Phoenix sit in middle of 7-4A standings
The battle for the two top spots in Region 7-4A and those coveted first-round byes at the almost-here postseason basketball tournament is ongoing.
And the Sonoraville hoopsters are right in the middle of it.
The Phoenix had a fourgame 7-4A winning streak snapped last Friday night with a tough 45-42 setback to a 19-win Central team, but they still started this week in third place in the league at 4-3 overall.
Central, with that triumph, went to the front of the 7-4A line at 6-1 to commence this week and the Lions own a one-game lead over Southeast Whitfield, which is 5-2 and suffered that second loss last Tuesday to Sonoraville with a 7256 setback to the Phoenix.
Northwest Whitfield County and Heritage, which the Big Red plays in that order in their final two games of the regular season starting this Friday night, are both right behind them at 3-4 and head coach Brent Mashburn’s team can keep it that way by taking care of business over the next week.
The Phoenix host NW this Friday night at The Furnace and are back on the road in their last scheduled game next Tuesday with a trip to Ringgold to play Heritage. Sonoraville did beat both teams the first time they played them.
The ending of their win streak Friday night meant they split a pair of league games last week, starting
on Tuesday when they started the second phase of the Region schedule with a 7254 victory over Southeast Whitfield. But on Friday, the shots weren’t falling and they fell to Central, which is now an excellent 19-3 on the year.
The game against Southeast was close for a half, but the Phoenix put 47 points on the scoreboard in the second half to make the final minutes garbage time.
Hitting a trio of shots from long range, the Raiders
squeezed out a 16-15 lead after the first quarter.
Junior guard Donovan McDaniel and senior forward Ethan Hibberts had six points each for Sonoraville with McDaniel making three shots and Hibberts making two shots and two free throws. Sophomore guard Elijah Woods hit a three for the rest of their points in the first.
Shooting guard Jordyn Storey had six of the Big Red’s 10 second quarter points on a pair of 3-point
shots, but Southeast also had 10 in the quarter to hold a 26-25 lead at halftime.
From there, though, the Phoenix would outscore SE 47-26 to win convincingly.
McDaniel had seven points and Storey dropped in two more 3-pointers in third third quarter, helping Sonoraville outscore the Raiders, 21-10 for a 46-36 margin as the third period closed.
In a fast-paced fourth quarter, the Phoenix were red-hot, scoring 26 points to build on their lead despite SE scoring 20 themselves.
Woods had 10 of those with McDaniel and Storey adding seven points each, giving those three players 24 points in the quarter.
McDaniel led a very
balanced attack for the winners with 20 points and Storey was close by with 19 more. Woods had 14 and Hibberts tallied 11 in the victory.
In the loss Friday night, the Phoenix rallied in the fourth quarter from an 11-point deficit, but couldn’t quite overcome Central, which maintained its first place status with the win.
The teams were tied at the end of the first quarter but Central started making some shots in the second and outscored Sonoraville, 168, to lead by a 25-17 count at halftime.
Woods had five of those eight points on a bucket and three free throws and Storey contributed his first
3-point shot of the night for the rest.
The visitors edged the Phoenix, 9-6, in the third to take a 34-23 advantage into the fourth. The Phoenix would score 19 points in the final eight minutes, but Central managed to hold on.
Fifteen of those 19 came on the five three’s in the frame with Storey and Bryant making two each and McDaniel hitting another one.
Storey would have eight in the quarter with he and Woods leading the team for the game with 11 points each.
Sonoraville still has the second best overall record in the Region at 15-7 overall to begin this week.