Red Bay's Roberts Notches 800th Career Victory


                                                           By KEITH LETBETTER
                                              Red Bay News (Special to the AHSAA)

    Red Bay High School girls coach Donnie Roberts notched the 800th win of his long prep basketball coaching career Jan. 25 as the Lady Tigers beat Colbert Heights 64-37. The Lady Tigers improved to 22-2 this season with the win.
    Roberts, who has compiled an 800-346 overall record in his 41-year coaching career, is now the state’s career wins leader for girls basketball and the first in state history to win 800 games.  He will be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in March as a member of the Class of 2014.

   “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about how fortunate my career has been at Red Bay and the 10 years Icoached at Tremont (Ms.). All I can do is thank the kids that played for me. They had a lot more to do with it than Idid.

   After earning a Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University, he returned to his alma mater, Tremont High School just across the state line from Red Bay and compiled a 142-127 record in the next 10 seasons. Roberts moved to Red Bay in 1983 and began working on the goal of making that first trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.
    “I came here and took over a team that was 9-11 the year before. We had a real good year that first year and we went 19-5,” Roberts said.

    Roberts, who owns a 658-219 girls coaching record at Red Bay, led the Lady Tigers to state championships in 1987, 1993, 2001 and most recently directed Red Bay to the 2012 Class 2A state finals, a 54-49 loss to Section. Last year Roberts’ team won the Northwest Regional again and lost in the Final 48 semifinals.
     “It takes a combination of things to have a state championship program. It does take coaching, but it also takes pride in our program from our girls.”

      Roberts said that it also takes the involvement of the community.

“Everybody here is involved in it,”said Roberts. They back us and support us. The community likes to see us do well.

      Roberts said that over the years some of the best memories he has is that of having the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Laura Beth and Leah.

“I think it’s rare to have coached two daughters and to have those two daughters on two different teams win state championships. I can tell you it’s a great experience.”


                                                                      Saturday night crowd at the Final 48 played at the BJCC Arena in Birningham. (Photo by Gary McGriff)

Mountain Brook Boys, Hoover Girls Capture 6A Titles;

Madison Co., Oneonta, Madison Academy, Lauderdale Co. Also Win


     Mountain Brook boys and Hoover girls took home the Class 6A crowns while the Madison County boys, Oneonta girls, Madison Academy boys and Lauderdale County girls earned state titles on the final day of the AHSAA Final 48 Basketball Championships Saturday at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham.


Mountain Brook 74, Sparkman 53
     Mountain Brook limited Sparkman to no field goals and just four points in the second quarter to build a 19-point lead by intermission, then fought off the Senators in the second half to claim a 74-53 win for the Spartans first state basketball championship in school history.
     Malek Grant scored 22 points and cleared 11 rebounds to grab MVP honors. He was 10-of-18 from the field and 2-of-3 at the foul line. Jeremy Berman chipped in 16 points, Malek’s younger brother Tawarren Grant and Reagan Alexander each added eight points for Coach Bucky McMillan’s team (31-6).
     Sparkman (29-8), coached by Jamie Coggins, was led by Lamonte Turner’s 13 points. Devin Hankins added 10, Jim Wall nine and Will Crowell eight.
     Mountain Brook shot 46.7 percent from the field and was 25-of-36 from the foul line. Sparkman, playing without point guard Rakiya Battle who was injured in the Senators’ semifinal win over defending state champion Carver-Montgomery, shot just 40.4 percent from the field and was only 9-of-21 on free throws.
     The 6A All-Tourney Team included:
     Malek Grant, Mountain Brook (MVP); Jeremy Berman, Mountain Brook; Tawarren Grant, Mountain Brook; Lamonte Turner, Sparkman; Will Crowell, Sparkman; Jeremy Johnson, Carver-Montgomery; John Arnold, Blount.

Hoover 66, Blount 55
     Senior center Marqu’es Webb poured in 29 points and cleared 21 rebounds to spark Hoover to a 66-55 win over Blount.
     Webb, who was playing in her sixth Final 48 game in three years, closed out her career with a state-tournament record 108 rebounds – an average of 18.0 per game. The 21 boards in the 2013 finals was the fourth Final 48 game with 20-plus rebounds.
     Webb, a Vanderbilt signee, was 10-of-12 from the field, 9-of-12 at the foul line and had one blocked shot to earn Class 6A Tourney MVP.
     Coach Tiffany Frederick, in her first year as head coach at Hoover (28-4), also got big offensive games from Breigha Wilder-Cochran and Kara Rawls, with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Hoover has now won four state titles with previous championships in 2001, 2010 and 2012.
     Blount (29-5), coached by Jarvis Wilson, got 19 points from Laporsche Grissett. Whytney Singleton and Cierra Johnson added 12 each. The Leopards, playing in their first final, return all but one player next season.
     The 6A All-Tourney Team included:
     Marqu’es Webb, Hoover (MVP); Breigha Wilder-Cochran, Hoover; Kara Rawls, Hoover; Cierra Johnson, Blount; Whytney Singleton, Blount; Laporsche Grissett, Blount; Shaquera Wade, Huntsville.

Madison County 28, J.O. Johnson 25
     Madison County overcame a 9-for-35 shooting performance to nip J.O. Johnson 28-25.
     The 28 points for a winning team was the lowest in the 20-year history of the Final 48 and the lowest in the state tournament overall since Hubbertville nipped Corner 18-17 in the B-Division finals in 1947. The tournament, in its 90th year overall, dates back to 1923.
     Tourney MVP Seab Webster, the son of head coach Bubba Webster, sank a lay-up with 1:25 remaining to put the Tigers (29-4) ahead for good 26-25. Brandon Gurley and Webster each added a free throw down the stretch for the final margin.
     Webster and Tyrell Clary each had nine points for Madison County. Webster had nine rebounds and two blocked shots while Monterio Burchfield grabbed eight rebounds.
     Coach Maurice Ford’s Jaguars (22-9) were led by Lionel Love’s seven points. Keon Ray also had six. Johnson was just 9-of-36 from the field.
     The 53 total points by both teams is the lowest boys’ total in the Final 48’s history.
     The championship was the second for Madison County, the first coming in 2007.
     The 4A All-Tourney Team included:
     Seab Webster, Madison County (MVP); Monterio Webster, Madison County; Tyrell Clary, Madison County; Keon Ray, J.O. Johnson; Lionel Love, J.O. Johnson; Travius Dunson, Handley; Fred Knight, Escambia County.


Oneonta 53, Clarke County 39
     Oneonta junior Destiney Elliott scored 30 points to lead the Redskins (32-4) to a 53-39 win over Clarke County (28-5).
     The championship is the first in school history for Coach Amber Deline’s girls and helped erase some of the pain from last year’s season – a 34-0 start that came to end in an overtime loss to Anniston in the Northeast Regional tournament.
     Elliott was 11-of-17 from the field, 6-of-8 at the foul line, made two 3-pointers, had four steals and six assists to earn MVP honors. Abby Blackwood had 11 points and Dimonique Sanders added seven. Oneonta out-rebounded Clarke County 32-19 to dominate the boards.
     Coach Tori Johnson’s Bulldogs were led by Rachel Brownlee’s 22 points. Shanda Pugh added six points.
     The 4A All-Tourney Team included:
     Destiney Elliott, Oneonta (MVP); Abby Blackwood, Oneonta; Baylee Gibbs, Oneonta; Rachel Brownlee, Clarke County; Jordan Hollins, Clarke County; Hannah Nichols, Madison County.


Madison Academy 54, Southside-Selma 47

     Madison Academy fought back from 17 points down in the third quarter to beat Southside-Selma 54-47.
     The Mustangs (24-12) trailed 33-16 with 3:44 left in the third quarter. Coach Andy Blackston’s team turned up the defensive tempo, however, and freshman Josh Langford began to find his range as the team closed the gap to 35-30 by outscoring the Panthers 14-2 the rest of the quarter.
     Alex Hairston’s lay-up and free throw gave Madison Academy the lead for good with 1:55 to play.
     Langford, named the tourney MVP, finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Mustangs. He also had six steals and two blocked shots. Nick Haas finished with seven points, Quan Cothron eight and Hairston seven.
     Sammarkus Jones had 17 points and Jeffery Mack 16 for Southside (24-10). Mack also had 14 rebounds for Coach Cedric Brown.
     The championship for Madison Academy was its first since winning three in a row from 2006-08. The Mustangs also won the 3A state football title in December and became the second school to claim basketball and football titles this school year. Tanner won the 2A football and basketball crowns, and Brantley won the 1A football title but lost 57-56 in its bid to win the basketball championship Friday.
     The 3A All-Tourney Team included:
     Josh Langford, Madison Academy (MVP); Nick Haas, Madison Academy; Jeffery Mack, Southside-Selma; Sammarkus Jones, Southside-Selma; Donald King, Greensboro; Gunter Morris, Holly Pond.


Lauderdale County 59, Holly Pond 41
     Lauderdale County won its 10th girls state championship Saturday morning beating Holly Pond 59-41.
     The Tigers’ 10th title, the first five under Coach Larry Sinyard and the last five under current Coach Brant Llewellyn, also ties the school with R.C. Hatch of Uniontown, which holds the boys’ state record with 10. It was the Tigers’ second in a row.
     Lauderdale County (33-5) hit the first three treys attempted, two by Ivy Wallen and one by Tourney MVP Chatara Cox, to build an 11-2 lead. It stretched to 15-2 before the Broncos of Coach Scott Adams finally found their offensive rhythm.
     The lead stretched to 15 by halftime and the Tigers held a comfortable margin the rest of the way.
     Cox finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Ivy Wallen had a game-high 19 points, three steals and four assists. Karlee Brown also had 13 points for Lauderdale County.
     Holly Pond (29-6), playing in the school’s first state final in any sport, was led by Taylor Terry’s 15 points and 10 by Rachel Finley. Finley also had six rebounds and Terry had four steals.
     The 3A All-Tourney Team included:
     Chatara Cox, Lauderdale County (MVP); Ivy Wallen, Lauderdale County; Meg Gambrill, Holly Pond; Taylor Terry, Holly Pond; Gabby Nicholson, Midfield; Brittany Driver, Straughn.