JHS’s Curry pulls out a victory ... again
by Lori Tippets
Alexandria had come up with the perfect plan for their area game against Jacksonville, keep the ball out of the hands of Golden Eagle senior Des Curry, and if the ball lands in his hands, don’t let him shoot.

In the end though, it was Curry pulling out a victory for his Golden Eagles team on a 3-point shot from way outside the arc with 7.6 seconds left on the clock. Alexandria tried to pull out the victory with a last second shot but the ball was way off the mark.

The 3-point shot by Curry marks the fourth time this season he has pulled out a victory from the jaws of defeat. Two of those last second heroics have beat the Valley Cubs.

The two teams were meeting for the third time this season, with Jacksonville having handed the Valley Cubs two losses in the two previous meetings.

This game, the area tournament, meant so much more. With Jacksonville getting the No.2 seed and Alexandria the No.3 seed, a win would allow the victors to go on, the losers would go home, their season over.

The Cubs used a box and one defense on Curry, and for two and a half quarters Curry was held pointless. But, as the old adage goes, the good ones find a way to win.

Curry found that way, scoring 18 points in the second half to lead his Golden Eagles to a come from behind, 54-53 victory that send Jacksonville to the area championship game against No.1 seed Hokes Bluff, who pulled out an overtime win over Cherokee County. The two teams will meet Monday at Hokes Bluff for the championship.

Curry was held to just two baskets during the game, one being his 3-pointer for the win, but the senior who averages 20 points a game made his mark from the foul line.

Curry, the leading free throw shooter in Calhoun County, who makes just about 82 per cent of his shots, was 13 for 17 from the line, all in the second half, to bring the Eagles back into the game and give them the victory.

Alexandria started out the game in control. After connecting on two 3’s and a foul shot, they jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Martavious Brisker got the Eagles on the board with a jump shot but the Cubs came down and hit another 3-pointer.

Two quick baskets by Jacksonville’s Jackson Bell brought the Eagles to within four at 10-6.

With Curry being tied up by the Cub defense, Bell kept taking the ball to the hoop, scoring six points in the first quarter.

Andrew Clingan, another Jacksonville senior, also picked up the slack for Curry as he scored 11 points in the game and fought hard under both baskets for rebounds.

Sid Thurmond made his presence known for the Eagles as two back to back steals brought the Eagles to within one at the half 22-21.

The third quarter was a flurry of fouls as both teams scored only one basket, their other points coming at the line. Alexandria scored 12 points from the line, with Colton Bundrum scoring the only basket.

Curry scored his first points of the night, from the line, with just under four minutes remaining of the third quarter. Jacksonville scored seven points from the line, with Curry also scoring on his first basket of the night, splitting two defenders to go to the hoop. The third quarter ended with the Cubs on top 36-30.

Alexandria jumped up to an eight-point lead on two free throws by Tyrelle Gay. Jacksonville’s Lavontae LaCount kept things close banking in a shot and cutting Alexandria’s lead to 40-34.

The Cubs jumped up to a nine-point lead when Derrik Turner scored on a nice inbounds play and made it a three-point play when he was fouled.

Down 45-36 Jacksonville started their comeback. Clingan fought hard for an offensive rebound and put it in for two. Thurmond found his mark at the basket and the score was suddenly 45-40 with 4:56 remaining.

Alton Davis hit a pair of shots from the line and the Cubs went up 47-40 but Thurmond hit a 3 for the Eagles, Curry hit a foul and Thurmond hit on another 3 to tie up the score at 47-47 with 3:40 remaining in the game.

The Cub bench, moments ago jumping up and down with excitement was suddenly silenced as the Jacksonville bench and fans came alive. The fans almost raised the roof when Thurmond stole the ball and fed off to Curry who was fouled. Curry made one from the line but got the rebound and was fouled again and with two shots gave the Eagles a 50-47 lead.

Luke Tucker was fouled for the Cubs and went to the line and sank both shots and the Cubs were down by one. The Eagles went into a stall but a quick Gabe Marchal stole the ball and took it to the hoop and with 1:35 left on the clock the Cubs were up by one, 51-50.

Yet another foul shot, again by Curry, tied up the game at 51-51.

The Cubs were prime to hold onto the ball for the last shot but Jacksonville fouled putting Bundrum on the line. The Cub senior calmly sank both throws and Jacksonville raced to get into position to get off another shot with 24 seconds remaining. The ball went outside to Curry who does what Curry does best, hit a “3” under the most intense pressure.

Alexandria got the ball quickly down court but the last second shot was far wide and the Eagles were in the championship game against Hokes Bluff.

Besides Curry’s 18 points, Bell chipped in 13, Clingan 11 and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the line; Thurmond had 8, and Brisker and LaCount 2.

Marchal led Alexandria with 12 points.
© 2013