Prep basketball: White Plains clinches area title outright
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Jan 17, 2014 | 3106 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The White Plains bench erupts after winning the Class 3A, Area 10 regular-season crown. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
The White Plains bench erupts after winning the Class 3A, Area 10 regular-season crown. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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PIEDMONT – The short celebration in the White Plains High locker room could be heard through visiting team’s door Friday night, but the excitement was expected.

Although the Wildcats had already clinched a share of the Class 3A, Area 10 regular-season championship earlier in the week, White Plains’ 33-27 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday secured the title outright.

The area championship marks White Plains girls’ first since 1997.

“I’m so happy. I don’t have much to say,” White Plains guard Taylor Snellgrove said. “I’m overwhelmed, I guess you can say.”

The win Friday came after a tough week for the Wildcats (16-6, 5-1 Area 10), which included a loss to Pleasant Valley on Monday and a loss to Saks the next night, the latter being a game Wildcats coach Michael Merriman said shouldn’t have been a loss.

“We played about as bad as we could have, but Saks had something to do with that,” he said. “We weren’t really focused on Monday when we played, and I think that took a lot out of us for Tuesday. Good teams find a way to get over that hump, which we didn’t do, but good teams also come back in their next opportunity to seal something and put it away and we did do that.”

Despite White Plains jumping out to an 18-3 midway through the second quarter on Friday, and having a 19-8 lead at halftime, Piedmont (6-13, 3-3) didn’t back down in the least.

The Bulldogs bounced back behind hot shooting and took a 24-23 lead into the fourth quarter. That was when Snellgrove, who scored a game-high 16 points, stepped up.

The lone dressed Wildcats senior tied the game 27-27 before a free throw by Shelby Wood gave the Wildcats the lead. After Piedmont regained the lead with just more than three minutes remaining, Snellgrove made back-to-back shots, which ultimately put the game on ice.

“Coach Merriman always talks about how important it is for seniors to lead, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” she said. “You can’t play with just one person on the court. You have to have all five.”

Carley Wood scored six points for White Plains. Piedmont’s Reisha Thompson recorded 11 points and Bre Green added seven.

Both teams return to the court today in the Calhoun County Tournament at Jacksonville State’s Pete Mathews Coliseum. Piedmont will play Alexandria at 3 p.m., and White Plains will face Donoho at 6.

Piedmont boys 60, White Plains 40: Piedmont was able to outlast the Wildcats despite a tight first quarter Friday.

“White Plains came out playing so hard in the first half,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said. “When we got a little bit of a gap in there I didn’t know if it was going to be close the whole night. You never can tell. They really played tough defense.”

Denard Spears led the way for Piedmont (11-9, 3-3), finishing the game with 15 points. Dreek Thompson added 10 points and Austin Brazier had nine points and six rebounds.

White Plains received 14 points from Nathan Gilbert, and Hunter Wheeler added seven.

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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