A slow start was too much to overcome for the Gardendale boys basketball team (14-9, 3-1) on Thursday night.

The Rockets, in a 63-54 home loss to the Clay-Chalkville Cougars, opened up the first quarter on the wrong end of a 9-0 run. Kameron Burkett scored Gardendale’s first points from the free-throw line and Clayton Cunningham sank the team’s first field goal on a backdoor cut, kissing it high off the glass to cut the deficit to 11-4 with 3:22 remaining in the first.

After trailing 30-28 at the break, Clay-Chalkville (11-11) found some offense after a visit to the locker room. The Cougars scored 35 second-half points to pull away and score a non-area road win.

The visitors went 10 for 15 at the free-throw line through the final eight minutes to secure victory.

Gardendale did however have moments. The Rockets took their first lead at 12-11 late in the first frame when Jalon Moore got out in transition for a contested lay-in. Moore finished with a game-high 22 points.

Burkett was the only other Rocket to score in double figures with 13.

Senior forward Alex Gilleylen stepped outside for a triple that evened things up at 26-all late in the first half, and Moore answered another Clay-Chalkville bucket with a baseline pull-up and two free throws that sent Gardendale to the half with a 30-28 advantage.

For the Cougars, Jaden Johnson scored 20 points to go with 16 from Donovan Shangase and 11 from Isiah Daniel.

Gardendale returned to play on Friday night with a Class 6A, Area 11 win over Minor, 67-56. Moore led again with 23 points while Burkett and Cunningham added 11 points apiece on Friday. 

The Gardendale girls basketball team (0-13, 0-4) remained winless with a 62-49 home loss to Clay-Chalkville (14-7) on Thursday. Gardendale trailed throughout, falling back 18-9 after one complete, 40-18 at the half and 57-36 going into the fourth quarter.

The girls did find success from beyond the arc, as freshman guard Hannah O’Laire sank four 3-pointers to go with three more from senior Preslie Ross. O’Laire went for a team-high 14 points, Sarah Beth Brake added 12 more to the tally and Ross rattled home nine in the loss.

Gardendale fell short in area play on Friday night, as Minor escaped GHS with a 66-51 victory. 

Tyler Andrews poured in 27 points on Thursday to lead the Tabernacle Christian boys basketball team (19-1, 7-0) to a dominant 86-40 victory over Cahawba Christian. The Torches throttled back in the final frame after posting up a total of 82 points through the first three quarters of play. 

Every player on the Torches’ roster scored. Drew Peters finished with 13 points and Trae Andrews added 11 more for the home team. 

The Mortimer Jordan girls basketball team (16-8, 7-0) also won in runaway fashion on Friday night. The Blue Devils stayed perfect in Class 5A, Area 11 play with a 60-34 win at Hayden. Point guard Bellah Machen worked her way to 14 points, Jasmyn Allen connected on four triples for 12 points, Sarah Kanaday and MacKynzie Watson both finished with nine.  

The Mortimer Jordan boys basketball team (10-13, 5-2) pulled away for a 73-57 Class 5A, Area 11 win at Hayden on Friday night, as Nolan Dean buried a career-high 29 points. Frank Varnon provided a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. 

The top-ranked Pinson Valley boys basketball team (19-3, 2-0) knocked off Center Point 85-76 on Friday night. Kam Woods generated another big performance with 45 points and six rebounds to go with a double-double (13 points, 10 boards) from Camron Scott. 

Erik Harris is the sports editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at sports@njeffersonnews.com

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