McKinney scores 50 to down CVA

As time expired in the first quarter Thursday, it was clear Cornerstone’s JV McKinney was in for a special night. McKinney launched a shot from about six feet inside of half court as the buzzer sounded, stretching the Cornerstone Christian’s lead to 20-14 against Coosa Valley en route to an 80-61 victory. The basket gave the junior guard 14 points after one quarter. He finished with a new school record 50.

“He’s tough,” Cornerstone head coach Tim Bullard said. “He just steps up when he needs to. In big games he’s going to come and do what he needs to.”

Coosa Valley entered the game looking to one thing – shut down McKinney. The man-to-man offense struggled to work.

“Of course, we kind of focused our game on one man, and he’s a handful anyway,” CVA head coach Mike Clinkscales said.

McKinney went into halftime with 24 points and hit seven 3-point baskets in the game.

His biggest quarter was the fourth, scoring 16 points to pull away from the Rebels late. The points and momentum shift came largely because of the Chargers’ defense, just don’t ask which one they were running.

“We just went after the ball, whoever had it,” McKinney said.

The crash-to-the-ball defense could reasonably be called “33” for the jersey number of senior Pokey Reece, who McKinney calls a “monster on defense.”

“Pokey’s what gets most of JV’s offense started,” Bullard said. “Pokey pokes it out and Kendall (Moore) will run it down and give it to JV … He’ll dive into knees, elbows, bleachers, walls, he don’t care.”

Moore and Stephen Bulger each scored 14 points, while Trey Benson had the other two. J.B. Ripley led CVA with 26, followed by 17 from Chris Holcombe and eight from Brandon Batchelor.

CVA will host South Montgomery on Friday and travel to Kingwood on Monday. Cornerstone (13-0) hosts Ashford on Friday and travels to Chambers Academy on Monday before going to Shelby Academy on Tuesday.

But even thought the fifth-ranked Chargers are undefeated, Bullard knows deciding home court for the area tournament is still a ways away.

“We just have to stay consistent. JV’s giving us his points every night and Kendall’s going to give us his,” Bullard said.

McKinney said as he works toward leading his team to an area championship, he wants to break the scoring record again. After breaking it three times this season, his new goal is lofty.

“I want to hit Kobe’s 81,” McKinney said. “But I’ll take a win over everything.”

The Chargers will be at home Jan. 22 against Chambers on the three-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game for the Los Angeles Lakers against Toronto.