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More students find a home in team sports as AHSAA bowling grows in popularity

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The newest sport sanctioned by the Alabama High School Athletic Association is picking up steam and reaching one of its top goals: creating opportunities for more students to participate in team sports.

 

High school bowling was a girls’ only sport from 1972-78 that returned to the AHSAA beginning in the 2015-16 school year for both boys’ and girls’ teams. The third state championship tournament – featuring the top 16 qualifiers (boys and girls, so, 32 total teams) – will be Jan. 25-26 at Pelham’s Oak Mountain Lanes following regionals in Tuscaloosa (Leland Lanes) and Foley (Gulf Bowl) on Jan. 18-19.

 

“We are so pleased that bowling has been embraced by our schools,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We have almost 200 teams this year and every team has students participating who may not be inclined or interested in playing another one of our sports. Bringing as many students as possible into a team environment where they can learn how to compete and the benefits of good sportsmanship is our goal. Spain Park won the boys’ state championship last season and Southside-Gadsden won the girls’ crown.

 

“We also have wonderful coaches giving their time and teaching these student-athletes how to pull together as a team and sharing in the fun at the bowling alley!”

 

Vestavia Hills boys coach Todd Evans said getting students not normally involved in athletics benefits the students and the team. He said his squad is made up of students who are high achievers academically. “I think this is opening one more door where we can reach a different type of kid,” he said. “For the most part, we do get students who don’t complete in anything else.

 

“Even though you may be in honors classes, it is important for you to have to compete in an arena where all eyes are on you and you can’t hide the result that you are producing.

 

“When it comes to bowling, these guys have a high level of self-confidence and they feel comfortable doing this,” Evans said. “I think it is good for them to be on a team with people who aren’t necessarily like them because the world is like that. It teaches them about other people.”

 

Not all bowlers are just one-sport athletes. Jon Kilgo of Gadsden City High rolled a perfect 300 game in the first state tournament. This year, he set an AHSAA state record with a 92-yard punt for the Titans.

 

Jason Davis coached varsity football for 23 years, baseball for 20 and is now in his fifth year as softball coach at Auburn High. He is also in his second year as the bowling coach. “I’ve been coaching a sport for 24 years,” Davis said, “and I would say a majority of my coaching has been with kids who want to miss class to go to a sporting event. This is my first time coaching where kids don’t particularly want to miss class!

 

“Auburn High is a big social media school and the students getting their scores and recognition tweeted out has been a big deal for them. Bowling provides an opportunity for students who may not participate in another sport to be on a team. It gives the students another environment to be in.

 

“The students who have joined the bowling teams, for the most part, are kids who have never participated in a sport – which is good and bad,” Davis said. “The good being they appreciate it more and the opportunity to play. At the same time, a team environment can take some adjusting to and competition in general can be a learning curve.”

 

Suha Mohiuddin, a senior at Vestavia Hills who joined the bowling team as an eighth-grader when it was a club team, was intrigued by the competition and prospects of being part of a team. “When I heard announcements for sign-ups, I thought it was an interesting concept,” she said. “I didn’t really know what it was, but when I saw the competition, where every pin counts, I liked the competitive atmosphere. Being on the team helps me think about how I can be a leader since I’ve been on the team longer than other people around me. Working together is always fun, but there is always the individual struggle as well.”

 

Bowling also brings the students, coaches and parents together in a community setting. Tommy Barberini, the general manager of Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham, called high school bowling a win-win. “We want kids involved in bowling,” said Barberini, who is also the president of the Bowling Proprietors of America for Alabama and Mississippi. “Coach Savarese wanted this to happen for the high school students. This was his vision.”

 

Barberini said the bowling centers that work with the AHSAA teams provide discounts for lane and equipment rental in order to help the sport grow. Already, Oak Mountain Lanes is planning to bring in five sets of bleachers to handle spectators for the finals, Jan. 25-26. Bowling will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, at 8 a.m. on Jan. 26 with the finals scheduled for 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance at gofan.com. 


AHSAA Wrestling Spotlight Spanish Fort Rolls to Baldwin County Tourney Championship posting 23 Pins along the Way

MONTGOMERY – Spanish Fort High School accumulated 202.5 points – winning 23 matches by pins – and captured the Baldwin County Wrestling Tournament championship Jan. 13 to thrust the state’s newest county wrestling tourney into the AHSAA Wrestling Spotlight this week.
    Defending tourney champion Gulf Shores was second with 191.5 points, Baldwin County followed in third place with 186.5 and Foley finished fourth with 169.
    All seven Baldwin County public high schools competed in the tourney that also included Satsuma of near-by Mobile County. The schools collectively have helped bring AHSAA wrestling back to the Mobile area over the last few years and are have ignited rapid interest in the sport amongst its student-athletes.
    Justin Ingram, Chris Duran and Jason Snow each won three matches by fall for the Toros of Coach James Gosnell. Four wrestlers had three pins each for Gulf Shores Coach Tyler Countryman. The leader was William Walker of Satsuma, who had five pins on the way to a third-place finish in the 106-pound division. The freshman improved to 9-5 on the year with a fall in just 37 seconds over seventh grader Isaiah Wysong of Daphne in the third-place match. Robertsdale freshman Gavin Strain (18-0) won 11-4 over Spanish Fort freshman Mitch Pote (27-15) in the 106-pound finals.
    Ingram (48-0) remained unbeaten winning the 145-pound title. The junior, a three-time county champion, downed Gulf Shores sophomore John Paul Uter (14-5) 6-0 in the finals. Snow (31-13) was beaten 10-4 in the 152-pound finals by Gulf Shores’ William West (25-4), and Duran (22-15) finished third at 132 pounds. Spanish Fort eighth grader Gabriel Warren (37-4) won a 7-3 decision over Brody George (22-7) of Gulf Shores in the 120-pound finals.
    Other top wrestling performances reported from last week’s action included:

MATT TICE INVITATIONAL
ZACHARY CLAYTON, DORA:
The senior (34-1) beat Mortimer Jordan junior Devyn Gunter (29-13) in the 132-pound finals 6-0 to lead Dora to the team championship of the tourney hosted by at Leeds. The Bulldogs totaled 185 points. Mortimer Jordan was second at 179 and Moody was third with 165.5. Clayton had three pins in the tourney.
MACON EDWARDS, FULTONDALE: The senior beat Holtville’s Tristan Watson (26-6) in the 120-pound finals with a pin a 1:00. Edwards (48-0) had three pins for the tourney.
CARIAL TARTER, MORTIMER JORDAN:  The Blue Devils 160-pound senior (38-0) extended his current winning streak to 85 bouts in a row with a technical fall at 3:34 over David Williams (46-4) of Dora.
SKYLER MIZZELL, ST. CLAIR COUNTY: The Saints junior improved to 31-0 with a pin at 2:00 over Montevallo sophomore Ariel Suarez (22-6) in the 220-pound finals.
BRADY RICHARDSON, HOLTVILLE: Improved to 28-1 with a pin at 3:19 in the 152-pound finals over Dora senior Jordan Tyree (49-4).

SMITHS STATION INVITATIONAL
DILLON LUTTRELL, SMITHS STATION: The junior 138-pounder improved to 37-4 with a pin over Tory Birdsong of Opelika in the finals as the host Panthers won the tournament compiled of Alabama and Georgia schools. Smiths Station had 219.5 points, followed by Vidalia (GA) with 167.5, Wetumpka (149) and Chattahoochee County (GA) (134). Lutrell had four pins in the tourney.
TOBIAS GARRISON, STANHOPE ELMORE: Won the 170-pound weight class with a pin over Vidalia’s Thomas Godbee (47-7). Garrison, a senior, improved to 23-0 on the year and finished with three wins by pin in the tourney.
JACOB ANDREWS, STANHOPE ELMORE: The defending Class 6A state 285-pound champion (12-2) beat fellow senior Deondrae Williams (25-7) of Smiths Station with a 10-0 major decision in the finals.

SOUTHEASTERN POOLS INVITATIONAL
CHANDLER AKINS, THOMPSON: Won the 126-pound division to improve to 30-9 on the season with an 8-5 decision over Beech (TN) sophomore Noah Horst (15-2). Tennessee wrestling power Baylor School of Chattanooga outscored the host Warriors 608.5 to 562.5 to claim the tournament championship. Beech (TN) was third with 489.5 points, followed by Central-Phenix City (460) and Oxford (372.5) to round out the top five teams. Thompson totaled 32 pins in the meet, second only to Baylor, which had 45.
BARRETT BLAKELY, OAK MOUNTAIN: Won the 170-pound title to improve his season record to 43-0. He beat Connor Duffy of Baylor in the finals with an 11-1 major decision. Blakely had five pins in the tourney.
HECTOR CANDELARIA, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY:  The senior (28-0) remained unbeaten with a 15-7 major decision win over Baylor junior Andrew Pace (24-7) in the 138-pound finals.
CLAY WEBB, OXFORD: The junior heavyweight pinned Seth Whitlock of Thompson in the 285-pound finals at 3:28 to remain unbeaten at 14-0. He finished with four pins in just 8:19 of wrestling time.
GABE HIXENBAUGH, THOMPSON: Improved to 43-3 on the season with a major forfeit win over senior Haden Hartline (23-8) of tourney champion Baylor in the 132-pound finals.

HOMEWOOD DUALS
Clay-Chalkville
won the championship with a 52-30 win over Helena in the finals. Gardendale downed McAdory 54-19 to take third place. Helena’s William Miller and Vestavia Hills’ Will White each had a pin in the duals competition just 10 seconds into the match.


AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight Boys’ MLK Invitational 6A/7A High Jump Finish Captures this week’s AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight

 MONTGOMERY – Kyle Smith of Hoover High School set a Martin L. King Invitational indoor track meet high jump record with a winning leap of 6 feet, 6 inches, at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Jan. 15. He was pushed to the limit, however, winning in a jump off with Opelika’s C.J. Jordan. He also cleared 6-06 and now shares the MLK Meet record with Smith.
    Seth Williams
of Paul Bryant, an Auburn football signee who played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game at Hattiesburg just one month earlier, also tied the previous record by clearing 6-04. He missed his three tries at 6-06. Williams also helped lead the Stampede to the 2017 Class 6A state basketball championship with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 49-44 win over Parker in the finals at the BJCC last March.  Justin Cannon of Paul Bryant and Jonah Hyde of Helena also had three tries at equaling the 6-4 record set by Homewood’s Alazae Hester-Taylor in 2015 but missed.
   The exciting and extremely competitive event at the 2018 MLK Invitational captured the AHSAA Indoor Track & Field Spotlight for this week. A total of 29 participants competed in the event.
   James Clemens’ girls won the MLK 6A/7A title with 105 points. Hoover was second with 93.50. American Christian totaled 57 points to capture the 1A/5A title. St. Paul’s Episcopal was second with 48. Hoover won the 6A/7A boys’ team championship totaling 109 points. Paul Bryant was second with 50.50. Hattiesburg (MS) finished first in the 1A/5A boys’ division with 44 points, nipping American Christian with 43.
  Highlights from Monday’s MLK Meet the CrossPlex include:
  
BOYS
C.J. JORDAN, OPELIKA:
Won the 6A/7A triple jump with a winning distance of 46-01. He also cleared 6-06 in the high jump and finished second in a jump off.
HOOVER 4X200 RELAY: The Bucs narrowly missed the MLK Meet record clocking 1:29.82 to win the 6A/7A division event. Oxford (MS) holds the record (1:29.32) set in 2017 and Opelika holds the overall CrossPlex record (1:28.40), winning the 6A event at the 2016 AHSAA State Indoor Championships. Hoover’s 4/400 relay team also won that event at this year’s meet with a 3:27.48 time, and finished second to Thompson in the 4x800 relay.
JAMES COURSON, HOOVER: Won the 6A/7A pole vault clearing 15 feet. He then moved the bar to 15-08 and missed, however.

GIRLS
NICOLE PAYNE, OAK MOUNTAIN:
Set a MLK Meet 6A/7A record in the 400-meter dash with a winning time of 54.22 seconds. Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn set the mark last year with a 54.43 time.
SYDNEY STEELY, HOOVER: Won the 800 meters with a 2:17.50 time and the 1,600 meters clocking 5:13.80.
SHATAEYA LIGON, JAMES CLEMENS: Won two events at the MLK Meet with a 17-09.50 distance to win the long jump and 37-01.25 to claim the triple jump.
HANNAH TARWATER, WHITESBURG CHRISTIAN:
Captured the 1A/5A girls’ 800 meters and 1,600 meters with times of 2:27.41 and 5:14.68, respectively, at the MLK Invitational.
HELEN CLAIRE EDMONDS, AMERICAN CHRISTIAN: Won the MLK 1A/5A division high jump with a strong leap of 5-04 and finished second in the pole vault competition clearing 10-06.
MOUNTAIN BROOK 4X800 RELAY: Set an MLK Meet record with a time of 9:48.77 in the 6A/7A 4x800-meter relay. Huntsville held the previous record with a 9:49.42 time at the 2014 MLK Invitational.


AHSAA Job Announcement

January 12, 2018

 

 

SUBJECT:           AHSAA Job Announcement

 

Due to a recent vacancy, the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) is seeking applicants for the position of Administrative Secretary.  Applications will be accepted immediately through Monday, January 29, 2018. 

 

Summary of Administrative Secretary Position

 

We are currently seeking a reliable, responsible Administrative Secretary to assist the AHSAA Executive Director and the executive staff in the day-to-day operations of said organization, which include regulating and coordinating interscholastic athletic competition in an equitable manner while promoting the value of interscholastic athletics as an integral part of a student’s education-athletic experience by representing all member schools.

This position is to support the AHSAA executive staff by providing timely and quality assistance in all administrative and clerical capacities to assistant directors within our organization. The ideal candidate will be skilled and organized including ability to multi-task as well as professional in dress and actions. To be successful, candidates should be self-motivated and proactive, able to work under pressure to meet deadlines, and have exceptional communication skills. Previous experience as an Executive Assistant/Secretary is strongly preferred, but not required. All applicants must be very familiar with office management technologies, including Microsoft Office.

Qualifications of Administrative Secretary

The requirements listed below are representative of the education, experience, knowledge, skill and/or ability required.

 

§  Minimum education requirement: High school or GED (college preferred)

§  Proficient English background

§  Excellent communication, organizational, and presentation skills

§  Self-directed leader who demonstrates initiative

§  Computer and Microsoft Office, Adobe, and Photoshop, as well as other technological skills

§  Availability to work occasional overtime at various times throughout the year (some nights/weekends)

§  Social Media proficiency with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc. (Not required, but desired)

§  Graphic design and/or digital editing skills (Not required, but desired)

 

Essential Functions of Administrative Secretary

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.

 

§  Communicate with administrators and coaches from across the state by phone and email blasts

§  Assist Special Programs Director in coordination of all Lunch & Learn clinics

§  Assist AHSADCA Director in coordination, planning and implementation of the Principals’ and        Athletic Directors’ Conference and the Summer Conference

§  Assist Technology Director with transcripts and questions from member schools

§  Serve as receptionist, along with other secretaries/Answer phones, etc.

§  Proficiency with the usage of C2C or other content management software 

§  Assist Assistant Director with fine/ejections

§  Send timely notifications and receipt payments into Access data base

§  Distribution of Faxes to executive staff

§  Bus Reclassification Coordinator

§  Assist Associate Executive Director with the Middle School Conference

§  Assist assistant directors with creation of Power Points

§  Assist with printing and mailing of AHSADCA membership cards

§  Assist with printing and mailing of ECO cards

§  Ability to use audit software to monitor member schools with required documents using Dragonfly

     or other document management software

§  Any other duties as assigned by the Executive Director and/or Office Manager

 

 

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications

 

All completed cover letters and resumes should be emailed as an attachment to:

              Sandy Logan, Office Manager at slogan@ahsaa.com.

 

Deadline for submission of applications: Monday, January 29, 2018

 

SPS:sdl


AHSAA Wrestling Spotlight Thompson’s Latona, Hixenbaugh Shine At ‘Cheesehead’ Invitational in Wisconsin

MONTGOMERY – Thompson High School wrestlers Sam Latona and Gabe Hixenbaugh reached the finals in their respective weight divisions at the Cheesehead Invitational Wrestling Championships at Kaukauna, Wisconsin, to lead the Warriors to an 11th-place finish in the nationally acclaimed tournament. The impressive showing by the two juniors thrust them into the AHSAA Wrestling Spotlight this week.
   The Warriors of Sean Weltzin totaled 312 points in the 32-team field, which was comprised of teams primarily from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Thompson was the only Southern team in the field.
    Latona (35-2) went 6-1 to finish second in the 120-pound weight division. The junior finished 71-1 last season to win the AHSAA Class 7A 106-pound title. He lost to senior Joey Melendez (25-1) of meet champion Montini Catholic (IL) in the finals 5-0. Hixenbaugh (35-3), a junior who was 75-4 as a sophomore en route to the Class 7A 126-pound state crown, reached the 132-pound finals at the Cheesehead Invitational with six straight wins. Real Woods (21-1), also of Montini Catholic, won with a technical fall at 4:29 in the finals.
Thompson had five additional wrestlers finish in the Top 10 of their respective weight divisions. Dylan Leseuer (34-7) finished seventh at 106 pounds, Emmanuel Oliver (24-4) ninth at 113 pounds, Chandler Akins (20-9) 10th at 120 pounds, Isaac McAdams (27-14) 10th at 195 pounds and Seth Whitlock (12-9) eighth at 285 pounds.
   Other top wrestling performances reported included:

Jefferson County Championships
MACON EDWARDS, FULTONDALE:
Edwards (42-0), a senior who saw his 163-match win streak come to an end in the 113-pound Class 1A-5A finals in 2017, beat Luke Jasper of Mortimer Jordan with a pin at 3:44 in the 122-pound finals of the Jefferson County Tournament held at Oak Grove. Clay-Chalkville won the Jeffco title with 206 points over Mortimer Jordan (197.5. Gardendale was third with 193. Fultondale, the smallest school in the 12-team field, was sixth with 152 points.
CARIAL TARTER, MORTIMER JORDAN: Tarter (32-0), who finished unbeaten last season as a junior at 47-0 to win the Class 1A-5A 145-pound state crown, extended his current winning streak to 79 with a technical fall 15-0 decision over Christian Hopkins of Pinson Valley in the 162-pound Jeffco finals. Tarter was 47-0 as a junior winning the 1A-5A state title at 152 pounds.

Calhoun County Championships
CLAY WEBB, OXFORD:
Won the 285-pound title with a pin at 4:19 over Pleasant Valley’s Wesley Harrell to help the defending Class 6A state champs win the tournament championship. Host Oxford totaled 243.5 points and runner-up Alexandria had 173.5. Weaver was third with 113 points.
CODY SOUDER, WEAVER: The freshman improved to 25-0 with a pin in just 34 seconds to win the 108-pound title.
FLETCHER SWINDALL, ALEXANDRIA: Improved to 20-0 with a 9-7 decision over Wesley Slick of Oxford (27-5) in the 134-pound Calhoun County tourney finals.
CHRISTIAN KNOP, ALEXANDRIA: Knop (23-0), The Class 1A/5A defending state champion, won the 184-pound title at the Calhoun County tourney with a pin in finals in just 51 seconds.  The junior was 58-0 last season and was 56-0 in 2016 at 170 pounds. His current winning streak is 137 and counting.


Barry Mask Invitational, Wetumpka
STEVEN BELL, McADORY:
Improved to 36-0 with a 10-4 decision over Jackson Howard (17-2) of Saint James in the 128-pound finals held at Wetumpka. Southside-Gadsden won the tourney title with 342.5 points, followed by runner-up Benjamin Russell (328.5) and third-place Wetumpka (307).
JUSTIN INGRAM, SPANISH FORT: Ingram (38-0) downed Michael Jackson (20-6) of Thompson with a pin at 3:30 in the 147-pound division.
BRADY RICHARDSON, HOLTVILLE: Captured the 152-pound title going 4-0. Richardson (21-0) pinned three opponents, won another with a major decision and then handed Lee-Montgomery grappler Princeton Perryman (13-2) his second loss of the season with a 7-3 decision in the finals.
MASON BLACKWELL, WETUMPKA: Went 4-0, including a 6-5 decision over Jack Burt (12-2) of Montgomery Catholic, to claim the 160-pound weight division championship last weekend. The freshman improved 20-0 on the season after finishing fourth in the Class 6A State Meet as an eighth grader.
LADONTAY GARRISON, SIDNEY LANIER: The senior (7-0) pinned Connor Burk (24-10) in the 184-pound finals at 1:47.
LEFREDRICK WALKER, LEE-MONTGOMERY: Walker (22-0), a senior, downed Benjamin Russell’s Damien Lawry 4-2 in the 222-pound finals.

Hoover/Scott Rohrer Invitational
MAX KAUFFMAN, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Kauffman
(34-0) beat Matthew Blalock of Pensacola-Tate with a technical fall (19-4) in the 134-pound finals to help Central finish second overall in the field of 32 teams. Vestavia Hills won the annual meet at Hoover High School with 854.5 points. The Red Devils had 813.5 and the host Bucs had 757.5 to finish third. Bob Jones was fourth with 712.5.
HECTOR CANDELARIA, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Remained unbeaten at 25-0 with a 3-1 decision over Hewitt-Trussville’s Stone Barden (11-2) in the 140-pound finals.
KRISTIAN SCOTT, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: The Red Devils senior improved to 34-0 on the season with s pin at 1:39 in the finals over Vestavia Hills junior Peter Dazzio (31-5).
BARRETT BLAKELY, OAK MOUNTAIN: The Eagles senior downed Scottsboro’s Kolton Clark (29-2) 8-3 in the 172-pound finals to remain undefeated at 35-0.
NATHAN DUNAWAY, HELENA: Dunaway (39-0), a sophomore, pinned previously unbeaten Hoover senior D’Angelo Dewitt (36-1) in the 184-pound finals at 1:31. He had seven consecutive wins, including five by pins, in the tournament.

 


Rumble in the Jungle Invitational, Heflin
MASON SHELL, PELL CITY: The sophomore downed Alexandria’s Aden Whittaker (15-9) in the 113-pound finals to remain undefeated at 28-0. Host Cleburne County won the tourney with 328.5 points. Pell City was second with 278.5, Alexandria (244.5) was third and Oxford (28.5) was fourth in the 13-team field.
FLETCHER SWINDALL, ALEXANDRIA: Won five matches to improve to 25-0 and won the 132-pound title over Jackson Hurst of Oxford with a 14-4 major decision.
JASON HIGGINS, CLEBURNE COUNTY: Higgins (12-0), a senior, pinned Matthew Lindsey (18-6) of Walter Wellborn at 1:58 to win the 160-pound weight division.
CHRISTIAN KNOP, ALEXANDIA: Knop (27-0) won four matches at 182 pounds to improve his current winning streak to 141 in a row. He handed Cleburne County junior Cade Smith (16-1) his first loss of the season in the finals winning 15-0 with a technical fall at 2:25.
JORDAN BROOKS, SAKS: The senior, now 9-0, won the 285-pound division with a pin over Matthew Thornton (14-3) of Piedmont in the finals at 1:00.

Julian McPhillips Invitational, Montgomery
JACK TINDALL, ARAB: The senior (34-3) handed Lee-Montgomery senior LeFredrick Walker (30-1) his first defeat of the season in the semifinals, and he followed by handing Tallassee junior Andy Baker (29-1) his first loss of the season in the 222-pound finals. Arab scored 238 points to win the McPhillips Invitational hosted by Saint James. Smiths Station was second in the 22-team field with 181 points followed by Wetumpka (263.5) and host Saint James (152.0).  
JACKSON ELDER, AMERICAN CHRISTIAN: The ACA junior (4-0), who finished fourth in the AHSAA 1A-5A State Championships last year, beat Arab’s Jacob Holland (44-3) in the 108-pound finals by a 5-1 decision.
CLAY JONES, ARAB: Won the 147-pound championship with a pin at 3:18 in the finals over Trey Gaines (24-8) of Saint James. Jones (47-0) finished third in the state meet last season at 138 pounds.
MASON BLACKWELL, WETUMPKA: Won three matches to win the 162-pound division and raised his season record to 23-0. He beat Mason Grissett of Prattville Christian with a pin at 1:56 in the finals.
LADONTAY GARRISON, SIDNEY LANIER: Garrison (11-0, a Poets senior, won four matches en route to the 184-pound title. He pinned senior Justin Lewis of Carver-Montgomery (12-4) at 3:53 in the finals.


AHSAA Basketball Spotlight Wenonah Beats Pleasant Grove for Coach Emanuel Bell’s 500th Career Win

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:

MILESTONE
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.

BUZZER BEATERS
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.

BOYS
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.

GIRLS
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.


AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight Smiths Station’s Sutton, Hillcrest’s Moore Set Records at Icebreaker Invitational Meet

   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:

BOYS
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.

GIRLS

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.


AHSAA Mourns Passing of Frank Cotten



   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.


Tournaments Highlight Christmas Break Abbeville Claims Title in Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic to Grab AHSAA Prep Basketball Spotlight

   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:
  
MILESTONE
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.


BOYS
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.

GIRLS
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. 


NFHS, Special Olympics Sign Memorandum of Understanding in Support of Programs for Students with Disabilities

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.”