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Fiery Turnaround for Jacksonville

Jacksonville’s Ky’dric Fisher fires a 3-pointer during the Golden Eagles’ 67-57 victory at Piedmont on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Jacksonville’s Ky’dric Fisher fires a 3-pointer during the Golden Eagles’ 67-57 victory at Piedmont on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Jacksonville, AL – Buzan’s heated timeout sparks Jacksonville boys to big second half after rough start at Piedmont. Jacksonville’s girls dominate.

Tuesday scoreboard

BOYS
Jacksonville 67, Piedmont 57
Munford 60, Wellborn 47
Pleasant Valley 50, Woodland 24
White Plains 60, Cherokee County 36
Faith Christian 51, Wadley 39
Spring Garden 59, Jax Christian 43
Weaver 67, Cleburne County 45
Glencoe 62, B.B. Comer 60
Cullman 58, Oxford 50
Alexandria 75, Lincoln 39
Handley 43, Anniston 41
GIRLS
Handley 44, Anniston 33
Jacksonville 59, Piedmont 15
Cleburne County 44, Weaver 37
Central-Clay 56, Saks 24
Woodland 50, Pleasant Valley 42
Glencoe 51, B.B. Comer 21
Clay-Chalkville 51, Southside 50
Oxford 72, Cullman 65
Alexandria 46, Lincoln 40

By Joe Medley

Jacksonville’s Ky’dric Fisher fires a 3-pointer during the Golden Eagles’ 67-57 victory at Piedmont on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Jacksonville’s Ky’dric Fisher fires a 3-pointer during the Golden Eagles’ 67-57 victory at Piedmont on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

PIEDMONT — Tres Buzan brought the fire to his Jacksonville team during a second-quarter timeout Tuesday at Piedmont.

Led by Devin Barksdale and Ky’dric Fisher, Buzan’s team brought the physicality after that.

Jacksonville rallied from as much as a 14-point hole and dominated the second half, winning 67-57.

The Golden Eagles improved to 14-5 while sending Piedmont (10-7) to its second consecutive loss, and Jacksonville came away with a sweep of the boy-girl doubleheader. The Golden Eagle girls rolled 59-15.

Barksdale scored a game-high 27 points, 10 in the fourth quarter. Fisher and Jaquan Ervin scored 13 points apiece, with Fisher scoring 12 in the second half.

Jacksonville rebounded after Piedmont scored the game’s first 12 points and led 38-25 at halftime. The rally started with a fiery timeout, with Jacksonville trailing 31-17 and two minutes left in the first half.

Buzan huddled his team on the court and made a point to make eye contact all around the huddle while unloading his displeasure audibly at a well-attended game.

“I just didn’t think we were playing Jacksonville basketball,” Buzan said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard.

“The guys weren’t happy with how they were playing. They knew they were playing bad. I’m not happy with how they were playing, so something needed to be said.”

The spark started showing on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Fisher had 10 third-quarter points, including two 3-pointers, and Jacksonville outscored Piedmont 22-7 in those minutes.

Fisher’s coast-to-coast drive, punctuated with an up-and-under move to the basket, drew Jacksonville even for the first time at 41-41.

“It was just remembering what we do,” Fisher said. “We didn’t play our brand of basketball in the first half, but we came out and got everything fixed and played with more physicality.”

Jacksonville also brought pressure in the second half and wound up forcing 16 Piedmont turnovers.

Piedmont’s better half came in the first half. Not only did the Bulldogs get off to a 12-0 start, but the Bulldogs answered with a quick seven-point surge when Jacksonville closed within 12-8.

Ishmael Bethel led Piedmont with 18 points, including two 3-pointers and a dunk. Colton Proctor added 11 points and Jaylen Brown 10.

Coming off of a 50-30 loss to White Plains, Piedmont came determined to make a better showing on offense, Piedmont coach Matt Glover said.

“We had a really great start,” Glover said. “The thing that we’ve got to learn is not to let our defense go off our offense.

“In the first half, we scored, and defensively we were really good. In the second half, when we didn’t hit our shots, I thought, defensively, we didn’t play as hard. We’ve got to flip that.”

Piedmont lost its top returning scorer when Rollie Pinto suffered a knee injury in football season, but the Bulldogs have won 10 games. Glover sees encouraging things.

“I told my group, we’re close,” he said. “We’re almost there. We’re just not there yet. I think we’re going to be there by the end of the year, but we’re not there yet.

“When you’re playing a back-to-back state champion, you have to be able to close out the game. We just didn’t close it out like we should.”

Jacksonville’s Alexis Phillips shoots over three Piedmont defenders Tuesday at Piedmont. She finished with 23 points. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Jacksonville’s Alexis Phillips shoots over three Piedmont defenders Tuesday at Piedmont. She finished with 23 points. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Girls

JACKSONVILLE 59, PIEDMONT 15: Jacksonville forced 33 turnovers, held Piedmont to 17 percent shooting and led 43-8 at halftime. Alexis Phillips scored a game-high 23 points,

Jacksonville has gone 8-3 since a 1-7 start against a rugged early schedule.

“Defense has been our mentality, and defense has been our focus,” Jacksonville coach Corey Mize said. “I thought we came out tonight and executed on defense. …

“We’re competing at a high level right now and playing very well. We’ve just got to carry this mentality into the next game, which is Centre (Cherokee County.”

As for Phillips’ performers, Mize called her “a game changer.”

“I’ve stayed in the gym and continued to get shots up and practiced and tried my hardest at practice,” she said.

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