Furlow, Grimes lead Ellwood past Autaugaville

Published 10:54 pm Monday, January 5, 2015

Ellwood Christian’s Jalen Furlow, who was in foul trouble most of the evening, is fouled on a layup during the closing minutes of Monday’s game against Autaugaville. Furlow scored 14 points in the game. --Daniel Evans

Ellwood Christian’s Jalen Furlow, who was in foul trouble most of the evening, is fouled on a layup during the closing minutes of Monday’s game against Autaugaville. Furlow scored 14 points in the game. –Daniel Evans

Jalen Furlow and C.J. Grimes knocked in six free throws in the final minutes as Ellwood Christian survived a back-and-forth battle with Autaugaville Monday 71-67.

After being in foul trouble most of the evening, Furlow scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. He made a three-pointer with 3:36 left, got a breakaway dunk off a steal, and delivered a beautiful behind the back pass to Brandon Crum to help the Eagles (5-9) create a cushion in a game that was close the entire way.

“I’m just very proud of my guys for not giving up,” Ellwood coach Darrell Walker said. “We went down four or five at the beginning, but they kept fighting and kept going hard. My hats off to my guys.”

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The largest lead of the game was seven points, but that didn’t happen until less than 30 seconds remained on the clock.

For most of the night, the difference in the game was only a single basket.

With Furlow on the bench for a large chunk of the game, C.J. Grimes carried most of the Eagles’ scoring burden. He had 24 points, including eight each in the second and third quarter. Other guys stepped up too.

Marqueith Gullett knocked in a big third-quarter three-pointer and Rayford Mitchell scored eight points despite not being able to find the range on his three-point shot.

“Our motto is ‘Next man up,’” Walker said. “No matter what happens, ‘Next man up.’”

The game was tied 49-49 after a three-point play by Crum on the first possession of the fourth quarter.

After a jumper by John Clay and a bank shot off the glass by Stefan Palmer, Autaugaville had a 53-49 lead. Walker called timeout in an effort to get his guys back on the same page.

Whatever he said did the trick.

Crum scored the next four points to tie it and Mitchell’s layup off of an Ellwood steal gave the Eagles a 55-53 lead with 4:08 left.

Furlow scored Ellwood’s next seven points before fouling out with 58.8 seconds left.

Up until that point, Ellwood had put the ball in his hands on every possession, isolating him and giving him space to make a play. After he exited, they turned to Grimes, who had already delivered with big shot after big shot most of the night.

From that point, the game basically turned into a free throw shooting contest. The Eagles more than passed the test in that department.

“That’s what we’ve been doing during the two weeks we’ve been out [of school] — free throws, free throws, free throws,” Walker said. “Like I told them, in January and February it goes down to free throws.”

The win comes on the eve of Ellwood’s biggest game of the year to date, as county rival Keith travels to Ellwood Tuesday. A win by the Eagles would put them right back into the class 1A, area 5 race. Keith currently leads the area with a 3-0 record, while Ellwood is 0-1 with five area games left to play.

“That’s a monumental game,” Walker said. “We could go 1-1 in the area. This will be our second area game, so we are trying to go 1-1 in the area.”


Autaugaville 58, Ellwood Christian 10 (Girls)

The Ellwood Christian Lady Eagles’ offense was stuck in neutral most of the night Monday in a 58-10 loss to Autaugaville.

Autaugaville led 32-7 at the half, holding the Eagles to just two first half field goals. Things didn’t improve much in the second half either, as Ellwood made just one basket in the third quarter. In the fourth period the clock ran continuously and neither team scored.

“After a night like this, I tell them, ‘You just have to hold your heads high,” Ellwood coach James Murphy said. “Just like a kid, you’ve got to crawl before you walk.”

With a roster full of inexperienced players, Murphy knows this season is about developing the Lady Eagles. There weren’t many bright spots Monday against Autaugaville, who took advantage of a myriad of turnovers from Ellwood, but Murphy sees the growth his team has shown this year.

“If we can do one thing better this game than we did last game, it’s progress,” Murphy said.

The Eagles will continue their hunt for their first win Monday night against area-leading Keith Tuesday. The Lady Bears won the first game between the county rivals 98-5 earlier this year.

Makayla Berry led the Lady Eagles with six points in the game. She made two three-pointers.