Rough opener at Florala Tournament for WSN boys, girls
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
They lost by 34 points, but were outscored by their opponent by just one in the second half.
That is all that needs to be said about the kind of first half the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles endured Monday when they were ambushed 76-42 by the Florala Wildcats in the opening round of the Florala Tournament.
Florala (7-1) built a 10-point lead before the game was three minutes old, had a 20-point lead before the first quarter was over, extended it to a 30-point bulge by the time the second quarter was halfway over and eventually led by as many as 42 points.
Much of the Wildcats production came off their full-court press, which forced the Blue Eagles into 11 first quarter turnovers and 18 for the first half.
Florala's initial surge was a 10-0 run to start the game on buckets by Vance Gettis and Xavier Jones and back-to-back three-pointers Robby Evans.
W.S. Neal (4-6) was able to temporarily stop the bleeding when Jonathan Alexander buried a three-pointer and scored off an offensive rebound to cut the gap in half to 10-5.
The Wildcats quickly regained the momentum and then some, as they closed out the quarter on a 16-0 run and a 26-5 lead. Denny Wilson fueled that surge with four buckets, one of which was a monstrous dunk in the waning moments of the quarter.
Wilson also had another dunk in the second quarter on an offensive rebound off a missed free throw. The Wildcats had plenty of other second quarter highlights. Gettis had a three-point play while Michael Carson and Deandre Lewis each buried three-pointers.
That production was all part of a 31-3 run by the Wildcats that swelled the lead to 41-8 on their way to a 47-14 halftime advantage.
W.S. Neal's frustrating night hit a climax late in the third quarter after the lead had hit 40 points when they were assessed two technical fouls in a 26-second span, one on the bench and one on a player.
Cecil Thomas and Alexander both had 11 points to lead the Blue Eagles.
In other first-round games played Monday, Straughn beat Samson 59-43, Opp beat Kinston 58-30 and New Brockton edged Pleasant Home 41-40.
W.S. Neal faced Samson Tuesday in the consolation semifinals. The Blue Eagles will close out the tournament Thursday against either Kinston or Pleasant Home at 10:30 a.m. in the seventh place game or at 1:30 p.m. in the consolation championship game.
W.S. Neal 5 9 9 19 – 42
Florala 26 21 18 11 – 76
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Alexander 4-1-0-11; Thomas 5-0-1-11; McMillian 1-1-0-5; Green 2-0-1-5; Madison 2-0-0-4; Bradley 1-0-0-2; Roh. Travis 1-0-0-2; Sanders 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 17-2-2-42)
FLORALA (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Gettis 6-0-3-15; Wilson 6-0-0-12; Jones 4-0-2-10; Smiley 4-0-1-9; Evans 1-2-1-9; McCoy 2-0-1-5; Ri. Williams 1-1-0-5; Carson 0-1-0-3; Ro Williams 1-0-1-3; Lewis 0-1-0-3; Vickers 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 26-5-9-76)