The Florence Middle School (Madison AL) eighth-grade boys team, led by Coach Craig Nelson, found themselves matched up against Liberty Middle School in their second contest of the year. After a disappointing loss to South Lawrence (TN) which he saw his team struggle from the free-throw line and turn the ball over way too many times, Coach Nelson was ready to get his team back in between the lines.
Florence started off a little sluggish against Liberty, as they missed open jumpers and easy lay-ups, but they stayed on course in the early part of the game with great team defense. Depending on how long you have been around the game, you have seen teams struggle offensively but stayed in the game until the offense got clicking. Well, for Florence, the offense didn’t get clicking until the 2nd half.
If you were at the game, it was like a tale of two halves as Florence got it going in the 2nd half. Jayshod, DJ, and Javien came alive and pushed Florence to a 41-15 victory. Here’s what each brought to the game.
Jayshod Pearson (5’6 / Point Guard/ 2026)
Jayshod is a score-first PG that finds a balance between scoring and facilitating. He has a high IQ for his age and makes good decisions when the ball is in his hands. He is a tough, hard-nosed player on the defensive end of the court.
Against Liberty, Jayshod finished with 19-pts, 7-assist, and 7-steals.
DJ Beckwith (5’8 / Shooting Guard / 2026)
DJ is a crafty and smooth wing player. He has a sneaky athleticism about his game. He knows how to score the rock as he can knock down the perimeter shot as well as get to the rim. He is active on the defensive end of the court and creates turnovers that turn into offense. Against Liberty, DJ finished with 10-pts, 5-reb, 4-assist.
Javien Lewis (6’1 / Forward / 2026)
Javien is 6’1 and one of Florence’s most versatile players. He has good size for his age and has a skill set to accompany it. He is a point-forward that initiates the offense and can score inside and outside. He is a mismatch nightmare for teams trying to find ways to stop his impact on the game. He is strong on the boards, and whether on the perimeter or the post, Florence’s offense has a greater potential of production when the ball touches his hands.
Against Liberty, Javien finished with 7-pts, 8-reb.
In his second season as head coach, Coach Nelson believes that his team has a very good opportunity to reach their goals if, night in and night out, they can take care of the ball, make free throws, and convert at the rim.