BIRMINGHAM – Sacred Heart Catholic’s bid for a fourth straight Class 1A state boys’ basketball championship was pushed to brink by Georgiana Thursday night. The Cardinals (23-10), however, outscored the Panthers 10-1 in overtime to post a 65-56 win Thursday night at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
The victory clinched the fourth consecutive Class 1A state boys’ title for Coach Ralphael Graves’ team from Anniston, tying a state record set by Class 2A Francis Marion from 1988-91. Eight other schools have won three state boys’ basketball titles in a row during the 96-year history of the state tournament. Sacred Heart is the first boys’ team to win four in a row in the BJCC’s 25-year history of hosting the event.
Sacred Heart senior Diante Wood earned Class 1A state tournament MVP honors scored 22 points, had six rebounds and two blocked shots. He made a key bucket and free throw with a minute left in regulation to give the Cardinals a four-point 53-49 lead.
Georgiana senior guard responded with a 3-pointer, and after Sacred Heart’s Victor Wilson made two free throws with 25 seconds left, Stallworth nailed another trey from well beyond arc to with 18 seconds left to tie the game at 55-55 and send it into overtime.
Senior guard QuinDarious Riggins, who played much of the second half with four fouls, took over in the overtime period by attacking the basket. He scored the last nine points of the game to finish with 18 points. He also had three assists and six rebounds. Murdock Simmons also had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals before fouling out in the extra period.
Georgiana (30-4), coached by Kirk Norris, was led by Stallworth’s 17 points. He was also 4-of-6 at the foul line and finished with three 3-pointers. Sophomore post Martavius Payton had 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, and junior Christian Williams had 13 points and four assists. The Panthers have reached the state tourney three years in a row and have played in the finals twice.
The Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals get underway Friday with Samson and Sand Rock tipping off the Class 2A girls’ championship game at 9 a.m. Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will conclude the tourney Saturday.
Raycom Sports will broadcast all finals over its TV network, and the NFHS Network is live-streaming all finals over its subscriber-based platform. The AHSAA Radio Network is broadcasting all finals over it state-wide radio network and website as well.
CLASS 1A BOYS ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Diante Wood, Sacred Heart (MVP); Murdock Simmons, Sacred Heart; QuinDarious Riggins, Sacred Heart; Ja’Michael Stallworth, Georgiana; Christian Williams, Georgiana; Martavius Payton, Georgiana.
AHSAA 96th State Basketball Championships
CLASS 7A Girls
McGill-Toolen Catholic (24-8) 50, Sparkman (29-6) 49
Spain Park (30-6) 60, Lee-Montgomery (23-10) 51
CLASS 7A Boys
McGill-Toolen Catholic (25-6) 64, Sparkman (30-5) 61 (OT)
Mountain Brook (33-4) 70, Central-Phenix City (21-5) 42
CLASS 1A Girls Finals
Spring Garden (32-3) 52, Philllips (29-4) 38 (Spring Garden is champion)
CLASS 1A Boys Finals
Sacred Heart Catholic (23-10) 65, Georgiana (30-4) 56 (OT) (Sacred Heart is champion)
Friday, Mar. 2
CLASS 2A Girls Finals
Samson (30-3) vs. Sand Rock (24-10), 9 a.m.
CLASS 2A Boys Finals
St. Luke's Episcopal (22-8) vs. Lanett (25-5), 10:45 a.m.
CLASS 3A Girls Finals
Lauderdale County (35-2) vs. Pisgah (30-1), 12:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A Boys Finals
Hillcrest-Evergreen (24-3) vs. Plainview (33-2), 2:15 p.m.
CLASS 4A Girls' Finals
Deshler (33-2) vs. Madison Academy (28-7), 4 p.m.
CLASS 4A BOYS' FINALS
Cordova (25-9) vs.Madison Academy (25-8), 5:45 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 3
CLASS 5A Girls Finals
Charles Henderson (31-4) vs. Central-Tuscaloosa (27-7), 9 a.m.
CLASS 5A Boys Finals
Eufaula (29-9) vs. Sylacauga (30-5), 10:45 a.m.
CLASS GIRLS 6A Finals
Hazel Green (34-2) vs. Ramsay (24-4), 12:30 p.m.
CLASS BOYS 6A Finals
Carver-Montgomery (29-7) vs. Paul Bryant (30-4), 2:15 p.m.
CLASS 7A Girls Finals
McGill-Toolen Catholic (24-8) vs. Spain Park (30-6), 4 p.m.
CLASS 7A Boys Finals
McGill-Toolen Catholic (25-6) vs. Mountain Brook (33-4), 5:45 p.m.
BIRMINGHAM – Fourteen outstanding volleyball teams advanced through quarterfinal and semifinal play Wednesday to advance to the 2017 AHSAA State Volleyball Championships Thursday.
Defending champions Addison (1A), St. Luke’s Episcopal (2A) and Bayside Academy (3A) each claimed semifinal victories at Birmingham’s CrossPlex Wednesday. The 46th annual championships move to the Bill Harris Arena next door beginning at 8 a.m., with 1A finals at the 5,500-seat arena. The remaining schedule features the Class 6A finals at 9:45 a.m.; Class 7A at 11 a.m.; Class 5A at 1:15 p.m.; Class 4A at 3 p.m.; Class 2A at 4:45 p.m.; and Class 3A closing out the seven championship matches at 6:30 p.m.
Each championship will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network with veteran announcer Jerry Young handling the play-by-play.
Bayside Academy (41-10) nipped Carbon Hill (69-10) in the Class 3A semifinals Wednesday 3-1 to move into the 3A finals Thursday. The Lady Admirals of Coach Ann Schilling will striving to claim their 16th consecutive state crown facing Montgomery Academy (44-12) in the championship at 6:30 p.m. That match will close out the 46th annual state tournament.
Senior setter Ansleigh Daily had 39 assists and senior outside hitter Brantley Rhodes had 18 kills in the tough semifinal win over Carbon Hill. The Bulldogs were led by junior Alyssa Dutton’s 14 kills. Bayside owns 25 state championships dating back to 1981. Schilling’s team won three in a row from 1998-2000, failed to win in 2001 and has won ever since. The 2002-2007 championships came in Class 2A and the rest since then have come in Class 3A.
Montgomery Academy beat Providence Christian 3-2 in the other semifinal battle. Coach Julie Gordon’s Eagles won the 2A state crown in 2013.
Addison (50-8) is going for its fourth championship in a row – winning in Class 2A in 2014 and 2015 and last year in Class 6A. Coach Kayla Woodard’s Bulldogs will face arch-rival Meek (46-17), insuring that Winston County schools will own the crown for one more year.
St. Luke’s (33-15) will meet Goshen (28-13) in the 2A finals. The Wildcats won their first state championship last season and the Eagles are playing in the finals for the first time in school history.
Deshler and Saint James will meet in the 4A finals. The Tigers of Coach Jana Killen will be vying for the school’s first volleyball state title. Killen has coached the Lady Tigers (43-14) to five state basketball championships, however, winning the 4A titles in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2015 and 2016. Saint James (36-9) captured volleyball titles in 2001 and 2003. Lawrence County (59-4) and Alexandria (43-9) square off in the 5A championship match. The Red Devils have five state championships with the last one coming in 1999. Alexandria won back-to-back titles in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
In Class 6A, Pelham (40-9) is taking on Jasper (59-4). The Panthers won state titles 1993 and 1997 and the Vikings will be playing for their first state crown. McGill-Toolen Catholic insured a new 7A champion will be crowned by knocking off Mountain Brook in the semifinals. The Spartans won the first three 7A titles since the new class was added (2014, 2015 and 2016). McGill (45-7) has 19 state titles to its credit with the last one coming in 2005. The Dirty Dozen will be facing Bob Jones, which knocked off Oak Mountain in the other 7A semifinal. The Patriots (41-10) have two state titles with the most recent coming in 2013.
AHSAA 46th Annual Volleyball Championships
THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
At Bill Harris Arena
(All matches lived-streamed by the NFHS Network)
Addison (50-8) vs. Meek (46-17), 8 a.m.
Goshen (28-13) vs. St. Luke's Episcopal (33-15), 4:45 p.m.
Bayside Academy (41-10) vs. Montgomery Academy (44-12), 6:30 p.m.
Saint James (36-9) vs. Deshler (43-14), 3 p.m.
Lawrence County (59-4) vs. Alexandria (43-9), 1:15 p.m.
Jasper (57-4) vs. Pelham (40-9), 9:45 a.m.
Bob Jones (41-10) vs. McGill-Toolen Catholic (45-7), 11:30 a.m.
MONTGOMERY – Buckhorn High School (43-11) rolled to four straight wins at Lagoon Park to capture the 2017 Class 7A state softball championship Friday. Coach Alvin Rauls’ Lady Bucks beat their Madison County arch-rivals and defending state champion Sparkman 5-0 in the championship game.
Zoie Emrick pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief to get the win. She allowed no hits or runs and struck out two. Starter Lauren Harbin started and allowed two hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Emrick, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Class 7A state tourney.
Buckhorn took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and then scored four in the fifth frame with Jordan Evans’ three-run double the big hit. Courtney Marlow also had two hits and one RBI and scored twice. The Bucks also beat Fairhope 12-1, Tuscaloosa County 10-2 and Spain Park 7-1 to outscore all four opponents 34-4 in the state tourney.
Cassidy Duskin got the loss for Sparkman (54-11). Taylor Davis and Amanda Shikoh each had a hit for the Senators, who lost in the first round to Baker 7-5 and then won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals.
The state tourney continues Friday and Saturday at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 7A All-State Tournament Team
Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn (MOP); Sidney Edwards, Buckhorn; Kaylee Combs, Buckhorn; Laura Harbin, Buckhorn; Taylor Davis, Sparkman; Cassidy Duskin, Sparkman; Lily Calvert, Sparkman; MacKenzie Nutt, Buckhorn.