ARAB - Fans of Arab and Brewer were glad November 7 had arrived.
That signified the beginning of the 2017-18 basketball season in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).
A large crowd gathered Tuesday evening inside Arab High School's gymnasium to seet these two rivals get after it.
That was the story, well in hand.
It turned out to be a split in the varsity encounters, with Brewer rolling in the second half for a 75-50 victory in the girls game.
Arab turned the tables on the Patriots in the varsity match, overcoming a slow start by coming from behind for a 60-54 triumph.
Several story lines factored in for the girls contest. Arab is coached by Jessica Thompson, a Brewer graduate. She guided the Lady Knights to the Class 5A Final Four last season in her second year.
Brewer is deep in talent, just looking to stay healthy. Current Lady Patriot Shyan Flack, formerly of Arab two years ago, is continuing to recover from a knee injury in January that ended her season way too early.
McCarley Northway is a steady performer and was on opening night with 11 points. Leisha Steger produced 15 while Flack added 14.
Brewer had a 20-4 lead early in the first period when Arab started to find the range. Scoring three FGs in the closing moments of the first had them down 20-13. Then the Lady Knights stayed hot and worked their way back to contention, cutting the margin to 29-26 at halftime.
The game did not remain close thanks to Brewer's balanced attack. A 46-point second half, scoring 22 in the third and 24 in the fourth, enabled the Lady Patriots to take it going away.
A concern for the Lady Patriots was PG Jace Andrews who fell on the floor in driving to the basket early in the final quarter. She left the game with a cut on her chin. Medical trainers taped the chin to prevent further bleeding. Brewer was able to extend the lead even with its lead point guard unable to return.
Arab got 25 points from Jasmine Davis who ripped five treys in the game, scoring on a three-point shot and hitting a free throw for a four-point play late in the second that made it 22-21 Brewer.
Senior Lauren Watson added 11 to the Lady Knights' total.
Seven points through the first 8:00 was all Arab had to show on the scoreboard. The Knights were down 15-7 with Brewer mixing up its scoring, getting shots around the basket and from the perimeter.
Then the game changed to Arab's side. A 21-8 run sent them to a 28-23 lead at the break.
Arab clinged to a 42-38 advantage at the end of the third and started to create breathing room by converting opportunities while Brewer was not executing the game plan to a full frame.
Arab went up 56-44 late in the contest, but struggled to put it away, missing a series of free throws. Brewer scored some points, used time outs, but was not to manufacture a fourth quarter comeback.
The Patriots got a field goal with 0:03 left, called time out. Arab threw a deep pass downcourt that allowed them to run out the clock and go from behind to on top at games' end.
Colby King was the leader in the attack, scoring 11 with Sam Graves hitting nine and Kent Tyler scoring eight.
Tyler Peck's 14 points and Levi Kelley's 10 were tops for Brewer.
Brewer has its home opener Thursday vs. Boaz while Arab is back on the home floor next Monday against Holly Pond.
Photo 1: Arab's Jasmine Davis (23) passes the ball to teammate Elizabeth Brodhage.
Photo 2: Arab trying to move the ball in frontcourt against Brewer's defense.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton