A-J compiles 5-0 record on way to tourney title

Anna-Jonesboro avenged an earlier loss to Herrin with a 56-48 win in the championship of the West Frankfort Mid-Winter Classic high school boys’ basketball tournament Saturday, Jan. 23.

With the victory, A-J won the West Frankfort tournament title for the first time. 

“We didn’t finish out like we should have the last time we played them,” A-J head coach Rob Wright said. “We played well, especially in that game.”

The Wildcats had lost earlier this season to Herrin in the third-place game at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament.

A-J finished the West Frankfort tournament with a 5-0 record.

Prior to this year, the Wildcats’ best record at the Mid-Winter Classic was 3-2.

A-J’s J.R. Woodward was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“He played real well this week,” Wright said. “We had him guard the other team’s best player.”

Woodward’s teammate, Brady Wright, was also selected to the all-tournament team.

“He (Wright) had a real nice tournament,” Wright said. “He played well.”

The Wildcats trailed until the final quarter in a come-from-behind win over the Tigers.

Herrin led 20-12 after one quarter and 34-27 at the half. The Tigers held a 42-40 lead going into the final quarter.

With A-J’s Jacob Brimm opening the final period with a 3-pointer, the Wildcats outscored the Tigers 16-6 in the last stanza.

Wright led the way with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Woodward had 12 points and 2 rebounds.

Jordan Adams had 9 points and 3 rebounds. Cody Livesay had 7 points. Brimm had 6 points and 3 rebounds. Gabe Pecord had 4 points and Travis Smith 3.

The Wildcats were 16 of 28 in shot attempts from the floor, 4 of 11 from 3-point range and 12 of 18 from the free throw line.

The Tigers were 18 of 33 in shot attempts from the field, 1 of 9 from 3-point range and 9 of 13 from the charity stripe.

In other tournament action:

A-J 46, Johnston City 35: Woodward scored 14 points and pulled down 4 rebounds to lead A-J to the win earlier on Saturday.

Wright added 9 points and 3 rebounds. Tylor Duckworth had 6 points and 3 rebounds. Adams had 6 points, Travis Smith 5 and Brimm and Livesay 3 apiece.

The Wildcats were 11 of 24 in shot attempts from the field, 5 of 20 from 3-point range and 9 of 15 from the free throw line.

The Indians were 10 of 24 in shot attempts from the field, 2 of 6 from 3-point range and 9 of 14 from the free throw line.

A-J led 19-6 after one quarter and 27-13 at the half. The Wildcats led 34-27 at the end of three quarters.

A-J 62, West Frankfort 41: The Wildcats built an early lead on their way to the win Friday, Jan. 22.

The Wildcats led 15-7 after one quarter and 28-21 at the half. A-J was on top 49-30 going into the final period.

Woodward had 17 points and 8 rebounds to lead A-J.

During that game, Woodward scored the 1,000th point of his high school career.

“It’s a credit to him, he’s a good ball player,” Wright said. “He’s playing well for us.”

Wright had 14 points and a rebound. Adams added 10 points and 5 rebounds. Pecord had 10 points and a rebound. Livesay had 6 points, Smith 3 and Webb 2.

The Wildcats were 22 of 37 in shot attempts from the floor, 4 of 11 from 3-point range and 6 of 7 from the free throw line.

The Redbirds were 10 of 21 in shot attempts from the floor, 6 of 11 from 3-point range and 2 of 5 from the charity stripe.

A-J 57, Eldorado 45: Woodward had 14 points and 6 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to the win Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Brimm added 10 points. Adams had 9 points and 4 rebounds. Wright had 7 points and 3 rebounds. Duckworth had 5 points and 4 rebounds. Pecord had 5 points and 3 rebounds. Livesay had 4 points and Smith 3.

The Wildcats led 22-12 after one quarter and 30-23 at the half. A-J was ahead 44-30 after three periods.

The Wildcats were 15 of 30 in shot attempts from the floor, 2 of 9 from 3-point range and 9 of 14 from the charity stripe.

“We had different people come in to lead us in every game,” Wright said. “All our guys contributed.”

A-J, which improved to 13-9 overall, is scheduled to play Friday at Pinckneyville.


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