Carver Coach Edward Wood’s Impact, Legacy is Still Strong after Four Decades

                               By Bill Plott

                                                         AHSAA Historian
           Veteran Carver-Montgomery High School boys’ basketball coach Edward Wood lost his battle with cancer much too young. However, his legacy and impact still live on in his hometown of Montgomery.
           The Carver gymnasium bears his name, and students who attended the school during his tenure in the 1960s and 1970s will forever carry his memory in their hearts. And so will the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Wood is being inducted into the Hall’s Class of 2018.
          Wood attended high school at Alabama State Laboratory High School in Montgomery, graduating in 1945. He played basketball for Coach Hubert “Prof” Lockhart, a 2003 Hall of Fame inductee. Wood was named to the All-Tournament team in the 1944 AIAA state tournament.

After graduation, he moved across campus to Alabama State College where he would receive his bachelor’s degree in 1954. His college career, however, had been deferred for three years while he served in the United States Navy. He later returned to ASU again to earn a master’s degree.

His first of just two high school coaching/teaching job was at Dixon’s Mills in Marengo County where he coached and taught math. He was there from 1954-59.

In 1959 he moved back home to Carver High School in Montgomery as math teacher and coach. For the first 10 years, his teams played in the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association. His record at Carver during that period was 209-99. The 1963 team was runner-up in the state tournament. In 1968 the AIAA was merged with Alabama High School Athletic Association and he finished his career in the unified organization.

In 11 years in the AHSAA, Wood’s record was 164-114. There were five consecutive 20-plus win seasons, including four state tournament appearances.

Coach Dan Lewis, Wood’s longtime assistant and successor at Carver, said those AIAA teams were “some of the best-coached in the state.” When the merger came, Carver played in the three consecutive AHSAA state tournaments.
          Lewis further recalled: “Everything I know and have experienced with Coach Wood is positive, uplifting and inspiring. I had the rewarding opportunity to work and serve as Coach Wood’s assistant for eight years. What an honor and privilege to work under a coach who was well organized and believed in structure and organization.
           “The success I had as head coach at Carver, following Coach Wood as my mentor, enabled Carver to win back-to-back state championships in 1982 and 1983. I bestow Coach Wood a lot of credit for helping me to develop my own coaching philosophy. Coach Wood believed in developing character and discipline in the lives of every young man whom he coached. All of his team members exuded extreme character and sportsmanship.

“Coach Wood affected the lives of many young people on the west side of Montgomery. Some of the young men whose lives he touched went on to become doctors, lawyers, educators, businessmen, political officials, coaches and professional basketball players. I am immensely proud to have been influenced by Coach Edward L. Wood.”

Christine E. Williams and Dorothy Wright Pleasant, writing on behalf of the Class of 1965, said:

“The class of 1965 had a special relationship with Coach Edward Wood. He came to Carver in the fall of 1959, and we started seventh grade in junior high school. Therefore, the nomination journey has been a time of many reflections on Coach Wood and his lasting influence on our young lives.

“Coach had chances for advancement but turned down colleges time and time again to remain at Carver. Why? We believe the root of all his actions was his dedication to his players. His most important concern was the welfare of his players as future men in the community. Coach instilled in his players and mathematics students the values of an education, work ethic and community involvement.

“For those of us that attended Carver in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Coach Wood’s voice is still resonant. We recall many inspirational and motivational speeches he gave to the student body at pep rallies that kept us calm during the turbulent start of integration.”

Coach Wood died in 1980 at just age 54 after a four-year battle with cancer. He had already turned his coaching duties over to Lewis, his personal choice to take over the program. Lewis would go on to lead Carver to a then school record 30- and 31-win seasons. For the last 32 years, Wood’s family has awarded the Edward L. Wood Scholarship to the most outstanding Carver basketball player. In 1982 the school gymnasium was dedicated as the Edward L. Wood Gymnasium. His son Ed went on to play college basketball at Auburn University.

Another former student, U. S. Army Maj (ret) Abraham McCall Jr., was very specific about Wood’s influence in his life:

“Coach Wood became part of my life at a most pivotal point. Had it not been for the Lord, my parents and Coach Wood, I honestly don’t know where I would be. The Lord gave me grace and mercy. My parents game me my birth rights.

 “Coach Wood gave me an opportunity to attend college. He wrote, called and carried me to visit with the staff at Mississippi Valley State College for me to attend their school. For the things that he did, I am forever grateful.

“He did more than just rolling basketballs out on the court for me. He instilled those things in me that would propel me to become the person that I am today. He taught me about discipline, hard work, and sacrifice. Other things that I learned from him were leadership, commitment, service and family.

“All of the aforementioned have helped me have two long and successful careers. One was 22 years in the military, of which I retired as a field grade officer. The second career was that of public educator, of which I retired as a high school administrator. As you can see, Coach Wood gave me and others immeasurable opportunities at having a chance at success in life.”

Alabama-Mississippi Boys All-Star Game Mississippi 127, Alabama 90

   CLINTON, MS  -- Mississippi’s All-Stars jumped out to an 11-point lead by halftime and Alabama’s All-Stars never recovered as the hosts evened the 28-year series at 14 wins each with a record-setting 127-90 triumph at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
    The 127 points broke 24-year old record set by Mississippi in 1994 at the same location. The hosts won that year 123-111.
     The bright spot for Alabama, coached by Plainview’s Robi Coker and Cordova’s Heath Burns, was the play guard Jamari Blackmon, who was named Alabama’s MVP. He scored 22 points, 11 in each half, and handed out four assists. His performance couldn’t slow the Mississippi squad, however.
        Alabama was just 5-of-41 on 3-pointers but was 21-of-22 at the foul line. Blackmon was a perfect 10-of-10.  Diante Wood of Sacred Heart Catholic added 11 points, Jared Sherfield of Paul Bryant, Travarus Carroll of Huffman, Anquavious Pollard of Lanett and Jayce Willingham of Cordova had nine points each. Haleyville’s Logan Dye had eight points and seven rebounds.
       The home team led 57-46 at the half and outscored Alabama 70-44 in the second half. Everything seemed to work for Mississippi, coached by Kim Windham of Port Gibson and Darrin Chancellor of Florence.  Their team was 15-of-29 from the 3-point arc with DeAnthony Tipler sinking 5-of-9 on the way to 21 points and Mississippi MVP honors. Mississippi out-rebounded Alabama 57-4e with 6-foot-6 Garrison Wade of St. Andrews clearing 11 and Tyron Brewer of Meridian grabbing nine. Meridian guard Miles Miller was also impressive scoring 19 points, sinking five treys and handing some dazzling assists. A total of seven players cracked double figures for Mississippi.
    The win was the third in a row for Mississippi. 

Alabama-Mississippi Girls All-Star Game Alabama 109, Mississippi 96

   CLINTON, MS  -- Alabama’s All-Stars jumped out early and never trailed en route to a 109-96 win over Mississippi in the 28th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic girls’ game Friday night at Wood Gymnasium on the Mississippi College campus.
   The boys’ game was underway at 7 p.m.
    Lee-Montgomery guard Zipporah Broughton scored 16 points, had six rebounds, three assists and three steals to earn MVP honors to Alabama. The visitors’ 109 points was the third time for Alabama to go over the 100-point mark in the 28-game series which dates back to 1991 and was the second most points scored overall. The win evened the series to 14-14.  Alabama won in 2004 by a 114-78 score and won 105-84 in 1998. The win also snapped a two-game winning streak by Mississippi in the series.
    Broughton, a Rutgers signee, scored 11 points in the second half.
    Coaches Tim Miller of Hazel Green and Ricky Austin of Spring Garden saw six players score in double figures with Ajah Wayne of Ramsay leading with 17, followed by Broughton’s 16, Hannah Barber of Homewood and Karleigh Sledge of Deshler with 15 each, Eboni Williams of Hoover with 13, and Brooke Hampel with 10.  Barber was 4-of-5 from the 3-point arc, Broughton sank three and Williams was 4-of-4 at the foul line.  Williams also had nine rebounds, Wayne had nine and Jeremcya Harris of Blount had six. Wayne and Barber each had four assists, Williams and Broughton, three apiece.
    Mississippi was led by Chyna Leigh Allen of Harrison Central. She scored as game-high 27  points and sank 5-of-9 3-point goals. Mississippi game MVP was guard Tabreea Gandy of Starkville, who has seven points and five assists. Kealy Wilson of Horn Lake added 11 points and Kayla Simmons of Brandon had 10 points and nine rebounds.


By Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

Many parents are trying to live the dream through their sons and daughters – the dream of landing a college athletic scholarship by specializing in a sport year-round. Unfortunately, most of these dreams are never realized.

The odds of a sports scholarship paying for even a portion of a student’s college education are miniscule. 

The College Board, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions, reports that a moderate cost for college students who attend a public university in their state of residence is $25,290 per year. The annual cost at a private college averages $50,900.

Meanwhile, the most recent data from the NCAA reveals that the average Division I athletic scholarship is worth only $10,400.  More significantly, the same study shows that fewer than two percent of all high school athletes (1 in 54) ever wear the uniform of an NCAA Division I school.

Even if the dream is realized, parents likely will spend more money for club sports than they ever regain through college athletic scholarships. Thanks to the costs of club fees, equipment, summer camps, playing in out-of-state tournaments and private coaching, youth sports has become a $15 billion-per-year industry.

There is an option, and it’s a financially viable one: Encourage your sons and daughters to play sports at their high school.

In education-based high school sports, student-athletes are taught, as the term implies, that grades come first. The real-life lessons that students experientially learn offer insights into leadership, overcoming adversity and mutual respect that cannot be learned anywhere else. Unlike club sports, coaches in an education-based school setting are held accountable by the guiding principles and goals of their school district. And the cost of participating in high school sports is minimal in most cases. 

While there is a belief that the only way to get noticed by college coaches is to play on non-school travel teams year-round, many Division I football and basketball coaches recently have stated that they are committed to recruiting students who have played multiple sports within the high school setting.

In addition, by focusing on academics while playing sports within the school setting, students can earn scholarships for academics and other talents—skill sets oftentimes nurtured while participating in high school activities. These scholarships are more accessible and worth more money than athletic scholarships. While $3 billion per year is available for athletic scholarships, more than $11 billion is awarded for academic scholarships and other financial assistance.

Without a doubt, your sons and daughters will have more fun, make more friends and be better prepared for life beyond sport by participating in multiple sports and activities offered by the high school in your community. 

Carroll’s Adams Records 5 Assists as 13 Eagles Score 1 Goal Each in Soccer Win

    MONTGOMERY – Freshman Julia Adams scored one goal and had a five assists as the Lady Eagles beat Charles Henderson 13-0 last week. Her performance would be enough to shine the AHSAA spotlight on Coach Dana Langford’s strong program.
   However, the Lady Eagles had 13 different players score a goal in the contest with no player scoring more than one to set an AHSAA State girls’ single-match soccer record has thrust the program into this week’s AHSAA Soccer Spotlight.
    The ability of Julia Adams and teammate Samantha Adams, who had one goal and three assists, to find open teammates was a key as Joanna Paris, Alexus Long, Emily Hayes, Audrey Mecklenburg, Makayla Johnson, Lilly Vasquez, Kailey Owen, Jamey McDonald, Emilee Pedroza, Alayna Yarbrough and Victoria Jester scored one goal each.
The five assists by Julia Adams ranks second all-time in the AHSAA Soccer Record Book, found online at www.ahsaa.com. The record (7) was set by Amy Bayles of Mars Hill Bible in a match versus West Morgan in 2005. Carly Sims of Guntersville set the season record (38) for assists in 2018, and Natalie Mooney of Arab holds the AHSAA girls’ career record for assists (106), set from 2008-13.
     The AHSAA boys’ single-game record for assists (6) was set by Desmond Ibie of Murphy in 2013 versus Baldwin County and equaled by Dothah’s Ahkaim Walden in a 9-1 win over Charles Henderson in 2014.
      Coaches are encouraged to report top team or individual performances each week by Monday morning, 9 a.m., by emailing ringram@ahsaa.com

Captured the 100th victory of his boys’ soccer coaching career when the Raiders beat Huntsville rival Westminster Christian 2-0 last week. Tomlinson, in his seventh season, is now 100-37-15 with six trips to the AHSAA Final Four, five appearances in the state finals and two state titles.
     Other top performances reported last week included:

MALLORY SEARS, FAIRHOPE: Scored four goals in the second half to force a 4-4 tie into overtime and then scored the winning goal, her fifth of the match, in the extra period to give the Pirates a 5-4 win over Foley.
SAMANTHA KING, MARS HILL BIBLE: Had three goals and had an assist in the Panthers’ 4-0 win over Clements.
CLAIRE BORDEN, FLORENCE: Borden scored two goals in the Falcons’ 4-0 victory over Russellville.
LIZZIE HILL, VESTAVIA HILLS: Got free on a break-a-way in the second half to deliver the go-ahead goal in the Rebels’ 4-2 win over Oak Mountain. Senior Taylor Korn, who scored two goals, added a late goal to provide the final cushion.
SARA BURGREEN & TERESA MIGUEL, DECATUR: Each scored three goals in a 10-0 win over Columbia.
HELENA JANKOWSKI, WEST MORGAN: Posted three goals in a 5-2 win over Mars Hill Bible.
KYLEE BERNDT, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Had two goals and two assists and teammate Mary Reid Goodwin also had two goals and two assists as Westbrook Christian downed Susan Moore 10-0.

ANGEL DELGADO, WEST MORGAN: Finished with four goals in a 10-0 win against Athens Bible.
NICK IBANEZ, HOOVER: Had a key second-half goal to spark a four-goal rally in a 4-0 win over John Carroll Catholic, and he followed with a game-winning goal at the 49th minute versus Vestavia Hills in a 2-1 victory.
COLE LITTLE, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Had four goals in a 6-0 win over UMS-Wright to give him 27 goals scored already this season.

Struggling with his putting this season, Lee grabbed his dad’s old putter and saw marked improvement shooting even-par 72 to lead the Raiders to a 312-338 win over Providence Christian at Highland Oaks Golf Course last week.
 He recorded two birdies on the front side and made the turn at 2-under. He sank a 20-foot putt on a par 5 for a birdie to earn medalist honors.
Emmett Lee’s father probably won’t be getting his old putter back. Teammate Hal Dove shot 1-over 73, and PCA’s Thomas Ponder also shot a 73.

Was undefeated in three matches at the Weinacker Invitational tourney at Birmingham-Southern. She posted wins over Mountain Brook, UMS-Wright and Vestavia Hills and teamed with Katherine Scott to win at No. 1 doubles over UMS-Wright.

Obadiah Threadgill Legacy Stretches Four Generations with Sumter County family

                          By Bill Plott
                                          AHSAA Historian


        Retired Notasulga High School basketball coach Obadiah Threadgill III was born into a family of educators. Both of his parents were teachers, and his father, Obadiah Threadgill II, coached and officiated in the Sumter County area.
         In addition, his brother Kenneth Threadgill taught and coached basketball at Livingston High School, winning a state championship in 2003.  Another brother, Reginald Threadgill, is a longtime basketball official in the Jefferson County area.

          That legacy has now extended into a fourth generation. Obadiah’s wife Joyce is a career elementary school teacher. Their son, Obadiah Threadgill IV, the head boys’ basketball coach at LaFayette High School, has already coached a state championship team at LaFayette, and his wife Shernika is cheerleader coach.
          It all started with Obadiah Threadgill I, said Obadiah III, who has been selected to be enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. “He was the son of slaves,” he said, “and a God-fearing man who knew the importance of getting an education.”

          Pam Langford, Dadeville High School administrator and a former Notasulga teacher, in her letter nominating Threadgill for the Hall of Fame, said there is still another legacy.

“Athletics serve an important role in the lives of many young people,” Langford said. “Coach Threadgill has used his love of basketball and his coaching ability to give many student-athletes an opportunity to be successful. However, as a school principal, parent and friend, it is his character that I admire and appreciate the most! Not only did Coach Threadgill teach kids to be winners on the court, he taught them to be winners in life.
            “His examples of integrity, work ethic, perseverance and compassion were so important for our students. Now, thousands of his students and athletes are adults. It warms my heart to know that those characteristics have helped them be successful in life.”
           Langford said Threadgill’s influence didn’t top there.
           “I see [them] instilling those winning characteristics in their own children,” she said. “Coach Threadgill’s positive impact will go on forever.”
           Threadgill attend Sumter County Training School, graduating in 1965. He attended Tuskegee University, graduating in 1970. He later earned a master’s degree from Auburn University in 1980.

          A Vietnam veteran, Threadgill went into military service after his graduation from Tuskegee. He served from 1970-72. Out of the Army, he returned home to Sumter County and accepted the position of director of the Sumter County Head Start Center.

In 1973 he moved to Macon County, first as teacher and coach at Tuskegee Public Middle School from 1973-74, and then at Deborah C. Wolfe High School from 1974-77. From 1977-81 he held a similar position at Tuskegee Institute High School.

In 1981 he accepted the position of teacher and head basketball coach at Notasulga High School where he served through 2002.

Notasulga in the 1960s and 1970s was a town with difficult integration issues. Those issues were overcome by a community that came together. Macon County Board of Education member Karey Thompson recalled that situation in his letter.

“Dwight Sanderson and Buddy Knapp, along with Principal Robert Anderson, became legendary leaders at Notasulga, having navigated an uncharted journey of school desegregation in the early 1970s not only in the athletic program but also in academic achievement and positive community relations. In 1974 a television crew (BBC/England) visited the campus of NHS, recording the school’s story and later aired to a national and international audience, a documentary of Notasulga’s success.

“In Notasulga, Coach Threadgill is viewed much the same as Sanderson-Knapp-Anderson. If the Blue Devils had a Mt. Rushmore, the four mentioned would receive priority placement. In 2014, in a combined project, by act of the Macon County Commission, Macon County Board of Education and Town of Notasulga, Notasulga High School honored the legendary coaches by naming the football stadium Sanderson-Knapp Football Stadium and the gym Obadiah Threadgill Gymnasium. NHS Principal Robert Anderson (deceased) will receive special recognition at a later date.”
            When he retired after a 30-year teaching and coaching career, Threadgill’s coaching legacy included:

·         More than 900 wins coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball at varsity and JV levels.

·         Two boys’ state championships in 1987 and 1992; one girls’ state championship in 2001; two state tournament runners-up.

·         Nine Final 48 appearances, including three in a row in girls’ basketball.

·         Nine consecutive Southeast Region appearances.

·         State Coach of the Year for boys in 1987 and 1992 and for girls in 2001,  and six Region Coach of the Year awards in boys’ basketball and six in girls’ basketball.

·         Coached both boys’ and girls’ teams in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.

·         Notasulga High School Gymnasium was named in his honor.


Dr. Lenda Jo Connell, wife of principal Anderson, said Threadgill’s strong character was the key.
         “Character can be formed in many ways,” she said. “Coach Threadgill’s unshakeable character came from a rock-solid family who valued faith, family and education leveled with a good dose of humor! This is a dedicated, strong family that has left their mark and continues to leave their mark on high school athletics in the state of Alabama.

“Coach Threadgill is the type of gentleman whom you want influencing young people. A humble man, I never heard him say ‘I’. It was always ‘We’ when referring to his many successful endeavors. Because of his commitment, dedication, and willingness to work together, Notasulga High School stands today as a testament to men like Coach Threadgill, who believed that (education-based) athletics could build young men and women and community.”  
SATURDAY: Edward Wood’s impact still strong after four decades.

Piedmont Coach Tommy Lewis Steps Down After 602 Victories – and Many More Memories

                     By JOE MEDLEY
                                       The Anniston Star
                                      (Published Thursday, March 15)

    ANNISTON – Tommy Lewis has a real simple philosophy about philosophy about winning in high school basketball. Area championships matter.
     “I always told people, you’ve got to learn how to win close to your house first,” Lewis said.
     Lewis — who has won 602 games and 22 area titles over 31 seasons at Gaylesville, Spring Garden, Cherokee County and Piedmont — has resigned at Piedmont. The Piedmont Board of Education approved his resignation Wednesday.
     The 57-year-old Lewis stopped short of calling it retirement, saying his possible return to coaching is “50-50.” He said he’s starting to repeat his stories at Piedmont, and he hopes that his stepping aside creates opportunities for long-time assistants Jonathan Odam (17 years) and Matt Glover (12 years).
    “It’s been a great experience, and plus, Coach Odam’s son (Alex) is coming on,” Lewis said. “Coach Odam has been helping me for so long, and it’s time he got a chance.
    “JoJo works there, and his wife works there, and he’s got two sons in the system. Matt works there, and he’s got a wife. For them to find a job, it’s going to take a whole lot of picking up and moving. For me, it’s not.”
    Lewis’ resume speaks volumes.
   His career record stands at 602-342. Records from the mid-1900s can be sketchy, but he’s believed to be one of only 25 coaches in the history of Alabama high school boys basketball to reach the 600-win mark. He recorded his 600th on Feb. 9, against Glencoe.
    Lewis’ teams have won at least one area title at each of the four schools where he coached. He’s taken 15 teams to regionals tournament with five advancing to the state tournament — Spring Garden in 1989, Cherokee County in 2006 and Piedmont in 2010, 2011, and 2015.
    Lewis coached 12 seasons at Piedmont, winning nine area titles and reaching the Northeast Regional nine times. The 2015 team finished as Class 3A runner-up.
    His 226 wins at Piedmont mark the most in the school’s near-100-year history.
    “When you come into our gym, we try to have banners that reflect the success of all of our athletic teams, male and female,” said Steve Smith, Piedmont’s football coach and athletics director, who lured Lewis to the school. “You look at our boys basketball banner, and it’s just littered with a ton of success over the last 12 years.”
     Piedmont hired Smith in 2006, and Lewis was among his first hiring targets. At the time, Lewis was coaching Cherokee County’s Final Four team.
     “There weren’t a lot of people that even wanted to talk to me about the job,” said Smith, who came to Piedmont from Cedar Bluff, also in Cherokee County. “He was somebody that I kind of zeroed in. I was just thinking maybe a shot in the dark, because he’d done so well there.”
     Smith lauded Lewis as “a team player,” always understanding of the school’s frequent deep playoff runs in football and the late starts several multisport players get in basketball.
     Lewis saved one of his best coaching jobs at Piedmont for last. His final Piedmont team had five new starters and six new players among the top seven yet finished 21-12, reaching the Northeast Regional final before losing to eventual state champion Plainview.
    “Having some sort of either loss or altered version of your top seven players in your rotation from last year and getting to the ‘Elite Eight’ again, it speaks wonders to his ability to be able to adapt, to play with the hand that he’s dealt and get the most out of the guys,” Smith said.
     Part of the reason Lewis came back for this past season was because he didn’t want to leave his potential replacement with a young team.
     “When we were looking at the schedule, Coach Glover and I, and we were having a tough time finding eight or 10 wins,” Lewis said. “That was if we caught some breaks.
      “As far as expectations, this may be the team that exceeded what we thought they’d do, farther than any team we’ve had.”

Tommy Lewis Collected Many Memories thru the Years

                      (Published in The Anniston Star, Friday, March 16)

      ANNISTON – It’s not every day that a 600-win coach steps down, but Tommy Lewis is not every 600-win coach.
      He put Piedmont boys’ basketball on the map in his 12 years there — winning nine area titles and taking the Bulldogs to three Final Fours — but stands out for perspective.
      As Piedmont football coach and athletics director Steve Smith quickly points out, Lewis never complained about the Bulldogs’ regular deep playoff runs in football. It meant late and slow starts for Lewis’ basketball teams, which rostered several football players, but there was a bigger picture.
      Lewis always had athletes and kids who got winning.
     The 57-year-old Lewis, a 31-year head coach, is a loyal guy who talks fondly about people one “collects” over a long coaching career. That includes 17-year assistant Jonathan Odam, whom Lewis collected at Cherokee County, and 12-year assistant Matt Glover.
     That doesn’t begin to cover how Lewis feels about former players he collected, but then he showed that in an all-too-Tommy moment at the 2010 Final Four. The Bulldogs were down eight points to Greene County inside the final minute, likely too far down to come back but not beyond a miracle, yet he gave reserves Chase Childers, Coltin Allison, Jalen Johnson, Derrick Jackson and Jamie Major floor time on the big stage.
     According to box score on AHSAA.com, they played “0+” minutes.
     Final score: Greene County 46, Piedmont 41 and a memory for kids who didn’t play much, even if one trip up and down the floor.
     Lewis believes in that. From the time he coached Spring Garden in the first boys Northeast Regional game in 1994, he believes in it.
     A coach who will do that, yet wins 600 games at four schools, is special.

Alabama Boys Add Cordova Senior Jayce Willingham to All-Star Roster

CLINTON (MS) – Alabama All-Star’s All-Star boys’ team added Cordova High School senior Jayce Willingham Wednesday to replace Ashford’s  LaDarius Knight, who withdrew from the team for personal reasons.
       Willingham participated in all three Alabama all-star practices Wednesday, said Alabama All-Star Coach Robi Coker. The 6-foot-5 Willingham helped Cordova win the Class 4A state championship this season, averaging 22.8 points per game, 10.7 rebounds and shooting 79.2 percent at the foul line. He joins teammate Isaac Chatman and Cordova head coach Heath Burns, who is also coaching the Alabama All-Stars.  Willingham, who earned a spot on the Class 4A State Tourney team, had a career high 56 points in a 102-93 overtime win over South Lamar in the regular season. He sank 17-of-18 free throws in that game.
       The Alabama All-Stars had two workouts Thursday and a 7 p.m., shoot-around with one walk through practice scheduled for Friday morning. The 28th annual Alabama-Mississippi All Star Basketball Games, which are co-sponsored by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) and the AHSAA’s Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA),   will tip off on Friday at the A. E. Wood Coliseum, Mike Jones Court, on the campus of Mississippi College here at 5 p.m., with the girls’  game. The boys’ game will follow at 7 p.m.
      “We have a great bunch of guys who are enjoyable to be around,” Coker said. “You can tell they like each other. They have been a very cohesive group.”
       Alabama holds a 14-13 edge in the boys’ series and Mississippi holds a 14-13 edge in the girls’ series. Mississippi is riding a two-game winning streak in both camps.
       Coker, who coached Plainview to a Class 3A state title this past season while setting the AHSAA single-season marks for 3-point shots attempted and made, said the coaches like the leadership they have seen – especially at the guard position. He said Huffman’s Travarus Carroll, Mountain Brook’s Sean Elmore and Hoover’s Jamari Blackmon have all stood out along with his own point guard from Plainview, Jeffery Armstrong.
      “We are trying to find the right combinations, and it looks like we probably use a lot of combinations,” Coker said. Big men inside, 6-9 Xavier Williams of Parker, 6-9 Dylan Robertson of Paul Bryant and 6-9 Logan Dye of Haleyville, have a nice touch around the goal but may be out-beefed by Mississippi’s inside players, Coker said.  “That’s why we will be depending on our guards to set the tempo.”
      Mississippi’s top big man appears to be 6-9 Javarian Fleming of Canton, who is heading to Alabama.
      Austin said the Alabama girls are also close-knit.  “They really have bonded quickly,” said Austin, who is coaching the team along with Tim Miller of Hazel Green. Austin guided Spring Garden to the 1A state title this past season and Miller directed the Trojans to the 6A crown.
      “It is amazing just how close these girls have gotten,” said Austin. “They sing together in the bus wherever we go. And they sing pretty good I might say, even though they are singing songs I don’t really know.”
      Alabama’s girls are anchored by SEC signees guards Hannah Barber of Homewood (Alabama), Caitlin Hose of Hazel Green (Georgia) and forward Allie Craig Cruce of Lauderdale County (Alabama).
    Mississippi won both games in Montgomery in Montgomery last year with the girls taking a 93-86 decision and the boys, winning 96-91.
     The games will be produced and televised via live-streaming on the FNUTL network (fnutl.com) and the MAC Network.  The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the contests over their network of radio stations and internet outlets. Go to www.ahsaa.com for links.







NO.      NAME                                       POS     HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE


  2         DeANTHONY TIPLER               PG       5-11      ASHLAND                     undecided

  3         DaQUAN SMITH                       G          6-2        HOLLY SPRINGS         MURRAY STATE

  4         DEWAYNE STEWART              F          6-6        RIVERSIDE                  MISS. STATE

10         GABE WATSON                       G          6-3        ST. JOSEPH (Madison)   SOUTHERN MISS

11         GARRISON WADE                   F          6-6        ST. ANDREW’S            undecided

12         MILES MILLER                         G          6-3        MERIDIAN                    undecided

15         TYRON BREWER                     F          6-6        MERIDIAN                    undecided

22         LADARIUS MARSHALL            F          6-7        FOREST HILL              undecided

23         TYLER STEVENSON                F          6-7        NEW HOPE                  undecided

25         ROBERT WOODARD               F          6-6        COLUMBUS                  MISS. STATE

30         JAVIAN FLEMING                    C          6-9        CANTON                       ALABAMA

33         KAMARIAN WILLIAMS             C          6-8        CLEVELAND CENTRAL   MURRAY STATE


HEAD COACH:                        KIM WINDOM, PORT GIBSON










NO.      NAME                                        POS    HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE


3          TRAVARUS CARROLL             G          6-2        HUFFMAN                    ITAWAMBA CC

4          JAMARI BLACKMON                G          6-0        HOOVER                      undecided

10         DIANTE WOOD                         G          6-5        SACRED HEART          ALABAMA

11         JARED SHERFIELD                 G          6-5        PAUL W. BRYANT        TENNESSEE TECH

12         ANQUAEVIOUS POLLARD       F          6-7        LANETT                       INDEPENDENCE CC

15         JAYCE WILLINGHAM               G          6-5        CORDOVA                    undecided

20         JEFFERY ARMSTRONG           PG       5-11      PLAINVIEW                  undecided

21         DYLAN ROBERTSON               C          6-9        PAUL W. BRYANT        WINGATE

23         LOGAN DYE                            G          6-9        HALEYVILLE                SAMFORD

24         ISAAC CHATMAN                     F          6-6        CORDOVA                    undecided

25         SEAN ELMORE                        G          6-1        MOUNTAIN BROOK     NORTH ALABAMA

34         XAVIER WILLIAMS                   C          6-9        A. H. PARKER              undecided


HEAD COACH:                         ROBI COKER, PLAINVIEW












NO.      NAME                                       POS     HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE


00         JARIYAH COVINGTON             PG       5-3        STARKVILLE                undecided

2          KYANNAH GRANT                   G          5-7        CHOCTAW CENTRAL   undecided

3          TABREEA GANDY                    PG       5-3        STARKVILLE                ITAWAMBA CC

4          KYARRAH GRANT                   G          5-7        CHOCTAW CENTRAL   undecided

10         CHYNA LEIGH ALLEN             G          5-6        HARRISON CENTRAL  JONES JC       

11         MAHOGANY VAUGHT              G          5-7        OLIVE BRANCH            SOUTH ALABAMA

12         KEALY WILSON                       G          5-9        HORN LAKE                 undecided

20         JATYJIA JONES                      G          5-9        INGOMAR                     undecided

23         DESTINY SMITH                       G          6-0        McCOMB                      SOUTHERN MISS

25         AMBER GASTON                     F          6-3        WARREN CENTRAL     FLORIDA ATLANTIC

33         DAPHANE WHITE                    C          6-5        ST. MARTIN                 MISS. STATE

34         KAYLA SIMMONS                    F          6-0        BRANDON                    undecided

INJ       KAVACI-A JOHNSON               PG       5-4        BYHALIA                      CENTRAL ARKANSAS



HEAD COACH:                         JANNA THOMPSON, HORN LAKE










NO.      NAME                                       POS     HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE                   


3          HANNAH BARBER                   PG       5-6        HOMEWOOD                ALABAMA

4          EBONI WILLIAMS                    F          6-0        HOOVER                      UT CHATTANOOGA

10         CAITLIN HOSE                         G          5-10      HAZEL GREEN             GEORGIA

11         CLAIRE HOLT                          PG       5-8        SPAIN PARK                RICHMOND

12         ALLIE CRUCE                          G/F       6-1        LAUDERDALE CTY      ALABAMA

15         AJAH WAYNE                          G/F       5-10      RAMSAY                      OLD DOMINION

20         DAISHA BRADFORD                PG       5-8        LEFLORE                     undecided

21         KARLEIGH SLEDGE                F          6-0        DESHLER                     JACKSONVILLE ST.

24         JERMECYA HARRIS                F          6-0        MATTIE T. BLOUNT      LOUISIANA TECH

25         ZIPPORAH BROUGHTON         PG       5-9        R. E. LEE                     RUTGERS

34         BROOKE HAMPEL                   G/F       5-10      HAZEL GREEN             MISSOURI (K.C.)

40         MAYA BUCKHANON                 C          6-2        TALLADEGA                MEMPHIS



HEAD COACH:                         TIM MILLER, HAZEL GREEN




Spain Park Delivers 800th Career Coaching Win to Coach C.J. Hawkins

MONTGOMERY -- Spain Park High School freshman pitcher Annabelle Widra hurled a two-hitter, Lexi Thompson and Maddie Majors slugged home runs as the Jaguars softball team beat Alabama Christian 5-0 in a softball game in late February.
    The victory over the strong Eagles was the 800th career win for Jaguars head softball coach C.J. Hawkins.  That milestone win headlines the first AHSAA Softball Spotlight of the 2018 season.
    “Where did the years go,” said Hawkins in retrospect. “This is my 11th year at Spain Park after spending 11 years at Clay-Chalkville. Throw in three years at the middle school level and it is truly amazing.”
    Hawkins, currently 809-351 in 22 seasons, built Clay-Chalkville into one of the premier teams in the AHSAA. When she moved to Spain Park for the 2008 season, the program had never had a winning season. It took three years before finishing above .500 at 26-24. Since then, the Jags have been among the top teams in the state as well.
      A standout shortstop and multi-sport athlete in high school at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, she attended Ohio State University where she was an Academic All-Big 10 selection.
     Her first job in Alabama was at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School. She then started the softball program at Clay. Three players off her 1999 Clay team signed college scholarships. Since then, the total number is approaching 60.
    Spain Park finished 48-9 last season and is off to a 14-2 start in 2018. The Jags went 6-0 to win the Sidney Cooper Invitational for the second straight year.
    The milestone win edged out a 21-srtrikeout performance by pitcher Lauren Quigley Guntersville. The senior hurled a 3-hitter and struck out 21 in a seven-inning 7-1 win over Crossville.
     The 21 strikeouts was one shy of the AHSAA 7-inning record (22) set by Eufaula’s India Kornegay versus G.W. Long in 2009. Only three other pitchers have been reported as striking out 21 in a 7-inning game: Kornegay versus Charles Henderson in 2010; Bree Blevins of Spring Garden vs Lynn in the 2009 Class 1A state tournament; and Lauren Webster of Alabama Christian in 2008.

     Other highlights reported include:

ALEA JOHNSON, FAIRHOPE: Slugged two home runs and a single to drive in seven runs as the Pirates beat Lebanon (TN) 11-1.
JORDAN HOLCOMB, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Hurled 4-2 win over Bayside Academy, allowing six hits and striking out 11. She also had three hits and three RBIs.
SAVANNAH CREEL, ALMA BRYANT: Collected a single, two doubles and six RBIs in a 23-4 win over Murphy.
LORI TERRY, EAST LAWRENCE: Slugged two home runs and had three RBIs in a 10-0 win over Tharptown. The Eagles slugged four homers with Briley Pitt and Anna Kate Segars with one each. Pitt finished with four RBIs and also had four RBIs versus West Morgan.
JOHNNA STAGGS, WILSON: Staggs hit four home runs – two in each game – as the Warriors routed Colbert County and Russellville.
JABBY TERRELL, NORTHVIEW: Slugged a grand-slam home run to highlight an eight-run third inning as the Cougars beat Geneva 9-4 at the Geneva Invitational tourney. She finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
OLIVIA WILBORN, DECATUR: Had three hits and five RBIs in a 15-8 win over Brewer.
HANNAH MYNARD, ENTERPRISE: Hurled three shutouts at the Wetumpka Invitational to help the Wildcats reach the semifinals of the tourney. She blanked Central-Phenix City 2-0 on one hit with six strikeouts, whiffed six in a 2-0 shutout over Holtville and also hurled a 3-0 win over Vestavia Hills.
ANNIE LAURA CLAYTON, EUFAULA: Hurled a five-inning no-hitter to bet Lee-Montgomery 5-0 in the Wetumpka Invitational. She had 10 strikeouts and one walk in the win.
LEANNA JOHNSON, BRANTLEY: Was 4-1 in the Wetumpka Invitational with 43 strikeouts and two shutouts. The Class 1A Bulldogs reached the championship game. Brantley improved to 15-1 on the season.
KAITLYN CLARK, GARDENDALE: Pitched 39 innings and posted five wins in the Calhoun CC Invitational. Among the victories was a 1-hit shutout over defending Class 6A state champion Hazel Green.
ALLIE BOUTWELL, DALE COUNTY: Collected four hits, including two home runs, in the second inning, and had two RBIs in a 21-3 win over Abbeville.
HANNAH POPWELL, HEADLAND: Slugged a double, triple and home run to account for three RBIs as the Rams beat Daleville 13-1.
CHLOE NANCE, GENEVA: Had two singles in the first inning to highlight a seven-run rally and the Panthers held on for an 8-0 win over Providence Christian.
Was 7-of-14 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, three walks and five RBIs last week. She also had a triple and homer in an 11-1 win over John Carroll.

Josh Hall Swipes 165th Stolen Base To Set New AHSAA Career Record

MONTGOMERY – Homewood High School senior Josh Hall set the AHSAA single-season stolen base record as a sophomore in 2016 with 81 in 45 games. He added another notch to his records chase earlier this week when he swiped the 165th stolen base of his prep career in an 11-1 Patriots win over John Carroll Catholic.
    Hall grabs the first AHSAA Baseball Spotlight of the 2018 season for his efforts.
    The senior outfielder spent the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons at Randolph in Huntsville where his dad Lee Hall served as head coach. Homewood hired Hall as its new head coach replacing Doug Gann, who moved to athletic director. Son Josh hasn’t missed a beat at his new school.
     Josh, who batted .485 last season, has signed with Ole Miss. He started the season ranked fourth on the AHSAA career stolen bases chart behind previous leader Scottie Burdeshaw of Slocomb, who had 164 steals from 2005-10 for the Red Tops. Lance Taylor of Athens Bible finished his prep career with 151 (1998-2002) and Tranon Frederick of Hackleburg was third with 146 from 2002-06. Hall started the season with 142 and has 27 in the first 14 games in 2018, including five in the win over John Carroll.
     "Just to have the opportunity to coach him the last four years and to watch him set this record has been very rewarding as coach," Coach Hall told Daniel Boyette of Al.com. "(It is) doubly rewarding when you're in the third-base coaches’ box as dad. To be able to watch 165 is a feeling that is really indescribable.
     “Years ago, I walked away from being a college coach so I could be part of my kids' dreams and today was one of those special moments that confirms to me that I made the right decision to get into high school coaching."
     The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Hall now has his sights on the NFHS National Record (210), which was set by Tim Dressler of Waltonville (IL) from 1981-84. Dressler went on to earn All-America honors at the University of Missouri in the late 1980s. Hall needs 46 more this season to surpass that mark.
    Hall’s brother Carson, who graduated from Randolph last spring, set the AHSAA career saves record as a pitcher (20). He is now a college freshman hurler at Memphis.
    The stolen-base performance edged out a clutch effort by Providence Christian’s Dylan Hasty, who drove in teammate Jon Lewis for the winning run with a single in the top of the 10th inning as the Eagles beat defending 2A state champion G.W. Long 5-4 at the Southeast Invitational tourney last week. The victory was the fourth for Providence in the last five games at Skipperville, which included a 13-12 thriller that went eight innings in the same tourney last year.
     Hasty also plated a go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly, but the Rebels tied the game again in the bottom of the eighth when Keigan Munn executed a perfect bases-loaded, suicide squeeze bunt to the right side of the mound to drive in the tying run.
   Reliever Grayson Stewart hurled 5 2/3 innings in relief allowing three hits, one run and striking out seven to get the win. He struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning.

 Dylan Ray of Bob Jones poked a pair of three-run homers to finish with six RBIs in a 10-6 win over Austin. The victory was No. 100 in for Patriots Coach Jared Smith.  Cam Hill added a homer and double and winning pitcher John-Michael Riley also homered for Bob Jones.
Other top performances from the last week include:

CARSON SKIPPER, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Allowed just one hit and struck out 13 in a five-inning win over Southside-Gadsden. He also batted .583 with four doubles, a triple, scored five runs and had seven RBIs as the Huskies went 4-0 for the week.
SONNY DiCHIARA, HOOVER: Had a big week for the defending 7A state champion Bucs going 7-of-8 with one home run and seven RBIs. He also drew three walks and was hit by a pitch and reached base 11 times in 12 plate appearances.
VRAE MURPHY, THEODORE: Had a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Bobcats a 4-3 win over West Harrison (MS).
JACK SMALLWOOD, AUSTIN: Drove in the winning run in the top of the eighth inning as the Black Bears downed defending Class 5A state champion Russellville 7-6. The Tigers rebounded to win the second game of the doubleheader 11-4.
LANDON GREEN, HELENA: Fired s 2-hitter over five innings and struck out 14 to notch a 6-3 win over Thompson.
DALTON ADKISON, NEW BROCKTON: Slugged a bases-loaded triple in the third inning and scored on a throwing error to account for all his team’s runs in the Gamecocks’ 4-2 victory over Geneva.
TRISTAN WOODHAM, DALE COUNTY: Executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in the eighth inning to plate teammate Cole Deloney as the Warriors edged Geneva County 9-8.
TRENTON GREEN, WATERLOO: Hurled a no-hitter as Waterloo beat Tharptown 9-1. Green allowed only one walk, struck out 14 and one unearned run.
BRENDON CASE, CHELSEA: Hurled a no-hitter and struck out nine in a shutout win over Briarwood Christian. He threw just 86 pitches in the 2-0 triumph for the Hornets (12-3).
CHANDLER BEST, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Tossed a no-hitter and struck out 10 in a 3-0 win over Smiths Station. He walked three.
COLE HENRY, FLORENCE: Pitched a 1-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts as Florence cruised to a 7-0 victory over Buford (GA).
MADDUX HERRING, ARITON: Pitched a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the Crenshaw County Invitational tourney before yielding a one-out single to settle for a one-hitter in the 13-0 win over Highland Home. He struck out five and walked none.  Ariton led 6-0 heading into the top of the seventh but exploded for seven unearned runs. Herring finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a solo homer in the fifth inning.
TUCKER RHODES, WILSON: Led the Warriors to 10-2 win over Montgomery Academy with a 3-run triple and two-run single for five RBIs. He also pitched a 5-hitter and struck out six to get the win.
LUKE WHITAKER, VESTAVIA HILLS: Was 6-of-9 with three homers and five RBIs in three games for the Rebels.
ETHAN WELLS, WICKSBURG: Slugged two doubles, a single and drove in three runs as the Panthers beat Headland 8-3 to snap the Rams’ 10-game season-opening winning streak. He followed with a double and single and two RBIs in a 13-6 win over Bayside Academy.
TANNER JACKSON, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Had four hits, including two singles, a triple and double, and drove in four runs in the Raiders’ 17-0 win over Daleville.
MACK WISE, BRANTLEY: Slugged a grand slam to pace a 16-6 Bulldogs’ win over Straughn.
GARRETT WADE, HARTSELLE: Went 5-for-7 in a 10-7, 10-6 sweep of Grissom. He had one double and five RBIs. The left-hander hurled a one-hitter and struck out nine in a 3-1 win over Muscle Shoals.
CHRISTIAN MACLEOD, HUNTSVILLE:  Hurled a four-hitter and struck out 10 over five innings to post the win as the Panthers beat Florence 9-3. He also had three hits with a double and one RBI.
MIKE EVANS, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Was 4-for-4 with five RBIs in a 14-0 win over Goshen.