AHSAA News

rss

AHSAA News


CLASS 7A GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS Spain Park 60, Lee-Montgomery 51

     BIRMINGHAM – Spain Park overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to beat Lee-Montgomery 60-51 Thursday in the Class 7A girls ‘ semifinals of the 96th State Basketball tournament at the BJCC Legacy Arena Thursday. With the win Spain Park (30-6) advances to play McGill-Toolen Catholic in the state finals Saturday at 4 p.m.
    Coach Mike Chase’s Jaguars trailed 36-26 early in the third period and steadily chipped away at the Generals’ lead, thanks in part to the play of sophomore Sarah Ashlee Barker. She sank a 3-pointer with 3:30 left in the third period to cut the lead to five, followed with a lay-up for two points and then blocked a shot at the other end that resulted in a bucket by Claire Holt. A minute later, Holt gave Spain Park the lead.
     The Jaguars then took control in the final period to seal the win.
    Holt finished with 22 points and four rebounds, Barker added 13 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots, four steals and four assists.
     Lee (23-10), coached by Freeah Smith, built the early lead and remained thanks in part to senior Zipporah Broughton’s 27 points. She was 5-of-7 from the 3-point line in the first half and finished with six treys. Zaniya Crawford also had 10 points and eight rebounds, Dalayiah Crawford had eight points and nine rebounds.
    The Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.

CLASS 7A BOYS’ SEMIFINALS McGill-Toolen Catholic 64, Sparkman 61 (OT)

     BIRMINGHAM – Senior forward Peter McDonald nailed the first two buckets in overtime and junior forward Matthew McNeece followed with a lay-up and free throw as McGill-Toolen Catholic nipped Sparkman 64-61 in the Class 7A semifinals of the 96th State Basketball tournament at the BJCC Legacy Arena Thursday. The victory sends the Yellow Jackets (25-6) into Saturday’s 7A boys’ championship game at 5:45 p.m. The McGill-Toolen girls also reached the finals with a win in the 7A girls’ semifinals.
    Coach Phillip Murphy’s Jackets trailed by 10 after one quarter and by 16 late in the second period. Sparkman (30-5), coached by Jamie Coggins, took a 46-40 lead into the fourth quarter and held the lead until 1:34 remaining. Trailing 52-49, McGill-Toolen’s Eric Toth got a defensive rebound and then sped to the other end where he sank and short jumper and was fouled. He converted the free throw to tie the game.
     The Jackets finally took their first lead with 49 seconds left in regulation on McDonald’s lay-up. Malik Tyson’s jumper 15 seconds later gave back the lead to the Senators, 55-54. With 16 seconds left, Toth tied the game with a free throw.
     McGill-Toolen took control in overtime and Sparkman’s last-second shot to tie at the buzzer hit the back of the rim.
     McDonald fished with 10 points on a 5-of-6 shooting performance. Toth had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Matthew Russ and Manny Patrick added 12 points apiece. Patrick also canned three 3-pointers. McNeece finished with nine points, two blocked shots and six rebounds.
    Tyson led Sparkman with 14 points and six rebounds. Ellis Lee had 13 points and Darron Howard had 11.
    The Class 7A semifinals continued in Thursday with two games in the semifinals. The Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.


CLASS 7A GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS McGill-Toolen Catholic 50, Sparkman 49

     BIRMINGHAM – Freshman point guard Nya Valentine made the first three shots she attempted from 3-point arc Thursday morning en route to a 25-point performance as McGill-Toolen Catholic (24-8) downed Sparkman 50-49 as the AHSAA Class 7A Girls’ State Basketball tournament got underway at the BJCC Legacy Arena. The win sends the Yellow Jackets into Saturday’s 7A girls’ championship game at 4 p.m.
     Valentine, who finished with six treys in nine tries, three steals and three assists, made a short jumper with 1:28 left to put the Jackets ahead 50-48. Coach Carla Berry’s McGill-Toolen defense did the rest down the stretch. Shanice Battle added nine points and Brooke Morgan had eight. Alex Pierre cleared nine rebounds, blocked one shot and scored six points.
    Coach Patrick Delay’s Senators (29-6) got 10 points and five rebounds from Sierra McCullough, nine points from Deserea Walker and six points each from Deyanna Dodd and J.J. Webster. Dodd also had three assists and Webster, three steals.
    The Class 7A semifinals continued in the morning session Thursday. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.

Vestavia Hills Coach Buddy Anderson Headlines 2018 Class of National High School Hall of Fame

MONTGOMERY — Buddy Anderson, the AHSAA’s career football-coaching wins leader, headlines the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame administered by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
          Anderson joins a class of 12 that includes  Tom Osborne, the 1955 Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year who later led the University of Nebraska to three national football championships in 25 years as the school’s coach; and  Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump as a high school athlete in Oregon when he developed a technique that became known as the “Fosbury Flop” were selected as athletes in Class of 2018.
       Vestavia Hills’ legendary coach, one of five coaches selected, will be beginning his 41st year as the Rebels’ head football coach next fall. His overall 329-146 coaching record ranks is the most wins of any high school football coach in state history.
       A strong man of faith and character, he guided the Rebels to state football titles in 1980 and 1998. His teams have compiled a 47-28 playoff record in 29 appearances. He had a stretch from 1993 to 2004 with 12 straight playoff appearances and his teams have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years just once since 1984. Anderson and his father Dovey Anderson became the first father-son coaching tandem to be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Dovey, who spent his entire coaching career at Thomasville High School, was inducted into the charter class in 1991. Buddy, who has spent his entire coaching career at Vestavia Hills, was inducted in 2003.
    “Buddy Anderson is an outstanding football coach, but more importantly, he is a role model all coaches can emulate. His influence as a teacher and coach will have a positive impact for student-athletes and coaches in this state for many years to come,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Buddy is just the fourth coach from our state to be selected for induction into this prestigious hall of fame. Through his strong commitment to faith and character, he exemplifies all the right lessons that participation in educational-based athletics can teach. ”

    The Class of 2018 will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The 36th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
     Anderson will become the fourth high school coach from the state and 12th Alabamian to be enshrined. Others include: former AHSAA Executive Directors Cliff Harper (1987), Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1990) and Dan Washburn (2011); coaches Glenn Daniel (1999); Wallace Guy O’Brien (1992) and Jim Tate (2013);  athletes Bart Starr (1989), Pat Sullivan (2012) and Ozzie Newsome (2014); and contest officials Dan Gaylord (1988) and Sam Short (2007).  Two other athletes, Olympic Gold Medal track stars Jesse Owens and Harrison Dillard, were born in Alabama and both moved as youngsters to Cleveland (Ohio) and attended the same high school in that state.
       Osborne was a three-sport standout (football, basketball, track and field) at Hastings (Nebraska)    football history. Fosbury developed the upside-down, back-layout leap known as the Fosbury Flop at Medford (Oregon) High School and later perfected it by winning the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

The other outstanding coaches selected for the 2018 class, include Miller Bugliari, the all-time leader nationally in boys soccer coaching victories with a 850-116-75 record in 58 years at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Dorothy Gaters, the Illinois state leader with 1,106 career victories in 42 years as girls basketball coach at John Marshall High School in Chicago who won her ninth Illinois High School Association state title last weekend.

Other coaches who will be honored this year are Jeff Meister, girls and boys swimming coach at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, who has led his teams to a combined 34 Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships; and Bill O’Neil, who retired last year after winning almost 1,300 games as the boys ice hockey, girls soccer and girls softball coach at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Other former high school athletes chosen for the 2018 class are Nicole Powell, one of Arizona’s top all-time girls basketball players during her days at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix who later excelled at Stanford University and in the WNBA, and Carrie Tollefson, who won five state cross country championships and eight individual track titles at Dawson-Boyd High School in Dawson, Minnesota, before winning individual and team NCAA titles while competing at Villanova University and qualifying for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.

The other three members of the 2018 class are Roger Barr, who retired in 2015 after a 43-year career in high school officiating in Iowa, including the final 13 years as director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association; Dick Neal, who retired in 2013 after a 34-year career as executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association; and Bill Zurkey, who retired in 2012 after an outstanding 35-year career as a choral director in three Ohio schools, including the final 25 years at Avon Lake High School.

These four athletes, five coaches, one contest official, one administrator and one performing arts director will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The 36th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.

            The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and performing arts programs. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 470.

            The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.

            Following is biographical information on the 12 individuals in the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.

 

 

COACHES

            Buddy Anderson is Alabama’s all-time winningest football coach – at any level. Not only is he the top high school football coach with 329 victories in 40 years at Vestavia Hills High School, he has more wins than college coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant (323), Nick Saban (216), Ralph “Shug” Jordan (176) and Pat Dye (153). Anderson’s teams have won 16 area and region championships and made 30 state playoff appearances, including state championships in 1980 and 1998, when his team finished 15-0 and was ranked nationally. Despite the demands of being a head football coach, Anderson has also served as the school’s athletic director for 40 years, and the school’s teams have won 66 state championships during his tenure, including 14 state wrestling titles and nine state baseball championships. Anderson was selected Alabama Coach of the Year three times, and he was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

            Miller Bugliari is an icon at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where he has been the school’s boys soccer coach since 1960. The 82-year-old Bugliari has amassed a national record 850 victories and led his teams to 26 Prep A and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association state championships. His teams have registered 20 undefeated seasons and won 27 county championships. Bugliari has been named New Jersey State Coach of the Year seven times, and he has earned four National Coach of the Year awards. He is a former president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was inducted into the NSCAA Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. Bugliari was a teacher in the Science Department at Pingry for many years and now is Special Assistant to the Headmaster.

            Dorothy Gaters is the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) career leader in basketball coaching victories – for both boys and girls. After completing a 22-7 season at John Marshall High School in Chicago last weekend and winning her ninth IHSA state girls basketball championship, Gaters’ record stands at 1,106-198. Her teams won the Class AA title in 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1999, and the Class 3A title in 2008. Gaters’ teams at John Marshall have finished second three other times and third on six other occasions. During her 42-year career at John Marshall, her teams have won 24 Chicago Public Schools championships and qualified for the IHSA state finals 26 times. Gaters was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996 and the prestigious Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. She was selected as a coach for the Junior Olympic team in 2000 and the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2011. 

            Jeff Meister has become one of the top swimming coaches in the nation during the past 30 years at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Taking over the Punahou swimming program in 1988, Meister has led the boys and girls teams to 34 Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) state championships – 16 boys and 18 girls – including 2018 titles for both squads last month. Although the Punahou program had enjoyed success in swimming prior to Meister’s arrival (47 all-time boys state titles, 51 all-time girls state titles), he has taken the program to another level and is the winningest high school swimming coach in state history. Meister’s teams have won 34 Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) championships, and he has been named ILH Coach of the Year 24 times. Meister has also served as the school’s athletic director for nine years after 11 years as associate athletic director. In addition, he has served as HHSAA State Track and Field Coordinator for 14 years and State Swimming Coordinator for eight years. Meister is currently serving a term on the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee.

            Bill O’Neil was one of the top multi-sport coaches in Vermont history – and perhaps nationally – during his 45-year coaching career at Essex High School. O’Neil compiled a 396-176-52 record in 37 years (1979-2015) as girls soccer coach, a 636-292-33 record in 44 years (1973-2017) as the boys ice hockey coach and a 261-124 record in 22 years (1979, 1992-2012) as the girls softball coach. This rather unique girls-and-boys sport combination yielded an overall record of 1,293-592-32, which is almost 2,000 varsity games coached at Essex. O’Neil led his various teams to 24 Vermont Principals’ Association state championships – 14 in hockey, six in girls soccer and four in girls softball. He has received numerous coach-of-the-year awards in all three sports. Though he has retired from his coaching duties, O’Neil continues to serve as an English teacher at Essex High School, which he has done since joining the faculty in 1965.

 

 

ATHLETES

               Dick Fosbury revolutionized the high jump when, as a sophomore at Medford (Oregon) High School in 1963, he used his new technique which became known as the Fosbury Flop. The upside-down, back-layout style became the standard as all records around the world have been established by athletes using the Fosbury Flop. Using his new method, Fosbury improved his jumps from 5-4 as a sophomore to 6-5½ as a senior and placed second in the state meet. He continued to perfect the “Flop” at Oregon State University, where he claimed the NCAA high jump title in 1968 with a 7-2¼ effort. That same year, Fosbury won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City with a 7-4¼ jump, which broke both the Olympic and American records. Fosbury was named to the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. He retired in 2011 after 30 years as a civil engineer in Idaho, but he continues to coach athletes at Dick Fosbury Track Camps in Maine and Idaho. 

            Tom Osborne was one of Nebraska’s top high school athletes during his days at Hastings High School from 1951 to 1955. He was the starting quarterback on the football team and helped the basketball team to the Class A state championship in 1954. In track and field, Osborne was state champion in the discus and runner-up in the 440-yard dash. In addition, he played American Legion baseball and helped his 1954 team to a second-place finish in the state tournament as a third baseman and pitcher. Osborne earned all-state honors in basketball and football and was named Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year in 1955. After an outstanding career at Hastings College and a few years in the National Football League, Osborne began his college coaching career. In 25 years as football coach at the University of Nebraska, Osborne compiled a 255-49-3 record, with 25 consecutive bowl appearances, 13 conference titles and three national championships. Following his coaching career, Osborne was elected to the U.S. Congress, and then returned to Lincoln in 2007 to serve as the Nebraska athletic director for five years.

            Nicole Powell was one of the top basketball players in Arizona history during her four years (1996-2000) at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. She collected 1,820 rebounds (eighth all-time nationally) and scored 2,486 points – second highest in state history. She helped her teams to three second-place finishes in the Arizona Interscholastic Association state tournament. As a senior, Powell also won the state discus event in track and field and the singles state title in badminton, and she also participated in tennis and cross country. Powell continued to excel at the next level, leading Stanford University to four Pacific-10 Conference basketball titles. She averaged more than 17 points and almost 10 rebounds per game and was named Pac-10 Player of the Year two times. Powell was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2004 WNBA draft and played 11 seasons with five teams. After her playing career ended, Powell became assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Oregon before being named head women’s basketball coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix in April 2017.

            Carrie Tollefson won five Minnesota State High School League state cross country championships at Dawson-Boyd High School from 1990 to 1994, including the first as an eighth-grader. She also won eight individual track and field titles in the 1600 and 3200 meters, and she set a state record in the 3200 meters in 1994 with a time of 10:30.28. Tollefson’s 13 individual titles in cross country and track are the most ever in the state. Tollefson’s dominance continued at Villanova University, where she won five individual NCAA titles – the indoor and outdoor 3K, the outdoor 5K and two cross country titles – and helped her team to the 1999 NCAA team championship. She was a 10-time All-American and the 1998 NCAA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. Tollefson made the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and participated in the 1500 meters in Athens, Greece. Since her competitive days concluded, Tollefson has conducted distance running camps and served as a motivational speaker and clinic presenter, and she hosts a weekly online show on running and fitness entitled “C Tolle Run.” 

 

OFFICIAL

            Roger Barr devoted 43 years of his life to the avocation of officiating – first as a high school football, basketball and baseball official in Iowa for 30 years, followed by 13 years as director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).  Barr was one of the top-rated officials in all three sports throughout his career, which earned him numerous playoff assignments. In football, Barr officiated 30 state tournaments, including 10 championship games. In baseball, he worked 26 state tournaments, including 24 championship contests. And in basketball, he officiated 26 state boys tournaments and 27 state girls tournaments, which included a total of 22 championship games. Barr conducted rules interpretation meetings in all three sports throughout the state during his officiating days, and in 2003, he joined the IHSAA staff as director of officials. He conducted rules meetings and clinics for the IHSAA for 13 years before retiring in December 2015.

           

ADMINISTRATOR

Dick Neal retired in 2013 after 34 years as executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). At the time of his retirement, Neal was the longest-tenured active director of a state high school association. He also served as chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA) for 34 years. During his tenure as MIAA executive director, Neal was responsible for initiating the effort to increase leadership of both women and minorities in high school sports in Massachusetts, and he wrote and recommended the amendment that created the MIAA Standing Committee on Sportsmanship, Integrity and Ethics. Neal served a term on the NFHS Executive Committee from 1989 to 1992 and was vice president during his final year. He also served as a member of the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee and director of the NFHS Fund Administrators Association. Neal previously received the NFHS Citation and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Distinguished Service Award.

           

 

PERFORMING ARTS

            Bill Zurkey had a profound impact on thousands of young people during his career as a choral music director at three Ohio high schools. After 10 years at Toledo DeVilbiss High School and Vermillion High School, Zurkey moved to Avon Lake High School in 1987 to rejuvenate a music program that was spiraling downward. In a short time, Zurkey expanded the choral program from less than 100 singers to more than 400. His squads won Ohio Music Education Association superior ratings for 20 years. Despite his full load of music classes, including teaching AP Music Theory and serving as chair of the Fine Arts Department, Zurkey was the eighth-grade football coach for 24 years, as he helped build a program which led to Avon Lake High School winning the Ohio High School Athletic Association state football title in 2003. Since his retirement in 2012, Zurkey has been a teacher at Cleveland State University and is in his sixth year as director of the Cleveland Pops Chorus. Zurkey is the 13th individual to be inducted in the Performing Arts category in the National High School Hall of Fame.


CLASS 5A BOYS’ SEMIFINALS Sylacauga 59, Talladega 55

BIRMINGHAM – Sylacauga High School senior Malik Crawford scored 27 points and cleared seven rebounds Wednesday night to spark the Aggies (30-5) to a 59-55 win over arch-rival Talladega  in the Class 5A boys’ semifinals Wednesday night at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
     Coach Will Copeland’s team now moves into the Class 5A boys’ finals Saturday at 10:45 a.m. to play Eufaula (29-9) at 9 a.m. The championship game will be one of six on the final day of the 96th AHSAA State Basketball Finals Championships.
    Crawford was 12-of-15 from the field and 3-of-4 at the foul line. He canned two free throws with six seconds remaining to seal the win. Erron Bryant scored 12 points and also had seven rebounds, and Darian Garrett scored 11.
    Talladega (21-11), coached by Chucky Miller, was led by Kobe Simmons’ 16 points and five rebounds. D’juante Dickerson, Chaztin Tanner and Ashton Duncan added eight points apiece. All three had two 3-point goals each.
     The two schools, located just 20 miles apart in Talladega County, had played three times previously this season and the Tigers winning all three.
      The Class 7A semifinals will tip off Thursday morning. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.

CLASS 5A GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS Central-Tuscaloosa 56, Scottsboro 49

     BIRMINGHAM – Central-Tuscaloosa sophomore center Sakyia White scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Falcons past Scottsboro 56-49 in the Class 5A girls’ semifinals Wednesday night at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
     The win sends Central (27-7) into Saturday morning’s 9 a.m. championship game of the 96th AHSAA State Basketball Finals Championships to face Charles Henderson (31-4).
    White’s inside presence was especially big on the offensive boards. She had seven offensive rebounds and finished the game 11-of-17 shooting. Mackenzie Mahone also had eight rebounds and was also strong inside for Coach Michael Rivers’ Falcons. She had 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.
     Mahone and Jones added 10 points each and point guard Quintasia Leatherwood had nine points, five assists and five steals. She was 7-of-10 at the foul line.
     Scottsboro (29-4), making its first appearance in the state tournament since the AHSAA’s inaugural girls’ tourney in 1978, stayed close with strong board work too. Coach Derek Wynn’s Wildcats had 36 rebounds – same as Central – with Abby Jones  clearing 10, Keara Sexton nine and Jasmine Branford nine.  Sexton also had a team-high 13 points and three assists. Branford scored 11 points and Emily Garner had 10.
     Central’s last trip to the finals was 2016. The Falcons’ girls’ basketball tradition goes back to that first girls’ state tourney in ’78 as well. Known then as Tuscaloosa, the school lost to Jeff Davis in the 4A finals.  The Falcons have three state titles to their credit (1982, 1984 and 1996) and three runner-up finishes (1978, 1981 and 2016).
    The Class 7A semifinals will tip off Thursday morning. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com
. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.


CLASS 5A BOYS’ SEMIFINALS Eufaula 79, Wenonah 73

     BIRMINGHAM – Eufaula High School edged Wenonah 79-73 Wednesday in the 96th annual AHSAA State Basketball Finals Championships at the BJCC Legacy Center. The Class 5A semifinal victory clinched the Tigers’ first berth in a state championship game since 1999.
     Eufaula (29-9) trailed the Dragons (29-7) by one 73-72 with 1:55 remaining. Coach Michael Smith’s Tigers outscored Wenonah 7-0 the rest of the way – going to the foul line eight times and making seven. Laquaveous Nelson, Tyler Mayo and Jadarious Blackshire each made two each. Eufaula finished the quarter 11-of-14 and was 16-of-25 for the game. Wenonah took the lead in the fourth period with some solid free-throw shooting as well and finished the game 15-of-21.
    Nelson scored 22 points to lead the Tigers. He also had nine rebounds, three steals and sank two 3-pointers. Mayo had 19 points with four treys, Eiszeric Thomas had 12 points and Blackshire finished with 10 points and three assists.
    Wenonah, coached by Audwin Howard, got big efforts from Cameron Tucker and Justin Minter. Tucker totaled 27 points nailing 4-of-7 3-point attempts and sinking 11-of-11 free throws. Minter had 24 points and was 3-for-3 at the foul line.
     Eufaula will play in the championship game Saturday at 10:45 a.m.
    The Class 7A semifinals will tip off Thursday morning. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.

CLASS 5A GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS Charles Henderson 57, Wenonah 53

     BIRMINGHAM – Charles Henderson downed Wenonah 57-53 Wednesday to move into the Class 5A girls’ state championship game for the second year in a row. The victory also ended the Dragons’ streak of state titles at four.
     Coach Dyneshia Jones Trojans (31-4) advances to the Class 5A finals of the 96th annual AHSAA State Basketball Championships at 12:30 p.m., Saturday at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
     Wenonah (25-8), coached by Emanuel Bell, beat the Trojans (31-4) last season in a come-from-behind finish. This time, it was Charles Henderson that came from behind late to win.
        Charles Henderson led by as 12 points in the second half but saw that lead evaporate late when Wenonah scored eight straight points to take a 53-52 advantage with 1:01 remaining. Niaira Jones, the daughter of the Trojans’ head coach, intercepted a pass with 24 seconds left and was fouled. She sank both free throws to put Charles Henderson ahead 54-53. Maori Davenport, who finished with 25 points and 19 rebounds, pulled down a missed Wenonah shot and was fouled with 11 seconds left. She made them both and went to the line again in the final seconds and made another to seal the win.
     Davenport, a 6-foot-4 junior, also had three blocked shots and was 7-of-8 on the night at the foul line.  Jones finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. Tatyana Siler added 12 points and six rebounds for the Trojans.
    Faith Reynolds had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Wenonah. Markesha Body had 15 points and Ke’Andra Childress had 14. Bell’s Dragons also saw their streak of five straight championship game appearances end. Wenonah won state titles in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 and was runner-up in 2013. The victory over the Dragons was Charles Henderson’s first.
     The Class 7A semifinals will tip off Thursday morning. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.

CLASS 6A BOYS’ SEMIFINALS Paul Bryant 40, Parker 38

     BIRMINGHAM – Jared Sherfield’s lay-up with 56 seconds remaining and Kailex Stephens’ steal in front of the Parker bench with nine seconds left sealed defending state champion Paul Bryant’s 40-38 victory over Parker Wednesday in the Class 6A boys’ semifinals of the 96th annual AHSAA State Basketball Championships being held at the BJCC Legacy Arena. The tournament is also the 25th since the tournament found its home at the BJCC in 1994.
     Sherfield finished with 12 points to pace the Stampede (30-4), coached by Shon Peck-Love, Stephens, who made one of two free throws following his steal, totaled nine points with all coming on a 9-of-10 free-throw shooting performance.
     Parker (24-9), coached by Reginald McGary, got 11 points and 13 rebounds from Xavier Williams and 10 points from Jason King.  The Thundering Herd played Paul Bryant in the 6A finals in 2017 with the Stampede prevailing 49-41. The 6A championship game will tip off Saturday at 2:15 p.m.
       The Class 7A semifinals will tip off Thursday morning. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.

CLASS 6A GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS Ramsay 60, Opelika 39

     BIRMINGHAM – Ramsay High School outscored Opelika 24-9 in the third quarter to break open a close game Wednesday.
      The win by Coach Ronnie Jackson’s Rams (24-4) closed out the semifinals for Wednesday’s 6A girls’ session at the 96th annual AHSAA State Basketball Championships 6A finals being held at the BJCC Legacy Arena. The tournament is also the 25th since the moving to the BJCC in 1994.
     Ramsay senior Ajah Wayne scored 16 points, had three assists and six rebounds. Teri Crawford had 13 points and eight rebounds and Jaylyn Sherrod had 13 points, four assists and three steals.
     Opelika (22-10), coached by Devin Booth, was led by Alexis Browning’s 13 points. Abrea Green had 10 points and six rebounds and Claire Worth had seven points and six rebounds.
      Ramsay will face Hazel Green in the finals Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
      The Class 7A semifinals will tip off Thursday morning. Class 1A girls’ and boys’ finals will be Thursday afternoon. Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be Friday and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
   All semifinal games in the tourney are being live video-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network. Both may be accessed at www.ahsaa.com. Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all finals over it state-wide radio network and website.