Second-year Ranburne coach Stephen Bailey called getting the top seed something of a surprise but a pleasant one.
“I think it gives us a much easier chance to rest to be able to play that championship game with fresh legs,” Bailey said Wednesday. “Hopefully, it allows us to stay fresh. That’s the biggest thing.”
The Bulldogs will be looking to bounce back after a narrow 50-49 loss to visiting Randolph County Tuesday. The score was deadlocked at 29-29 at halftime. With 90 seconds to play, Ranburne trailed by four and still had four fouls to give. Randolph County’s initial trip to the foul line in the late going produced two made free throws and a 50-44 lead. With about 40 seconds left, Dylan Wiggins drilled a 3-point basket. Ahead now just 50-47, Randolph County missed at the line then fouled Wiggins on a 3-point attempt. He sank two of his three attempts but 50-49 was as close as the Bulldogs got.
Kyle Lovvorn and Blake Young each scored 10 points for Ranburne. Wiggins finished with seven points. Mark David Smith and Brayden Wilson had six points apiece. Owen Smith scored five points, Jay Smith four points and Spence Florczak one point.
The Randolph County contest ended a run of five games in six days for Ranburne. The Bulldogs were 2-3 in the stretch but won the games that mattered most in the long run, their Class 2A, Area 10 meetings against Wellborn and Ohatchee.
On January 9, Spring Garden came to Ranburne and won 61-56. The Bulldogs trailed 21-13 after one quarter and, as Bailey said, “just could not catch up.” Wiggins had 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Wilson tallied 12 points. Lovvorn had 10 points and four rebounds. Owen Smith scored seven points. Mark David Smith had five points and four rebounds. Jay Smith scored for points, Logan Sibley two points and Florczak one.
At Wellborn Friday, Ranburne won 76-75 in overtime. At the end of regulation, each team had 71 points. In overtime, Wilson had a basket and Owen Smith a free throw before Mark David Smith tipped in a missed layup to overcome Wellborn’s 75-74 lead with about 10 seconds to play. The Panthers missed twice thereafter.
Woeful free throw shooting ended any chance Ranburne had of defeating Cleburne County in Heflin Saturday. The Bulldogs netted just seven of their 28 free throw attempts. Lovvorn had 11 points and six rebounds. Mark David Smith scored 10 points and added six boards. Wilson scored nine points. Jay Smith had four points. Owen Smith, Young and Florczak each had two points. Wiggins contributed eight rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Ten players dressed and 10 players scored as Ranburne improved to 6-0 in Area 10 with their 70-46 win at Ohatchee Monday. The Bulldogs led 23-7 after one quarter. Lovvorn scored 13 points and Mark David Smith scored nine. Wilson, Wiggins and Owen Smith had eight points apiece. Jay Smith scored seven, Young six, Florczak five, Sibley four and Jared Brown two. Young, Wiggins and Mark David pulled down eight rebounds apiece and Wiggins made three steals.