By Erik Harris
CLAY – After suffering an overtime loss in Class 6A, Area 12 play Friday at Center Point, sixth-ranked Clay-Chalkville rebounded nicely Tuesday night by downing Pinson Valley 73-54 at home.
“We talked about bringing your own energy, not having to have a crazy crowd or a big environment to just go play and I thought we did a good job tonight,” said Clay-Chalkville head coach Jeremy Monceaux.
It wasn’t quite a must-win situation, but was much needed if the Cougars (8-2) wish to stay in the three-team race for Class 6A, Area 12.
The Indians, on the other hand, find themselves in deep trouble with an 0-2 area start. They do have time to improve before their next league game at home against Clay-Chalkville on Jan. 16.
Cougars senior point guard Hasan Abdullah did plenty of what he failed to do Friday night, which is score. The senior made his way to the score sheet early and often as the hosts’ leading scorer with 18 points.
He started 4-for-5 from the field to help his team build a 20-10 lead after one quarter. That advantage only built in the second quarter when Abdullah sank a 3-pointer from left of the circle to stretch the lead to 16.
Out of the locker room it was Clay-Chalkville guard Martin Reed that did the damage. The senior drove his way into the paint over and over as the Cougars started the second half on a 9-0 run.
From there, Monceaux pulled most starters and allowed some of the football players, who made their first appearance of the season after winning a state championship on the gridiron, to make their mark. Forwards Nico Collins and Terry Brown got solid minutes in the second half. Kam Prewitt also got playing time outside at guard.
“We’ve got some football guys that just got back and we want to do a good job of (if we get a lead) getting those guys some sweat and some burn,” Monceaux said.
But no one made a bigger impact off the bench than point man Tahj Barnes. After replacing Abdullah, the junior turned defense into offense with multiple steals that lead to lay-ins. Barnes provided eight points off the bench.
Bench points were foreign to Pinson Valley on the road. Point guard Donevan Waldrop was asked to do much of the team’s offensive work. Cordarious Reese helped him with three 3-pointers.
Waldrop and Reese combined to score 33 of the Indians’ 54 total points.