fourth quarter as a basket by Smith led to an 8-3 run that put Arab up by 10 and caused Douglas to call a timeout with just under two minutes to play.
A 3-pointer by Douglas with eight seconds left made the final score seem a little closer than it really was.
“I have to give credit to our girls,” Maze said. “They found a way to win.
“Ball control was in our favor late in the game.”
Arab will play Albertville at 6 p.m. Thursday.
7TH GRADE GIRLS
Arab 29, DAR 17
“I had told the girls the season started over with the county tournament, and I was real proud of how they played Saturday,” Maze said.
Bryleigh Bodine had 15 points for the Lady Knights and Kensley Johns had 11.
“We did it in this game with our defense and rebounding,” Maze said. “We attacked the rim well and that opened things up on offense.
“Overall, it was a very good team win for us.”