Large crowd sees Bob Jones win against FlorencePublished 12:02pm Saturday, January 21, 2012
BY LINDSAY VAUGHT
In the Florence gymnasium on the campus of old Coffee High School, a standing room only crowd greeted the top-ranked and unbeaten Bob Jones boys’ team Friday night.
The teams, however, didn’t match the crowd’s energy on offense as the battle between two area 15 teams turned into a defensive struggle.
Bob Jones found enough offense in the second half to go up by 11 points, but had to hang on in the last minute to claim a 43-37 victory. The win pushes the Patriots to 21-0 and 5-0 in area play, good enough to claim the area title.
“It was a great crowd,” Bob Jones coach Danny Petty said after the game. “I told the guys I used to love to play in front of a crowd like that. Every time we come over here it is a hard-fought game. I’m proud of the guys for hanging in there. We didn’t shoot the ball that well, but we played pretty good defense.”
Both teams started the game unable to hit any shots. There were some spectacular defensive plays such as Florence’s Rashawn Smith blocked 4 shots in the first half alone. Brandon Harris returned to the starting lineup for the Patriots and hit the first 3-point basket of the game in the first quarter to help Bob Jones to a 10-8 lead.
Jeffrey Moss and Reggie Ragland got going in the second quarter as Moss broke open for a slam and was fouled for a 3-point play.
Not to be outdone, Ragland also had a slam as he led the Patriots with 6 points at the half for a 25-19 Bob Jones lead. Defensively, Bob Jones never had to come out of their zone as Florence rarely penetrated and shot only 9 for 34 and 0 for 8 from behind the 3-point line in the first half.
Point guard Travon Landry returned from a two-game absence with a knee strain and quickly made his presence felt in the third quarter when Moss found him cutting down the lane for a layup to make it 29-21.
Tyler Davis hit a clutch 3-point basket during a critical stretch to give Bob Jones their biggest lead of the game at 34-23. He followed that up with a high arching floater on the baseline that found the bottom of the net to make it 36-27 at the end of three quarters.
“That gave us some breathing room,” Petty said of Davis’ three. “He has hit some clutch threes for us all season.” Davis hit two three-pointers in the game.
Florence cut the lead to 38-35 at the 2:50 mark of the fourth quarter when Jeffey Moss took over. First he drove the lane, drew a foul and hit two free throws.
On defense he went high to block a shot late in the game that could have put Florence within a point. He then threw a full court pass to Ragland who rocked the gym with a slam the keep a slim lead. Moss closed the scoring by hitting 3 of 4 free throws to keep Florence out of striking range.
Ragland was the leading scorer with 14 points followed by Moss and Tyler Davis with 8 each. Ragland and Moss both had 10 rebounds.
Landry finished with 4 points and 6 assists in 29 minutes. Concerning the knee Landry said “everything is good. I’m just not in game shape. A week off is tough.”
The Patriots achieved their first goal of the season which was to win the area. Bob Jones will host the area tournament February 9-13.
“That’s nice to get that out of the way. That’s one of our goals; to win the area and play at home. We got that behind us now,” said Petty.
Bob Jones will play again at home on Saturday against 5A Lee-Huntsville and close out area play at Decatur on Monday night.
Bob Jones 64, Florence 49
The top-ranked Bob Jones Lady Patriots gave their fans who got to the game early something to cheer about as they rolled to big early leads of 21-5 at the end of the first quarter and 44-12 at the half.
Tierra Jones continued her superb play as she scored 9 points in the first quarter and led the team with 16 in the game. Using her size and strength she hit the offensive boards and drew a number of fouls early in the game from the Florence players.
Jasmine Jones, fresh off a nomination as a McDonalds All-American, had 6 points in both the first and second quarter and finished with 15.
Florence outplayed the Bob Jones reserves in the fourth quarter prompting Coach Tim Miller to put the starters, except for Jasmine Jones, back in the game. Florence outscored Bob Jones 22-8 in that quarter to make the final 64-49
Bob Jones is now 5-0 in Area 15 play and has clinched home court in their area tournament. The girl’s next game is Monday night at Decatur.