MONTGOMERY – Wenonah High School’s Lady Dragons (15-6) beat Pleasant Grove 67-50 on the road Tuesday night to present head coach Emanuel Bell the 500th win of his storied girls’ basketball coaching career. The milestone victory for one of girls’ basketball’s biggest ambassadors captured the AHSAA Basketball Spotlight for this week.
Markesha Body, who scored 21 points in the win, summed up what her teammates were feeling about their beloved coach following the victory. “He’s an encourager. When he’s around, we go harder,” she told Josh Bean of Al.com. “He’s legendary. He’s an amazing coach.”
Senior guard Faith Reynolds added, "He's been through a lot. We dedicate everything to him."
Bell’s overall coaching record improved to 500-184 with the win. Now in his 24th season, Bell has guided the Lady Dragons to five state championships including the last four Class 5A state titles in a row.
Bell, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2016, said he has nothing but love in his heart for the many players who have played in his program for the last quarter century. He said their encouragement has helped sustain him during his battle with the disease.
“The girls and my assistant coaches have been amazing,” he said. “They work just as hard and do what I need them to do even when I am not there. But more important, I can really feel their love and concern. They really have kept me going when things got tough.”
The Wenonah coach missed more than two months of work earlier this school year and is still undergoing chemotherapy. He said the good news is that the cancer is not growing and has gotten smaller. “God has been so good to me,” he said. “When I was growing up my dad was involved with kids by coaching youth teams and working with Cub Scouts. I told myself I wasn’t going to do that. I didn’t really understand back then.
“However, my life was in a downward spiral when God introduced me to coaching girls’ basketball. It turned my life around. Coaching girls all these years has made a lot of difference in the lives of so many. Some call me their second daddy. But what they don’t realize is that they have made an even bigger difference in my life.”
The school plans to celebrate the milestone win at Friday night’s home game with a ceremony between the girls’ and boys’ games versus Woodlawn. The ceremony will get underway at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Other highlights reported include:
INDIA BROWN, COOSA CHRISTIAN: In a game played in late December, Brown pulled down a school-record 31 rebounds to help the Lady Conquerors beat Cleveland 62-46. She had 17 offensive and 14 defensive rebounds to write her name in the AHSAA Record Book. The 31 boards ties for third best in a single game. Maida Harris of Childersburg set the record with 38 in a game versus B.B. Comer in 2000. Toyonda Peoples of Satsuma and Shamika Culpepper of Sylacauga cleared 32 in 2004 and 1995, respectively. Miracle Mayo of Lanett, Marqu’es Webb of Brewbaker Tech and Kristy Moore of Leeds also had 31 rebounds in a game in 20014, 2011 and 1996, respectively.
OLIVIA JONES, BRANTLEY: Nailed a game-winning shot from mid-court at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 37-34 win over Luverne. She finished with 12 points, all coming on 3-point goals. Kassidy Wilcox led Brantley with 14 points, sparked by four 3-pointers.
DALLAS HOWELL, ENTERPRISE: Scored a career-high 34 points, including a putback in the final 10 seconds, to power the Wildcats (13-5) past Headland 56-53. Howell, who also had seven rebounds in the game, scored 14 of Enterprise’s 16 points in the final quarter. He also had 21 points and 13 rebounds in a 60-45 win over Prattville.
CAM’RON GINN-McKINNEY, REHOBETH: Fired a 3-pointer from the corner with five seconds left in overtime to lift Rehobeth (12-7) over Headland 82-81. He finished with 18 points.
HENRY MITCHELL, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Sank two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining in the second overtime to lift the Raiders (16-1) to a 63-61 win over Daleville. Teammate Ben Nelson made a steal at midcourt and passed the ball ahead to Mitchell, who was fouled driving to the basket to set up the winning free throws. Houston Academy led 36-27 at halftime. The score was tied 56-56 at the end of regulation and 61-61 after the first overtime.
TOMMY MURR, LINDSAY LANE: Sank two free throws with one second remaining to lead the Lions (19-1) past Waterloo 59-57. He finished with 41 points and four steals. Murr also had 34 points and six steals in Lindsay Lane’s 67-38 victory over Whitesburg Christian and 30 points in a 72-59 loss to Decatur Heritage.
JACOREY JACOBS, ST. LUKE’S EPISCOPAL: Sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Class 2A Wildcats (11-5) downed Class 5A Vigor 56-53. He finished with 11 points.
JABRE BARBER, NORTHVIEW: Sank two free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining to lift the Cougars (7-8) past arch-rival Dothan (7-9). He finished with a game-high 21 points including 13 free throws.
DELO FOSTER, PIEDMONT: Had 16 blocked shots, including 10 in the first quarter, to lead the Bulldogs to a 60-57 win over Weaver. He scored only three points, but his defensive effort tied for third in the AHSAA Record Book for most blocked shots in a game. He now has 70 blocked shots on the season.
TRAVARUS CARROLL, HUFFMAN: Scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to lead the Vikings (19-1) to a come-from-behind 68-67 win over Mountain Brook (19-5) – and kept his team unbeaten versus AHSAA schools this season in the process. He finished with 12 points. Teammate Eddie Smith had 24 and Trendon Watford had 24 for the Spartans.
J.P. ROBINSON, DESHLER: Had a career-high 46 points as Deshler held off Central-Florence 84-80 in a Class 4A, Area 16 game. Robinson scored 20 of Deshler’s 21 points in the fourth quarter to cap the Tigers’ comeback from an early 11-point deficit.
MARK SEARS, MUSCLE SHOALS: Sears averaged 34 points in two games as the Trojans beat Loretto (TN) and Athens. He had 37 points in a 74-59 win over Loretto.
SJRDAN PETROVIC, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Had 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to pace the Class 3A Raiders (15-1) to a 75-41 win over Wicksburg.
DEMETRIUS HUFF, GADSDEN CITY: Had 17 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, as the Titans beat Talladega 66-65. Huff’s bucket in the waning moments put Gadsden City ahead for good. The Titans trailed by as many as eight points in the final quarter. Talladega made 11 3-point goals in the loss. Chaztin Tanner had four of the Tigers’ treys to finish with 14 points.
NOAH BOLER, DECATUR HERITAGE: Had 26 points, 16 rebounds, five blocked shots and four assists as the Eagles (15-3) beat Lindsay Lane (19-2) in a key Class 1A battle 72-59.
ANDREW WHEELER, ARITON: Scored 22 points and cleared 14 rebounds as Ariton (8-6) downed Rehobeth 79-53.
VINCENT DOUGLAS, BAKER: Was 13-of-16 at the foul line to finish with 23 points to push the Hornets (12-9) past Theodore 46-32.
MATTHEW McNEECE, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Jackets (14-5) to a 68-63 win over Ocean Springs (MS). Teammate Eric Toth also had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
BRAXTON & BROOKS BARNHIZER, ALMA BRYANT: The brothers combined for 45 points as the Hurricanes (16-3) beat Davidson 72-41. Braxton, a sophomore, had 24 points, and Brooks, a freshman, had 21. Braxton and Brooks also had 28 and 24 points, respectively, in a 74-59 win over B.C. Rain.
JEFFREY GRIFFIN, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Had 24 points, including a game-winning free throw with 19 seconds remaining, in the Leopards’ 47-46 win over Clarke County.
MARTAVIUS PAYTON, GEORGIANA: Had 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Class 1A Panthers (16-1) beat Red Level 88-39.
DARRON HOWARD, SPARKMAN: Led the Senators (20-3) to a 66-65 win over James Clemens with 22 points.
GRAHAM COPELAND, RANDOLPH: Had 28 points as the Raiders beat Madison County 70-66.
TREY BONHAM, UMS-WRIGHT: Totaled 18 points, 10 assists and six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs (15-5) past Williamson 74-58.
DIAMOND ACREES, COTTONWOOD: Scored 16 points and had six rebounds as the Lady Bears (8-7), two years removed from a 103-game losing streak, knocked off defending Class 2A state champion Geneva County 44-42.
LATASCYA DUFF, SAMSON: Scored 31 points and her sister LaTora Duff had 16 as Samson (18-2) had 25 steals and forced 34 turnovers to beat defending arch-rival Geneva County (11-6) 62-33. LaTascya also had 17 rebounds. Michelle Duff, the youngest sister, also had 11 points. Karoline Striplin led the Bulldogs with 14 points.
ALLI TEMPLE, HALEYVILLE: Temple scored a career-high 45 points as Haleyville beat Fayette County 82-31. Temple was 21-of-26 from the field in the win.
LEXIE GANN, COVENANT CHRISTIAN: Gann scored 35 points in a win over Waterloo.
RIVER BALDWIN, PLEASANT HOME: The 6-foot-5 center had 37 points, 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and five steals to lead the Eagles (16-4) to a 49-29 win over Houston County. She also had 33 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots in a 60-13 win over Kinston.
KAITLIN PETERSON, EUFAULA: Scored 33 points, had five steals, five assists and four rebounds in leading the Tigers (14-4) to a 77-48 win over Russell County.
BREE GRIFFIN, GOSHEN: Had 33 points to lead the Eagles past Bullock County 57-44.
DESTINY RAMOS, FAITH ACADEMY: Led the Lady Rams (12-6) to a 54-51 win over Murphy with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Ashanti Lipscomb nailed 6-of-8 free throws in the final quarter to finish with 12 points. Ramos also had 20 points in a 76-31 win over St. Paul’s Episcopal (15-4).
IVY TURNER, DOTHAN: Tallied 33 points as the Tigers (13-5) nipped Northview (10-5) in a key Class 6A, Area 3 game. She sank two key free throws with 25 seconds remaining to tie the game and teammate Kyra McGlon, who had 17 points, sealed the win with two more charity shots.
ALYSE MADDEN, LANETT: Scored 11 of her team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Lady Panthers (5-3) outscored LaFayette 25-9 in the final eight minutes to win 58-53. Lanett trailed by as many as 11 points in the final period. Madden sank two crucial 3-pointers down the stretch to ignite the comeback effort. She also had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 62-52 win over Russell County.
DESTINEE McGHEE, JAMES CLEMENS: Had 29 points in a 58-54 overtime loss to Sparkman. T.J. Webster had 15 to pace the Senators.
ALEXIS LEGGETT, ARITON: Totaled 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots as the Purple Cats (7-1) downed Rehobeth 54-40. Teammate Zakyria Johnson also contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds.
KATHLEEN WHEELER, PRICEVILLE: Had 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 56-41 win over Danville and another double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) in a 59-30 win over West Limestone.
WHITNEY NOVAK, ST. LUKE’S EPISCOPAL: Scored 17 points and had 10 steals as the Wildcats forced 48 turnovers in a 56-16 win over J.U. Blacksher.
MONTGOMERY – Smiths Station’s Alonie Sutton set two meet records to win the long jump and triple jump competition in the Class 6A/7A division of the Icebreaker Invitational Indoor Track Meet at the Birmingham Crossplex last weekend. Her performance claimed the AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight for last week.
Sutton won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 10 inches and then set a CrossPlex record with her winning leap of 41-05.75 to win that event as well. Panthers head coach Cassidy Stecenko’s senior standout became the first high school girls’ participant to go over 41 feet in the CrossPlex’s eight-year history, breaking her own previous record of 40-09.75 in 2017. Senior teammate Kennedy Nelson was second in both events.
Okheme Moore of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa also moved into the AHSAA Spotlight with a record-setting performance to beat the field of 139 sprinters in the boys’ Class 6A/7A 60-meter dash competition at the Icebreaker Invitational. The senior sprinter clocked a winning time of 6.86 seconds to erase the previous mark set by Auburn’s Deonte Tolbert (6.87) in 2016.
Moore was also one six participants in the final heat to break the Icebreaker Meet’s 400-meter dash record, finishing second (48.10) to Clinton (MS) runner Kristopher Moore, who set the new record in that event with winning time of 47.82. Stanhope Elmore’s Xavier Rogers, Hewitt-Trussville’s Jake Diggs, James Clemens’ Nolan Smith and Hoover’s Dorian Austin each surpassed the old mark (49.95) set by Rogers in 2016.
Coach Devon Hind’s Hoover High School boys’ and girls’ teams swept the 6A/7A division championships with 95.50 and 74 points, respectively. McGill-Toolen Catholic was second in the girls’ competition with 67.50 points, and Homewood finished third with 53. Vestavia Hills was second in the boys’ division with 48 points.
American Christian won the Icebreaker Meet’s 1A/5A girls’ title with 79 points. St. Paul’s Episcopal finished second with 76 and Montgomery Catholic was third with 44. Hattiesburg (MS) won the 1A/5A boys’ division with 53 points, edging runner-up Guntersville by one point. Winfield was third with 46 points. The next major high school meet at the CrossPlex will be Monday, Jan. 15, the Martin L. King Classic.
Other top indoor track performances reported from the Icebreaker Invitational included:
C.J. JORDAN, OPELIKA: He and teammate Jaylen Stinson had Icebreaker Meet long jumps of 21-08.50 each to establish a new 6A/7A division record. Jordan also won the triple jump with a 47-10.50 distance.
CHARLIE SLAUGHTER, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Won the Class 6A/7A 1,600 meters with a meet record 4:25.47, erasing the old record (4:25.90) set by Hoover’s Tommy McDonough in 2016.
WILL STONE, HOMEWOOD: Won the 3,200 meters with a 6A/7A meet record time of 9:32.49. Vestavia Hills’ James Sweeney, who set the Icebreaker Invitational record with a 9:41.60 time in 2016, broke his own mark and finished second clocking 9:35.66.
CARL NESBITT, VESTAVIA HILLS: Cleared 6-06 in the high jump to tie the Icebreaker Meet 6A/7A record shared by Mountain Brook’s Drew Williams (2015). Nesbitt holds the overall CrossPlex all-time record with a 6-08 leap in the Class 7A state meet in 2016.
JAMES COURSON, HOOVER: Cleared 15-06 to win the 6A/7A Icebreaker Meet pole vault competition to set a new meet record by six inches.
CALEB JACKSON, PLEASANT GR0VE: Won the 60-meter dash with a 6.96 time in the Icebreaker Invitational to set a new 1A/5A record. Columbia’s Alize Ford set the mark in 2016 with a time of 6.98 seconds. Winfield’s Trey Cunningham, now a freshman at Florida State, set the CrossPlex record with a time of 6.78 seconds last season.
MICHAEL PRINCE, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Tossed the shot 53-04.75 to set a new 1A/5A Icebreaker Meet record – edging Leopards teammate Josiah Henry, who also broke the previous mark with a 53-03 toss. Daniel Herrod of Northridge had a throw of 51 feet in 2015 to set the record originally.
WALKER JUNKIN, WINFIELD: Cleared 14 feet, 7 inches to beat the 1A/5A Icebreaker Meet record set in 2014 by Jesse Austin of Montgomery Academy by seven inches.
TANNER KING, NORTHSIDE: Narrowly missed setting a 1A/5A Icebreaker Invitational 400-meter dash record with his winning time of 2:01.04. He also won the 1,600 meters (4:37.89) and finished second to Scottsboro’s Crawford Hope in the 3,200 meters. Hope set a new 1A/5A Icebreaker Meet record with a time of 9:50.24. King’s 9:54.11 time also broke the previous mark of 10:02.38 set by Micah Sheldon Britton of Alabama Christian in 2016. Hayden Judge of Scottsboro and Nate Collins of Westminster also broke the previous record finishing 3-4 with times of 9:54.33 and 9:56.82, respectively.
SMITH STATION 4X400 RELAY: The Panthers clocked 3:27.61 to edge Thompson (3:27.84) as both teams surpassed the Icebreaker Meet’s previous event record (3:27.95) set by Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in 2016.
VESTAVIA HILLS 4X800 RELAY: The Rebels, anchored by James Sweeney, ran the distance in 8:16.43 to win the event and set a new 6A/7A division boys’ record.
JASMINE GRIFFIN, HOMEWOOD: Won the Icebreaker Invitational Meet Class 6A/7A division 60-meter dash with a meet record time of 7.66 seconds. Sparkman’s Lauryn Hall, who set the standard in 2016 with a 7.73 time, finished second with a personal best 7.71. Also beating the previous mark were Caroline Huff of McGill-Toolen, Hoover’s Chakiya Plummer, Auburn’s Reagan McCall and James Clemens’ Vada Samuels. The CrossPlex record was set last year at the Last Chance Meet by Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn, now running as a freshman at Florida State.
MICHELLE ROCO, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Was one of six girls who surpassed the existing 400-meter dash record for the Icebreaker Meet’s 6A/7A division with a runner-up time of 58.33 seconds. Clinton (MS) sprinter Jayda Eckford won with a winning time of 57.60. She set the record in 2016 with a time of 59.24.
ZURI FALKNER, JAMES CLEMENS: Had a winning throw of 37-05 to set a new 6A/7A record in the Icebreaker Meet shot put competition.
GRACE JENSEN, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Had near record times in the 800 (2:18.26) and 1,600 (5:06.90) to win both events in the Icebreaker Meet’s 6A/7A division.
MORGAN O’NEAL, SYLACAUGA: Set the Class 1A/5A girls’ Icebreaker Meet record with a winning time of 58.82 seconds in the 400-meter dash.
AMARIS TYYNISMAA, MONTGOMERY-CATHOLIC: Won three events in the 1A/5A division of the Icebreaker Invitational. She clocked 2:20.06 in the 800-meter run, 5:03.51 in the 1,600 meters and 11:23.26 in the 3,200 meters. She finished with 30 points, helping her team finish third overall. Her own total would have placed her fifth in the team competition. Her times in all three events place her among the Elite performances, according to Milesplit.com, in the nation this season.
ASHLEIGH IVORY, DEMOPOLIS: Set a new 1A/5A Icebreaker Meet record in the 60-meter hurdles with time of 9.19 seconds to finish just ahead of American Christian’s Kayleigh Atkins (9:21). Both times beat the previous record of 9.23 set by Karri Green of Piedmont in 2015.
EMILY BURROWS, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Won the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 4 inches to set a 1A/5A Icebreaker Meet record. She also set a new meet triple jump record for her division with a 37-07.50 leap. Ashleigh Ivory of Demopolis finished second in the long jump with a 17-0.50 leap, also breaking the previous record (16-11.50) set by Callie Jones of Cottage Hill Christian in 2016.
CENTRAL-TUSCALOOSA RELAY: The Falcons’ 4x100-meter relay team captured the 1A/5A event with a time of 1:48.08 – beating the old record set by St. Paul’s Episcopal in 2015 by three seconds.
Former T.R. Miller principal Frank Cotten passed away Thursday, Jan. 4.
Mr. Cotten was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 after serving 14 years on the AHSAA District 1 Board and six years on the AHSAA Central Board of Control. He served one term as president.
“We are very thankful for Mr. Cotten and his life of service,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “All of us in his AHSAA family mourn his passing and offer our condolences to his family.”
Mr. Cotten contributed to T. R. Miller High School athletics for more than 30 years, first as a coach and later as an administrator for the last half of his career in education. He coached basketball for seven years with a 128-42 record and led seven football teams to a 65-19 record and three playoff appearances.
A graduate of Coffeeville High School and Livingston University, Cotten spent five seasons, from 1960-64, as the head coach at Coffeeville, his alma mater in rural Clarke County. He coached one year at Macon Academy before leading T.R. Miller's football program from 1973-80. He stepped down in 2016 after serving on the Brewton City Council for more almost two decades.
Funeral services will be Saturday at First Baptist Church in Brewton, with visitation from noon to 3 p.m., followed by the service. He was preceded in death by his wife Shirley.
MONTGOMERY – Abbeville High School finished strong, outscoring defending tournament champion Eufaula 12-2 in the final 2:30, en route to a 65-55 victory in the finals of Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic boys’ basketball tournament – and grabbed the AHSAA Basketball Spotlight in the process.
The Class 2A Yellow Jackets (13-3) of Coach Emanuel Brown won the prestigious tournament played at Dothan’s Civic Center for the first time since 2006. For Brown, however, it was the seventh Hoops Classic tourney title he has coached in 12 seasons – winning in 2006 and 2008 while at Houston County High School and taking four straight from 2012-15 while serving as head coach at Class 6A Dothan. He is in his second season as head coach at Abbeville.
“I tell anybody this – it is not me,” Brown told the Dothan Eagle. “God has blessed me with some great groups of young men, starting at Houston County. I love all of them like they are my sons. We still stay in touch.
“I moved on to Dothan High and it was same thing. Those guys did all the work there. And now here, it is just a carryover. The guys at Houston County and Dothan come and talk to the guys at Abbeville and tell them how important it is to relish the moment they have now. The three groups are close.”
For Jermaine Glover, Abbeville’s title run was especially important. He had three strong games to lead the Jackets – earning the Moses Knight Most Outstanding Player award for the tournament. He scored seven of his nine points in the final stretch to seal the win. The award is named in the memory of Knight, the Wiregrass Hall of Famer who was Abbeville’s head coach for 37 years coach. He died in 2017 after a battle with cancer.
“It is an honor (receiving this award named for Coach Knight),” Glover said. Daquon Kincey led Abbeville’s balanced scoring with 17 points. Jaylan Coxson had 14 and Jaquon Kincey added 13. Eufaula (12-8), coached by Michael Smith, was led by Terrell Jones’ 19 points.
Most teams played in tournaments during the Christmas break.
Other highlights reported:
STAPLER NOTCHES 750TH WIN: Westminster Christian of Huntsville beat Madison Academy 49-42 on Tuesday as veteran coach Ronnie Stapler recorded the 750th win over his long prep boys’ basketball coaching career.
HESTER NOTCHES 1,000TH ASSIST: Vina point guard Abby Hester recorded 11 assists to go over 1,000 for her career and scored 15 points for the Red Devils (17-5) in a 59-23 win over Waterloo.
TRUITT HAS MILESTONE GAME: Just a week after earning MVP honors for Lanett in the Class 2A state football finals at the Super 7 Championships at Tuscaloosa, the Lanett point guard handed out 11 assists in a 72-70 win over Fairland (OH) in the Beach City Classic at Myrtle Beach (S.C.). The 11 assists was the sixth best assist effort in the 37-year history of the Beach Ball Classic. Lanett (5-4), the AHSAA’s two-time defending Class 2A state basketball champs, closed the road trip with a 71-70 win over Milton at the Big South Shootout at Duluth (GA). Anquaevious Pollard had 24 points and 19 rebounds and Truitt had 17 points in that win.
KIRA LEWIS, HAZEL GREEN: In one of the top clutch performances reported during the Christmas break, Lewis sank a 3-point shot with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter to help the Trojans overcome a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and send the game into overtime as Hazel Green beat defending Class 7A state champion Mountain Brook 94-91 in the semifinals of the AL.COM Classic tourney at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center. Lewis finished with 35 points and eight rebounds. Trendon Watford had 43 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans. Lewis had 23 points and eight assists in a 71-67 win over Sparkman (18-3) in the finals to give Hazel Green the tourney championship for the first time in school history.
TRAVARUS CARROLL, HUFFMAN: Had 23 points, sinking 9-of-12 free throws, to earn MVP honors as the Vikings beat Birmingham city rival Parker 72-69 in the finals of the Steel City Classic played at Samford University.
TY RAPER, HACKLEBURG: Scored 20 of his 38 points in overtime as the Panthers (7-3) beat Marion County 77-70. The game was sent into the extra period when Hackleburg’s Collier Cantrell sank a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left in regulation. Brayden Pyron had 32 points for the Red Raiders.
JUSTIN ALLISON, PELHAM: Sank nine 3-point goals and finished with 44 points in a 63-61 loss to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the Metro Tourney at Homewood last week. The Panthers dressed only eight players for the game. Allison sank his final trey with 2 seconds left, but Pelham could not get a timeout called before time expired.
DEANTONI GORDON, LEFLORE: Turned in a stellar defensive effort and scored nine points in a low-scoring Gulf Coast Holiday Classic tournament final at Bishop State Community College to earn MVP honors as the Rattlers (17-4) beat Murphy 38-25 to win the tournament for the third year in a row.
JA’MICHAEL STALLWORTH, GEORGIANA: Scored 28 points as the Panthers (14-1) beat Pleasant Home 72-52 to claim the Red Level Christmas tournament MVP award. He also had 26 points in a tourney win over Samson.
KURAN GARNER, BUCKHORN: Helped the Bucks (18-2) win its 10th consecutive game with two clutch free throws with 10 seconds remaining to seal a 50-49 regular-season win over Huntsville on Tuesday. Buckhorn won two tournaments over the Christmas break capturing the King of the Smokies Christmas Classic at Pigeon Forge (TN) and the Bayside tourney at Daphne.
MARK SEARS, MUSCLE SHOALS: Tallied 37 points as the Trojans (10-3) beat Loretto (TN) 74-59.
J.P. ROBINSON, DESHLER: The junior guard had 36 points as Deshler beat Rogers 61-41.
JAMARCUS GREEN, MONTEVALLO: Sank eight 3-pont goals and finished with 30 points to lead Montevallo to a 63-36 win over Fultondale in the Jefferson-Shelby Hoops Classic Tuesday. Teammate Jabrian Sullens also had 15 rebounds.
JACOREY TURNIPSEED, SUMTER CENTRAL: Had 15 points as all five starters scored in double figures in a 79-70 loss to Choctaw (FL) in the championship game of the Northwest Florida Shootout. Sumter Central is now 20-3 on the season.
GARRETT HICKS, JAMES CLEMENS: Had 29 points in an 84-62 win over Fairview.
VIRGIL CRAWFORD, DALE COUNTY: Cleared 10 rebounds, blocked seven shots and scored eight points as Dale County beat Cottonwood 47-34 in a regular-season win.
BROOKE HAMPEL, HAZEL GREEN: Had 34 points in a 79-52 win over Muscle Shoals in the AL.com Girls’ basketball tournament at Madison and followed with 18 points in the finals as the Trojans won the title with a 41-26 win over Charles Henderson.
ZIPPORAH BROUGHTON, LEE-MONTGOMERY: Sank five 3-point goals and finished with 37 points and 10 steals as the Lady Generals (11-7) beat Enterprise 74-30.
TENASIA GORDON, GEORGIANA: Poured in 33 points in Georgiana’s 64-44 win over Andalusia in the Red Level Christmas tourney consolation game.
LATASCYA DUGG, SAMSON: Had 24 points in a 52-31 win over Poplar Springs (FL) in the Red Level Tourney for the Lady Tigers (17-2). She added 32 points in a 68-34 win over Andalusia on Tuesday.
CIERRIA CUNNINGHAH, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Scored 26 points and Anya Banks added 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Lady Patriots (14-2) beat Carver-Birmingham 59-45 to go 3-0 in the Marine Corps/Ball’N Prep round-robin basketball tournament at Thompson High School.
ALLIE CRAIG CRUCE, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Had 25 points as the Lady Tigers (16-2) beat East Limestone 48-43 in a regular-season game on Tuesday.
KARLEIGH SLEDGE, DESHLER: Scored a season-high 29 points as defending 4A state champion Deshler (17-2) beat Rogers 55-28 in a Class 4A, Area 16 game.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 20, 2017) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and Special Olympics North America (SONA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue their collaborative efforts of advancing inclusion programs for students with disabilities.
While working through the organizational structures of both organizations, the stated goals of the partnership are to 1) increase participation of students with intellectual disabilities through interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Sports® and other inclusive school programs; 2) support official partnerships between NFHS member state associations and/or local schools and Special Olympics state Programs; and 3) increase the quality of inclusion programs in schools nationwide by serving as a resource for NFHS state associations and SONA state Programs.
Unified Sports is a fully inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition. There are more than 5,000 schools in the United States that currently offer Unified Sports, with a growing number participating in varsity-style interscholastic leagues. This resulted in more than 200,000 students experiencing Unified Sports during the 2016-17 school year. In a recent evaluation report, 97 percent of high school seniors say that the Unified Champion Schools program is changing their school for the better.
“Essentially, this MOU brings together and re-affirms all the tremendous work being done by both organizations in offering programs for students with disabilities and the desire on the part of both groups to continue moving forward to serve these students in our nation’s schools,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “Through our online course, our online materials and working cooperatively with Special Olympics at conferences and in other projects, we look forward to continuing this important work through our member state associations.”
To kick off the agreement between the two organizations, the NFHS and Special Olympics have released the revised online education course “Coaching Unified Sports” on the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
The updated course, which is hosted by Kevin Negandhi of ESPN’s SportsCenter, is offered at no cost for coaches and educators wishing to implement Special Olympics Unified Sports in their schools. The “Coaching Unified Sports” course is one of 58 online offerings through the NFHS Learning Center, which has delivered more than six million courses since its launch in 2007.
Other goals for the partnership include continued education on inclusion programs at NFHS conferences, increasing awareness of Unified Sports programs by posting success stories on the NFHS website and through social media, and development of a Unified Sports Experience model program for use at the local and state levels.
The NFHS currently offers numerous resources and articles related to the inclusion of students with disabilities on its website at http://www.nfhs.org/resources/student-services-inclusion/inclusion-of-students-with-disabilities.
In addition to providing content and resources for the newly updated online course on the NFHS Learning Center, Special Olympics will continue to provide its Unified Sports Experience at the annual NFHS National Student Leadership Summit each summer in Indianapolis, and will assist the NFHS with the collection of success stories and provide training and education at various state conferences.
“We are proud to have partnered with the NFHS, the NFL Foundation and the U.S. Office of Special Education Program at the U.S. Department of Education on the creation of the Coaching Unified Sports Course,” said Marc Edenzon, Regional President of Special Olympics North America. “This new and improved online coach course is vital to achieving the goal of having 15,000 certified coaches by 2020 while also providing training to ensure coaches are equipped with the knowledge to offer the best possible experience to all Unified Sports teammates.”
MONTGOMERY – Pleasant Home High School junior River Baldwin scored 30 points and cleared 12 rebounds last Friday to lead Class 1A Pleasant Home (8-2) to a 50-38 win over Class 5A Greenville.
The 6-foot-5 junior center, who is averaging 23.6 points per game this season, reached the 2,000-point milestone of her prep career in the process to grab the AHSAA Basketball Spotlight.
Baldwin, one of just 18 girls nationwide to be selected as a finalist for the 12-member USA Under 16 National Team last summer, also followed that performance with a triple double to lead Coach Tony Wilson’s Eagles to a 43-40 win over Class 5A Carroll of Ozark in the Alabama-Florida Shootout on Monday. She finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 14 blocked shots. The 14 blocked shots tied Shelby Weaver of McIntosh (2012) and Gwen Jackson of Eufaula (1999) for 7th on the AHSAA all-time single-game record book list.
Charles Henderson junior Maori Davenport set the AHSAA girls’ single-game blocked shot record last year in the finals of the Class 5A state tournament with 19. Baldwin is averaging 12.0 rebounds and just over six blocked shots a game this season – which ranks among the Top 10 nationally, according to MaxPreps.
The Pleasant Home center scored 833 points and pulled down 355 rebounds in 29 games last season. She had 150 blocked shots. She began this season with 1,833 career points, 843 rebounds and 396 blocked shots in 82 games.
Her milestone effort edged out another outstanding performance by Paul Bryant senior point guard Jared Sherwood, who had 10 points, 10 assists and six steals to lead the defending Class 6A state champion Stampede (8-2) to a 76-45 win over defending Class 4A state champion Hale County at Moundville last week. Sherwood, the MVP of last season’s Class 6A state tournament, is one of the state’s top free-throw shooters – nailing 125-of-144 last season for 86.8 percent.
Teammate Kershon Lockhars also had 16 points in the win over Hale County and Dylan Robertson had 10 points and four blocked shots. Jakorrian Edwards had 16 for Hale County.
Sherwood and Coach the Stampede, coached by Sean Peck-Love, will be in action beginning Wednesday at the Steel City Classic boys’ basketball tournament at Samford University. The tourney features three defending state champions. Nine games are scheduled for Wednesday beginning with Vestavia Hills vs. three-time defending 1A state champion Sacred Heart at 8:30 a.m. Parker meets Cordova at 10, Pelham plays LeFlore at 11:30, Eufaula and Homewood play at 1 p.m. Wenonah will play the Vestavia-Sacred Heart winner at 2:30; Paul Bryant takes on the winner of the Parker-Cordova game at 4; Huffman plays the Pelham-LeFlore winner at 5:30; defending 3A state champion Midfield plays the Homewood-Eufaula winner at 7; and Ramsay plays Spain Park in a girls’ game at 8:30 p.m.
Other highlights reported include:
UMS-WRIGHT WINS AT BUZZER FOR CANOVA’S 300TH COACHING WIN: Sophomore Jill Coffee-Jackson scored in the final seconds as UMS-Wright nipped Citronelle 43-41. The victory was the 300th of Lady Bulldogs Coach Terry Canova’s coaching career. He is in his 12th year as head coach at UMS-Wright.
Trailing 41-39 with 10 seconds left, another sophomore Sarah Elizabeth Freeman came up with a steal and fed to junior Emme McPhillips who hit a layup for the tying basket. With three seconds left, UMS-Wright inbounded the ball to Virginia Dukes, who found Coffee-Jackson opening for the winning shot. Senior Amy Robinson had 14 points, including four 3-point goals, coming off the bench for UMS-Wright.
MURR GOES OVER 2,000 POINTS: Lindsay Lane Academy sophomore Tommy Murr scored 49 points to lead the Lions past Addison 86-60 and went over 2,000 points for his career in the process. Murr, a 5-foot-11, 120-pound guard, is averaging 41.6 points per game, and according to MaxPreps, currently leads the nation in scoring. He is shooting 84.6 percent from the foul line (115 of 136) and is averaging 8.2 points per game on free throws alone. He is also 63-of-139 from the 3-point arc (45.3%) and is averaging 13.5 points a game just on treys made.
3 PLAYERS HAVE DOUBLE-DOUBLES IN CENTRAL WIN: Central-Tuscaloosa (11-2) beat Tuscaloosa County 64-53 as three players recorded double-double performances. McKenzie Mahone had 20 points and 10 assists, Shakyia White had 17 points and 13 rebounds and LaTarius Montgomery added 10 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Tamia Knight had 17 points for Tuscaloosa County.
In other highlights reported from last week’s action:
ISAAC WOODWARD, CARBON HILL: Had 42 points in a 94-70 win over Carbon Hill. The junior guard was 9-of-10 on 3-point shots, 11-of-14 at the foul line and scored 17 points in the first quarter sinking the first five treys he attempted.
NOEL JONES, CENTRAL COOSA: Had 25 points and eight rebounds and teammate Jovon Richardson added 13 points, including sinking 8-of-8 free throws in the final four minutes, to seal a 54-51 win over Benjamin Russell.
TREY BONHAM, UMS-WRIGHT: Scored a game-high 23 points, but it was his assist to teammate Brink Bedsole with eight seconds remaining that provided the winning bucket as the Bulldogs nipped Citronelle 49-47.
MASON BRAGWELL, BELGREEN: Averaged 24.3 points per game in three wins as the Bulldogs (9-0) beat Carbon Hill, Fayette County and Phil Campbell.
J.P. ROBINSON, DESHLER: Scored 34 points in a win over Russellville and followed with 18 in a win over Rogers and 19 in an overtime loss to Central-Florence.
JALON JOHNSON, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Earned MVP honors as Hillcrest (9-3) beat American Christian 47-31 to win the championship of its own Hillcrest All-State tournament.
CHASE GORE, SOUTH LAMAR: Scored 27 points to lead the Stallions past Pickens County 80-50 in an early-season Class 1A, Area 9 showdown.
JOSEPH WOMACK, CARROLL: Had 17 points for the Eagles (9-4) in a 61-51 win over Daleville in the finals of the Daleville Christmas tournament to earn MVP honors.
MICHAEL HOLLIS, GOSHEN: Had 13 points in a three-overtime win over Elba, 13 in a semifinal win over Luverne and 13 in a 50-32 win over Brantley in the finals of the Brantley Christmas Tourney.
JA’MICHAEL STALLWORTH, GEORGIANA: Had 29 points in the Panthers’ 89-43 win over Opp and 22 in a 77-69 loss to Greenville at the Andalusia Christmas Tourney. The loss to 5A Greenville was Class 1A Georgiana’s first setback of the season.
DONALD JACKSON, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Scored 27 points as the Red Devils beat Eufaula 73-52.
JESSIE STEGER, BUCKHORN: Sank a free throw with no time remaining to give the Class 7A Bucks (11-2) a 43-42 road win over James Clemens.
KIRA LEWIS, HAZEL GREEN: Tallied 26 points as the Trojans beat Muscle Shoals 57-53.
LATASCYA DUFF, SAMSON: Scored 41 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Tigers’ 71-42 win over Goshen in the Brantley Christmas tournament and followed with 14 points in the semifinal 49-34 win over Brantley and finished with 21 in a 50-27 win over Pleasant Home in the finals for Samson (14-1).
RACHEL JOHNSON, EUFAULA: Recorded 19 points and 15 steals as Eufaula (10-1) beat Abbeville 41-29. The 15 steals ranks third in the AHSAA Record Book. The state record (23) was set by Wanda McDaniel of Speake in 1993. Leah Strain of Woodland also had 16 in a 2009 win over Lineville and 14 twice, versus Handley and Wadley in 2011.
KAREIGH SLEDGE, DESHLER: Sledge averaged 18 points per game as the defending Class 4A state champions won three games last week.
EMMA HUMPHRES, VINA: Scored the 1,000th point of her high school career in Vina’s win over Hubbertville and added 21 in the Red Devils’ victory over Cherokee.
JOSIE HARVILLE, HATTON: Scored 22 points in a win against Class 5A Lawrence County, and then recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Sheffield.
CLAIRE DAVIDSON, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Scored 29 points and teammate India Brown added 15 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Conquerors (9-4) to a 62-46 win over Cleveland.
ANYA BANKS, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Had 10 points and eight rebounds in a 53-15 win over Sipsey Valley in the finals of the Hillcrest All-State girls’ tourney to earn MVP honors for the Lady Patriots (9-2).
SIERRA CARTER, HOLT: Scored 29 points as Holt (7-5) posted a 75-54 Class 4A, Area 7 win over Northside.
By Sue Marshall
Former Athletic Administrator and Varsity Coach at Randolph School, Huntsville
and Major Lane
Principal at Goshen High School
The Alabama High School Athletic Association is made up of more than 400 high schools, along with 300 junior highs and middle schools. These schools are as varied as the thousands of students who walk their halls and run the athletics courts and fields all across the state.
Members include public, private and parochial schools that can have a vastly different focus on their shared mission of educating their students. There is one thing that those 700-plus schools have in common: an athletics organization built on a foundation of fairness and service.
The AHSAA operates based on rules and regulations formulated by its members. Any member school can propose a new rule or a rules change. The new rule gets distributed to all members and there’s a survey vote. From there, a 32-member Legislative Council – four members from each district – votes on the proposal. A two-thirds vote is required to ratify the new rule. It’s democracy – and fairness – in action.
During my career as a coach and athletic administrator in north Alabama, I witnessed numerous significant changes that were a result of rule proposals that were designed to support the needs, interests and safety of student-athletes across the state. I am proud of the consistent effort of the AHSAA to be responsive to concerns and suggestions of the many men and women who strive to make high school athletics a meaningful experience for student-athletes.
At Randolph School, an independent school in Huntsville, we have a proud tradition of academic and athletic excellence as well as a strong commitment to community involvement. In order to help prepare our students for their future in an uncertain world, our faculty, coaches and administrators encourage our student-athletes to be their best in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in their dealings with their peers and in the broader world beyond our campus.
In athletics, as in academics, Randolph coaches work to make sure our students are prepared for tough competition because facing and overcoming challenges strengthens their resolve to do their best – no matter what. We value the opportunity to compete against strong competition throughout the state through the AHSAA. We also find in the AHSAA like-minded institutions led by executives and officials with uncompromising integrity.
Our athletics programs at Randolph School are outstanding, and an important part of our mission to instruct the entire student – mentally, physically and emotionally. We are very proud of our winning programs, but in striving to win we make sure we teach our students that sportsmanship and honest effort are as important as what shows on the scoreboard.
As a former coach and athletic administrator, I am grateful for the integrity, dedication and hard work that the AHSAA provides outstanding athletic experiences for student-athletes and coaches across the state.
Goshen a proud AHSAA small-school competitor
With the AHSAA’s guidance and adherence to policies created for everyone, small schools such as Goshen High School can be confident that the competition is fair for all. In a community of less than 300 in the town limits, Goshen’s ability to stand toe-to-toe with our rivals is a matter of pride. And pride is very important in small-town Alabama.
Our student-athletes don’t rely on finding success with a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality, though. We strive to teach them to stand tall in the face of adversity, knowing that adversity can produce great character and fortitude that can last for a lifetime. Learning to pull together as part of a team is perhaps the best way to prepare our student-athletes for life after high school.
The governing structure of the AHSAA – the Central Board of Control – is comprised of one member from each of the eight districts in the state, plus four minority members from four bi-districts, two female at-large members and one member from the Alabama Department of Education. Thus, every school has a “local” voice in the room when executive decisions are made. Goshen’s voice matters just as much as that of the voice from the largest high school in Alabama. The AHSAA staff that works on day-to-day issues is also highly responsive. The administrators in Montgomery have hands-on experience in school classrooms and always keep the students in their minds in their decision-making.
In short, private schools like Randolph School and public schools like Goshen High share a bond much like those forged on the field of play. Policies and procedures made by AHSAA members for AHSAA members keep a competitive balance in place so that our students have their best chance for success on a level playing field.
Contact: Dan Schuster
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 19, 2017) — The most popular online education course on the NFHS Learning Center – “Concussion in Sports” – is now available in Spanish at www.NFHSLearn.com. The NFHS also has released “Officiating Wrestling,” which is the seventh sport-specific officiating course available through the NFHS Learning Center.
The NFHS partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010 to offer “Concussion in Sports.” The free course has since been taken more than 3.5 million times, and with the help of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, is now available in Spanish. This is the first course offered by the NFHS Learning Center in a language other than English.
“We are pleased to offer our very first course in Spanish, as well as continuing to provide additional opportunities for individuals to become involved in professional development,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services.
The goal of “Concussion in Sports” is to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports. The course includes each state’s concussion management requirements, in addition to highlighting the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes. Those who take the course will learn how to recognize a suspected concussion, as well as protocols to manage suspected concussions and the steps used to help players safely return to play.
“Officiating Wrestling” emphasizes the value of a referee’s judgment. To make the correct call, a referee must possess the proper knowledge of wrestling rules and their implementation. “Officiating Wrestling” is designed to help wrestling officials not only understand the rules, but how to properly apply them when in action.
“Professional development is critically important, and we are pleased to add another course for officials to the NFHS Learning Center,” Schuster said. “’Officiating Wrestling’ is a great course for new wrestling officials; however, it also provides great reminders of fundamentals for veteran officials.”
“Officiating Wrestling,” which is also now available through the NFHS Learning Center, costs $20. All members of the NFHS Officials Association are eligible for a $10 discount by entering an NFHS Officials Association registered email at checkout.
After starting with two courses in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 58 online courses – including more than 26 of which are free – and has expanded its reach to contest officials, students, administrators and music adjudicators. Since the launch of www.NFHSLearn.com in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than six million courses.
This press release was written by Cody Porter, a graphic arts/communications assistant in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department.
HATTIESBURG (MS) – The week of preparation is over for Alabama and Mississippi All-Star football teams as both teams completed their seventh practice of the week Friday morning. The two teams square off Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi Classic all-star football game at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M/M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi here.
Raycom Media will televise the game over its network of affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi with most of the stations, including WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery, showing the game over the main channel. Some of the affiliates will show the game over Raycom’s Bounce channel. To check availability, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch” or click on the following link for a story detailing the available at each affiliate: http://www.ahsaa.com/News-Articles/ArticleId/928/31st-alabama-mississippi-all-star-football-game-to-be-televised-on-main-channel-of-7-raycom-affiliates-saturday