Mountain Brook, Shades Valley Grab 6A Titles;


Elba Boys, Woodland Girls, Brantley Girls, St. Jude Boys Win


     Mountain Brook fought off Blount to win its second straight Class 6A boys’ state title and Shades Valley grabbed the Class 6A girls’ championship with a hard-fought win over Sparkman in Friday’s action in the AHSAA Final 48 State Basketball Championships at Birmingham’s BJCC Arena.

     Elba knocked off Luverne to take the Class 2A boys’ state title and Woodland eased past Red Bay for the 2A girls’ crown. Earlier games saw St. Jude’s boys roll past Parrish and Brantley’s girls down Loachapoka in the 1A championship contests.

     Championship games for classes 4A, 3A and 5A are set for Saturday.


Class 6A Boys’ Finals

Mountain Brook 60, Blount 57

     Senior Patrick Keim sank two free throws with four seconds remaining to lift Mountain Brook to victory over Blount.
     Keim went to the line with Mountain Brook (34-3) clinging to a 58-57 lead. Earlier he sank a clutch 3-pointer at the 1:12 mark to put Coach Bucky McMillan’s Spartans ahead by three at 54-51. Keim finished with nine points.

     Class 6A state tourney MVP Tawarren Grant had 22 points before fouling out late in the game. Alex Peters added eight points, four rebounds and seven blocked shots, Jack Kline six points and Ben Shearer five steals for Mountain Brook. The Spartans forced 26 Blount turnovers.
     Blount (27-4), coached by Jeffery Pope, led 32-28 at the half and by one, 42-41, heading into the fourth quarter. Divine Myles led the Leopards with 23 points, hitting 9-of-10 free throws. Antonio Chapman added 17 points and Reginald Harbin had nine points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late.
    Mountain Brook won its first state title last season beating Sparkman in the finals.
    Class 6A All-State Tourney Team  
    Tawarren Grant, Mountain Brook (MVP); Alex Peters, Mountain Brook; Patrick Keim, Mountain Brook; Antonio Chapman, Blount; Divine Myles, Blount; Micah Fuller, Bessemer City;  Demetrius Houston, Carver-Montgomery.


Class 6A Girls’ Finals

Shades Valley 63, Sparkman 49

     Shades Valley trailed by five points heading into the fourth quarter but turned to its relentless press and great free-throw shooting to win their first state championship in school history.
     Senior 5-foot-4 guards Morgan William and Frantisha Tyson turned up the pressure in the front court and made their free throws when it counted. William, the 6A State Tournament MVP, was 17-of-21 at the foul line and finished with 21 points overall. She made 12-of-13 free throws in the final quarter.

     Tyson, who put Coach Tonya Hunter’s Mounties ahead for good 43-42 with four free throws in a 25-second span early in the fourth period, added 16 points. She sank 12-of-17 free throws for the game and was 10-of-11 in the final quarter. William led the Mounties with eight rebounds and five steals.
     Shades Valley was 36-of-50 at the foul line for the game. Sparkman was 10-of-11.
     Sparkman (33-3) came into the game with no losses to teams from the state of Alabama. Coach Patrick Delay’s Lady Senators got a 28-point, 19-rebound performance from 6-foot-1 senior center Alexis Jennings. Toni Brewer also had 10 points and Wynter Sales had four assists.
     Shades Valley’s Hunter, who played on a state title winner in the first Final 48 state tournament held at the BJCC 20 years ago with Eufaula High School, became one of only a handful of coaches who have now won Final 48 state titles as a player and head coach.
     Class 6A All-State Tourney Team  
     Morgan William, Shades  Valley (MVP); Frantisha Tyson, Shades Valley; Alexis Jennings, Sparkman; Toni Brewer, Sparkman; Cierra Johnson, Blount; Lavarsha Thigpen, Jeff Davis.


Class 2A Boys’ Finals

Elba 66, Luverne 61

     Elba outscored Luverne 36-24 in the second half to post a come-from-behind victory to claim its first state boys' championship.
     The rally started as the first half came to a close when guard Denzell Thomas sank a 3-point shot from the mid-court line to cut a 10-point Luverne lead to 37-30.
     Darrean Burks came up with one of the game’s biggest defensive plays with 1:26 left and Elba leading 59-58. He ran down a long pass that looked like it was leading to a sure Luverne lay-up, fired the ball to a teammate who then set up Martavious Gray for a 3-point goal at 1:15 to give Elba a four-point lead. Coach Richard Dorsey’s Tigers never recovered.
     Elba (27-2), which suffered two regular-season tournament losses to Luverne, was led by Gray’s 20 points. Cobe Goosby, who was named MVP for Coach Karl Bledsoe’s Tigers, added 17 points and 14 rebounds – seven coming on the offense. Goosby was 9-of-14 at the foul line. Gray also had 14 rebounds and four 3-pointers.  Thomas had 12 points including two treys.
     Luverne (25-3) got 20 points and eight rebounds from Quindarius Thagard and 17 points from Preston Sankey. Luverne’s 6-foot-9 junior center Donta’ Hall had early foul trouble and finished with seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
     Class 2A All-State Tourney Team  
     Cobe Goosby, Elba (MVP); Martavious Gray, Elba; Nicholas Green, Elba; Preston Sankey, Luverne; Donta’ Hall, Luverne; Quindarius Thagard, Luverne; Johnathan Fletcher, Tanner.


Class 2A Girls’ Finals

Woodland 65, Red Bay 52

     Tournament MVP Leah Strain scored 27 points for the Bobcats (34-1), and had seven rebounds and seven assists. She was also named MVP in 2013.
     Teammate Adriana Bowen added 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, Jaida Walker had eight points, Shanna Strain scored seven and Sharyn Strain six. Coach Larry Strain’s team out-rebounded Red Bay (32-4) 36-17.
     Red Bay, coached by Alabama’s all-time girls’ basketball career wins leader Donnie Roberts, fell behind 35-17 at halftime but shot 54.2 percent from the field in the second half to outscore Woodland 35-30. Allie Kennedy led the Tigers with 19 points and Kasey Sparks had 16.
     Leah Strain closed her prep career with 4,561 points. She also closed out her Final 48 with 62 points in two games and had 192 in six Final 48 games (2011, 2013, 2014). Strain ranks second all-time behind her older sister Courtney Strain, who scored 5,283 points in a career that spanned from 2004-10. Leah Strain also finished her career playing for her dad in 191 winning games with just 16 career losses – a state record. Woodland has gone 95-5 over the last three seasons and won 30 or more games all six years she started at point guard.
     Class 2A All-State Tourney Team  
     Leah Strain, Woodland (MVP); Adreona Bowen, Woodland; Kasey Sparks, Red Bay; Allie Kennedy, Red Bay; LaTascya Duff, Samson; Jade Brooks, Montgomery Academy.


Class 1A Boys’ Finals

St. Jude 65, Parrish 37

     St. Jude (24-5) captured its eighth AHSAA state basketball championship and 10th in school history with the win over Parrish.
     Parrish (28-3) scored the first bucket of the game, but Coach Earl Taylor’s Pirates responded by reeling off the next 21 points and led 37-16 by halftime.
     State tourney MVP Jacob Winston was hot, hitting 7-of-10 field goals including 3-of-6 from the 3-point arc. Winston was also 4-for-4 at the foul line and finished with 21 points. He also had 10 rebounds. Andrew Rogers added 18 points and LaDarius Brinson 10. The Pirates were 15-of-16 at the foul line with Winston, Rogers and Roderic Scott each 4-of-4.
     Coach Heath Burns’ Tornadoes were led by Labarrius Hill’s 16 points. Denzell Daley added 11 points and eight rebounds, and was 7-of-11 at the foul line.
     St. Jude has now won AHSAA state championships in five different decades with titles in 1973, 1977, 1985, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2013 and 2014. The Pirates also won two state championships as members of the AIAA before the two associations merged in 1968.
     Class 1A All-State Tourney Team  
     Jacob Winston, St. Jude (MVP); LaDarius Brinson, St. Jude; Andrew Rogers, St. Jude; Labarrius Hill, Parrish; Diante Wood, Sacred Heart; Cletrelle Pope, Sunshine.


Class 1A Girls’ Finals
Brantley 43, Loachapoka 31
     Junior forward Amahni Upshaw scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds to earn MVP honors as Brantley (27-5) beat Loachapoka.
     Teammate Payton Burnett added 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Bulldogs, coached by Andrew Kilcrease, limited Loachapoka (27-3) to just 12 field goals for the game – six each half. Coach Anthony Edwards’ team shot only 24.5 percent for the game and was out-rebounded 35-27. Brantley shot 42.4 percent from the field and was 12-of-20 at the foul line. Upshaw was 7-of-13 on free throws.
     Nautika Philpot had eight points and six rebounds and Keremi Vinson had seven points and seven rebounds.
     The Bulldogs won last year over Keith 48-39 in the title game.
     Class 1A All-State Tourney Team  
     Amahni Upshaw, Brantley (MVP); Payton Burnett, Brantley; Keremi Vinson, Loachapoka; Nautika Philpot, Loachapoka; Autumn Eddy, Falkville; Kelsi Sisk, Woodville.


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