Midfield, Barbour Co., Holly Pond, Lauderdale Co. Win In 3A;
Ramsay, Parker Boys; Wenonah, Sylacauga Girls In 5A Title Games
Midfield and Barbour County will square off in the Class 3A boys’ finals and Holly Pond will go against Lauderdale County in the girls’ title game after semifinal wins on day three of the AHSAA Final 48 State Basketball Championships at Birmingham’s BJCC Arena.
The Class 5A boys’ title game will be an all-Birmingham affair between Ramsay and Parker, and Sylacauga and Wenonah advanced to the Class 5A girls’ finals.
Championship games begin Friday with state titles up for grabs in Classes 1A, 2A and 6A.
CLASS 3A BOYS
Midfield 64, Saks 51
The Patriots (25-7) of Coach Darrell Barber advanced to the Class 3A state championship game for the second time in three years with the win over Saks (17-8).
Jermaine Turner scored 22 points, Aaron Gaines added 18 and Joseph Murry added 10 as Midfield overcame a poor free-throw shooting performance (13-of-30) with a defense that caused 20 Wildcats turnovers. The Patriots will play Barbour County (22-11) in the championship game Saturday at 3 p.m.
Alvin Murry had nine points and 11 rebounds for Midfield and Gaines had four steals.
Saks, coached by Jonathan Miller, placed three players in double figures with Darion Coleman and Daniel Heard scoring 12 each and Devin Harris adding 10. Heard and Harris each had seven rebounds.
Barbour County 43, Madison Academy 40
Emanuel Thompson sank three key free throws and Stephon Walton sank two in the final 35 seconds as the Jaguars (22-11) held on to win. Madison Academy guard Zachary Meredith sank two key 3-pointers in the final 27 seconds to keep the Mustangs in striking distance.
Thompson finished with 14 points for Coach Raymond White’s Barbour County team and was 6-of-7 at the foul line. James Grubbs added 12 points, and Walton and Christian Patterson also had eight each. Walton also had four steals and Patterson cleared eight rebounds.
Madison Academy (21-14), coached by Andy Blackston, was paced by Naquan Cothron’s 13 points. Zachary Bogardus added nine points and seven rebounds, and Meredith had seven points. He was 2-of-4 from the 3-point line, but the Mustangs were cold all night hitting only 4-of-20 from outside the arc.
White, the state’s active boys’ win leader with 753 wins, guided the Jaguars to state titles in 2001, 2009 and 2012 and to runner-up finishes in 2007, 2008 and 2011.
CLASS 3A GIRLS
Holly Pond 63, Trinity Presbyterian 37
Holly Pond rolled into the Class 3A girls’ state finals for the second year in a row with the win over Trinity Presbyterian. Coach Scott Adams’ Broncos (32-3) will take on defending champion Lauderdale County (37-0) for the second straight year in the finals Saturday at 1 p.m.
Rachel Finley paced the win with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Natasha Holcombe added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Megan Gambrill had 14 points. Holly Pond sank nine 3-pointers with five different players hitting at least one.
Trinity (26-3), coached by Blake Smith, got 13 points from Leeanne Phillips and nine from Janie Hampton.
Lauderdale County 45, Straughn 23
Defending state champion Lauderdale County (37-0) moved into the championship game for the third straight year with a win over Straughn.
The Tigers won the state crown in 2012 and 2013 and will go for their third in a row and 11th overall at 1 p.m. Saturday. Coach Brant Llewellyn’s team is also one win away from completing an undefeated season. The 37 victories this season ties the AHSAA girls’ state record for wins in one year.
Chatara Cox had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Makayla Liles added 13 points and 12 rebounds to pace Lauderdale County. Carly O’Dell and Emma Wallen each had five steals. The Tigers’ defense forced 31 Straughn turnovers.
Straughn (28-2) was led by Jacie Williamson who had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Paige Taylor also had eight rebounds for Coach Scott Kinsaul’s team.
CLASS 5A BOYS
Ramsay 67, Central-Tuscaloosa 64
Ramsay senior forward Michael Baldwin sank four free throws in the final 50 seconds and Albert Luke drilled three as Ramsay nipped Central-Tuscaloosa.
Coach Kelly Cheatham’s Rams (23-13) will face Birmingham city rival Parker (22-6) in the 7 p.m. finals – the first time two teams from the Birmingham City School system have met in a championship game since Carver beat Parker 67-66 before a standing-room-only crowd at Coleman Coliseum in 1978. That crowd of more than 15,000 was the largest crowd in AHSAA history until Parker met John Carroll Catholic in the 2004 Class 6A finals. That game was the last time two Birmingham area schools met in a boys’ championship game.
Baldwin and teammate Jonathan Etheridge each finished with 18 points to lead Ramsay. Baldwin was 8-of-10 at the foul line. Jordan Millsap had 16 points including 6-of-7 free throws. Luke had 10 points and was 4-of-5 on free throws. Ramsay sank 22-of-30 for the game.
Jevaris Richey led Coach Robert Watson’s Falcons (20-8) with 23 points. Eddie Harris added 18.
Parker 47, Faith Academy 30
Birmingham’s Parker High School limited Faith Academy to only seven first-half points en route to the victory.
The Thundering Herd defense limited the Rams to just three field goals in the first half and only 12 for the game while forcing 12 turnovers.
Marquell Oliver scored 15 points and Bryant Gray added 11 to pace Parker (22-6). Coach Reginald McGary’s Herd also got eight points from Omari Williams.
Faith Academy (29-3), coached by John Price, was led by Shawntell Benard’s 10 points and five rebounds.
CLASS 5A GIRLS
Sylacauga 77, Brewer 53
Sylacauga overcame a 17-3 deficit in the first quarter as senior Shakayla Thomas scored 39 of her 40 points the rest of the way as the Aggies downed Brewer. Sylacauga (28-3) will meet Wenonah (26-7) in the championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Thomas made 14 field goals, was 12-of-19 at the foul line, had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in the comeback win. Coach Derrick Crawford also got a big performance from Tierra Dark, who scored 21 points, seven rebounds and seven steals. The Aggies trailed Brewer 25-9 after one quarter but outscored Brewer 43-10 over the second and third quarters to put the game away.
Coach Ricky Allen’s Patriots (28-8) were led by senior Riley Northway, who had 22 points in the first half and finished with 26. She also had 11 rebounds. Malerie Drinkard added 11 points and nine rebounds and Savana Flack had 11 rebounds.
Wenonah 90, B.C. Rain 43
Wenonah (26-7) jumped out to a 15-point first-quarter lead and then raced to victory over B.C. Rain.
The Lady Dragons of Coach Emanuel Bell advanced to the state finals for the second year in a row. Wenonah lost to Faith Academy last year in the 5A finals. Aja Cumbie scored 20 points on a 10-of-12 shooting performance. Jameka Holmes added 19 and Jayla Morrow had 14. Tiana Prince handed out six assists and Kaitlyn Rodgers had four steals.
B.C. Rain (27-6), coached by Derrick Gray, was led by Jamya Williams’ 18 points and 13 rebounds.