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 – 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.