Prep basketball: English, McKinney pace Weaver win
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Dec 06, 2013 | 2556 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shonde McKinney had 22 points and 14 rebounds for Weaver. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Shonde McKinney had 22 points and 14 rebounds for Weaver. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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WEAVER – Weaver was more than a two-man show Friday night, but Chris English and Shonde McKinney played the biggest part in the Bearcats’ win over rival White Plains.

Weaver’s 69-51 win in the Class 3A, Region 11 opener was closer than the score indicated, but the Bearcats held off White Plains’ comeback throughout the third and fourth quarters.

English led all scorers with 28 points and McKinney added 22 points and 14 rebounds, including 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.

“You’ve got to take what you can get in this area,” Weaver coach Darryl Hamby said. “Saks is still tough, and so is Piedmont. Whatever you can get, you take.”

Weaver never trailed in the game, taking an early 9-0 advantage before White Plains overcame a 16-7 deficit at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats trailed only 27-22 at halftime, mostly behind the shooting of Hunter Wheeler, who scored a team-high 17 points and added seven rebounds.

“I think we settled for too many jump shots in the first quarter and it took us a while to adjust to their speed,” White Plains coach Chris Randall said. “In the second quarter, we were able to get to the basket and made free throws when we got fouled. That changed the tempo a little bit.”

The Wildcats (4-3) cut the Weaver lead to 31-28 early in the third quarter, but the Bearcats (3-2) responded with an 11-1 run that ultimately put the game out of reach. Weaver lead 49-39 heading into the fourth and White Plains never cut the deficit to less than eight points.

“We weren’t settling for 3s and we were driving to the hole,” Hamby said. “We have several good handlers that have good eyesight and were driving to the hole. I think that was the difference.

“They’re banged up right now. We’re lucky we got them when they’re banged up.”

White Plains is currently without forwards Johnny Bynum (surgery for torn knee ligament) and Nathan Gilbert (broken bone in foot), causing the Wildcats to be undersized on the floor Friday night nearly the entire game.

“Injuries are part of it, you just deal with it. There are no excuses and you have to move on,” he said. “Guys that are playing for us are going to have to step up and play better. They’re young, but they’re getting better and gaining experience. But it’ll help when we get Nathan and Johnny back.”

Timothy Hawkins scored seven points and Elliot Moore added six for Weaver. White Plains’ Dillon Greenwood had nine points and five rebounds.

White Plains girls 52, Weaver 24: White Plains established an early 14-0 lead that Wildcats coach Michael Merriman said got his team in a rhythm.

Sophia Taylor led White Plains with 11 points, which were all in the first half, and the Wildcats (6-1) took a 32-10 lead into halftime of the Class 3A, Area 11 opener.

Weaver put together a string of baskets at the beginning of the third quarter, including two by Indeya Thompson, who finished with a team-high 10 points. However, White Plains would hold Weaver (1-2) off the board for the rest of the quarter and cruise through the fourth.

Shelby Wood had eight points, seven steals, seven rebounds and five assists for White Plains. Taylor Snellgrove and Carley Woods added seven points each. Weaver’s Keara Scott had eight points.

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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