Pleasant Valley – Game time came early for Roper, Lady Raiders, but they answered the call and ran past Weaver in their County Tournament opener
CALHOUN COUNTY TOURNAMENT
Pleasant Valley 53, Weaver 32
Jacksonville Christian vs. White Plains, noon
Piedmont vs. Wellborn, 3 p.m.
Alexandria vs. Saks, 6 p.m.
By Al Muskewitz
Anybody who knows Macey Roper knows the Pleasant Valley senior guard is not a morning person and when your basketball team plays at 9 in the morning that can be a dangerous personality trait.
The morning came early for Roper and the Lady Raiders Monday, but after a quarter to shake the cobwebs, they woke up and ran past Weaver 53-32 in the day’s first game of the Calhoun County Tournament at Jacksonville State.
After what PV coach Colton Morris called a “sloppy” start, the Lady Raiders opened the second quarter with eight straight points to take control. Roper had the first five in the run and seven altogether. She finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the game.
“Everyone you ask can actually say I am not a morning person,” Roper said. “Everybody you ask knows I cannot get up early, so coach had me here at 7:30 this morning trying to wake up, and I still think it was a long process.”
To make sure she didn’t oversleep and caught the bus on time, she had senior teammate Kianna Hester stay over the house. Six o’clock came early. Head coach Colton Morris was up even earlier.
“They had to open the door for us, nobody was here yet,” Morris said. “I know how they are, I’ve been around them long enough, I know how they are. I had to get them here early, get them woke up, and I don’t even know if I got them all the way woke up or not, but I knew if we’d have gotten here 8-8:15 I don’t know if we’d have won the ballgame, to be honest with you.”
“I knew I had to be here for my team and I had to be ready to play for them,” Roper said.
The second-quarter spree was actually part of a greater 11-0 run that Laney Robinson touched off with a buzzer-beating 3 at the end of the first quarter. And that was the back end of back-to-back 3s in the final 30 seconds that gave the Lady Raiders the lead for good. She hit four 3s in the game and finished with 13 points.
“Obviously I wasn’t really warming up good at all but I just felt it,” Robinson said. “At the time I was wide open so I went for it because it was going to help the team. That really boosted my self-confidence for the rest of the game and showed I could do it and not get nervous.”
This year’s County Tournament is special to both players. Roper was playing in the fifth and final County Tournament at JSU of her career, but never this early in the day. Robinson, a sophomore, was playing in her first after developing on the junior high team.
“I was nervous at first, but it was something I’ll never forget,” she said.
Roper will have the same memories, just more of them, having been coming to this gym for the county’s showcase event since the eighth grade.
“This tournament is very special to me just because of the atmosphere and the people around and I love playing in JSU’s Coliseum and being able as a team to play and have that atmosphere together,” Roper said. “It’s definitely going to be bittersweet knowing this is going to be my last County Tournament and last chance to make a run and hopefully we’ll make it back in here in regionals.
“It’s definitely going to bittersweet not to be able to play with this team because this team is one of my favorite teams, just the chemistry, we’ve played so good.”
Luckily, the Lady Raiders’ next game isn’t so early. They draw second-seeded Anniston at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Provided they keep winning, that will be the earliest they’ll play the rest of the week.
Does she want to go early again?
“Not necessarily,” she said, “but I would do it again for the team.”
This story will be updated.
PLEASANT VALLEY – Macey Roper 6 6-8 18, Rebekah Gannaway 4 0-0 10, Kianna Hester 2 0-0 5, Laney Robinson 4 1-2 13, Lilly Robinson 0 0-0 0, Haylie Lee 0 1-2 1, Ella Kate Parris 2 0-0 4, Bailey Brown 1 0-0 2, Savannah Pritchett 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-12 53.
WEAVER – Annalynna Canchucaja 0 0-0 0, Erionna Richmond 2 0-1 4, D.J. Gibbs 0 0-0 0, Ella Kines 0 0-0 0, Alayia D’Ambrosia 1 0-0 2, Iyanna Wright 0 2-4 2, Aaliyah Marks 7 1-2 15, Madison Atchley 2 5-7 9, Kimora Miles 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 8-14 32.
Pleasant Valley 11 14 14 14 – 53
Weaver 8 4 10 10 – 32
3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 7 (Gannaway 2, Hester, La. Robinson 4); Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 14, Weaver 16. Officials: Madsen, Williams, Compton.