BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Wenonah's
incredible fourth-quarter comeback from an 18-point deficit to the Class 5A boys state championship closed out the 2011 AHSAA Final 48 state basketball tournament at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Complex last weekend.
The Dragons of Coach Cedric Lane beat defending Class 5A state champion Lee-Huntsville 89-85, scoring a state-tournament record 43 points in the final eight minutes to seal the win.
The Generals (25-9) appeared well on their way to their second straight title with an 18-point 69-51 lead with 6:51 to play. The Dragons reeled off 38 points the rest of the way, getting the lead for good with 50 seconds remaining when tournament MVP Jeremy Bogus
slammed a dunk to make it 83-81.
Bogus, who finished with 25 points, sank four free throws the rest of the way to seal the incredible win. The Dragons (31-4) outscored Lee in the final quarter 43-23. The game had 61 personal fouls called, 91 free throws attempted and 58 free throws made. Wenonah was 28 of 44 with Bogus sinking 8 of 12. The Generals were 30 of 47 with Jacob Perry sinking 8 of 10.
The Dragons were one of 12 state champions crowned last weekend. Hillcrest (Tuscaloosa)
won the Class 6A state boys title with a 48-46 win over Mobile's Murphy High School in the finals on Saturday. The victory was career win No. 400 for Coach Scott Suttles, now 400-119 in his prep coaching career. Butler (Huntsville)
, coached by legendary Jack Doss, won the 4A championship with 44-39 win over Anniston in the finals. It was the seventh of his career for Doss, who has now won five at Butler and the first two at Birmingham's Hayes High School in 1981 and 1982 – Doss' first two years as a head coach. Greensboro
claimed the 3A championship, Tanner
won the 2A title and Pickens County (Reform)
won the 1A crown, finishing 30-1 after going 28-1 a year ago to win the Class 2A state championship.
also won the girls Class 2A state title, beating Woodland in the finals Thursday night to give the school a sweep of both the boys and girls state championships. Tanner also accomplished that rare feat once before in 1986.
Other girls championships include Bob Jones (Madison)
in 6A, Erwin (Birmingham)
in 5A, Brewbaker Tech (Montgomery)
in 4A, Madison Academy
in 3A and R.A. Hubbard (Courtland)
in 1A. Bob Jones, Erwin and Brewbaker defeated defending champions Hoover (6A), Fairfield (5A) and Midfield (4A), respectively. Brewbaker's win over Midfield ended the Lady Patriots' consecutive streak of state championships at four.
Below is this writer's opinion of the top player performances in the 18th annual Final 48 state tournament in Birmingham. There were plenty of excellent performances to choose from.TOP 5 BOYS PERFORMANCES1. JIMMIE TAYLOR, GREENSBORO –
The 6-foot-9 left-handed sophomore singlehandedly disrupted the offensive strategy of Carbon Hill in the semifinals and Clarke County in the finals of the 3A state tournament. He scored only six points in the first game but intimidated shooters with his ability to block shots cleanly from a distance. He had only two blocked shots but altered at least 15 more and was worth probably 30 to 35 points in the 58-46 win over Carbon Hill (30-2) in the semis. In the finals, he had nine blocked shots, got a hand on at least four or five more and turned up his own offense for a team-high 15 points to earn MVP honors as the Raiders won the state title with a 54-45 win over Clarke County. More importantly, he got the attention of the more than 85 college coaches on hand to watch him. Their prediction is that this unassuming young shot blocker will be on everybody's recruiting radar from now on. 2. RICKY TARRANT, PLEASANT GROVE –
The 6-foot Tulane signee followed his 47-point Central Regional championship performance with 24 points in a 65-62 overtime loss to Lee-Huntsville in the Class 5A Final 48 semifinals. He was 6 of 9 from the field and 12-of-14 from the foul line, had six rebounds, four assists and three steals while also running the team at the guard position. He set a regional record one week earlier by hitting 26 of 29 free throws in his 47-point effort. His overall effort edged out teammate Victor Barnes' 7 of 8 3-point shooting performance in the OT loss to Lee.3. DEVIN LANGFORD, LEE-HUNTSVILLE –
The Generals might have won their second straight championship if the 6-foot-6 Langford had gotten his hands on the ball more in the final quarter of the 5A finals. Langford was 5-for-6 for the game in the 89-85 setback and was 3 of 4 on 3-pointers. His final trey tied the game at 85 in the final 20 seconds. He also was 4 of 4 at the foul line, had 10 rebounds and still managed 17 points despite the few touches. He had 14 points and nine rebounds in the semifinals.4. JEREMY BOGUS, WENONAH –
The 6-foot-6 junior led the most incredible comeback in Final 48 history as the Dragons rose from an 18-point deficit with 6:50 to play to win the 5A state title 88-85 over Lee-Huntsville. Wenonah outscored the Generals 43-23 in the final eight minutes. Bogus earned MVP honors with 25 points and seven rebounds. He was 8 of 12 at the foul line with four clutch free throws to seal the win. He also had 19 points and six rebounds in the semifinals.5. REGGIE SPENCER, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA –
The fifth spot on this list of Top 5 performances wasn't easy. Trevor Lacey of Butler was no doubt the best player in the tourney but turned in two less-than-expected performances as the Rebels won the state title. He was just 11 of 31 from the field and 1 of 11 from the 3-point zone. Joseph Screws, Barbour County's 6-foot-9 senior center, was more impressive in the 2A tourney. He had 13 blocked shots and 21 rebounds in two games to go with his 18 total points. The 6-6 Spencer, however, was a terrific athlete in the paint for Class 6A state champion Hillcrest. He was a super defender in the semifinals, then took over the 48-46 championship win over Murphy on Saturday with a 9 of 10 shooting performance that led to 20 points. He also had six rebounds and three blocked shots in the finals. The senior showed that he is close to being ready to step into the college ranks next year – definitely ready on defense and possibly a bonus on offense too.TOP 5 GIRLS PERFORMANCES1. MARQUES WEBB, BREWBAKER TECH —
The daughter of former University of Alabama and NBA standout Marcus Webb was the most impressive post player among the girls at the Final 48. The 6-foot sophomore had 21 rebounds in the first game and a state-tournament record 30 in the finals as Brewbaker won its first state championship. She finished with 40 points in two games sinking 18 of 29 shots from the floor.2. LEAH STRAIN, WOODLAND –
The freshman point guard scored 37 in the semifinals and 30 in the finals as Woodland finished runner-up in Class 2A. The younger sister of Auburn University freshman and state prep career scoring leader Courtney Strain is currently on pace to surpass her sister's prep career record of 5,283 points. Leah has started for the Bobcats for three years already. She was 19-of-52 on field goals in her two games at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center and was also 26 of 35 at the foul line. Her free throw totals and total points led all girls scorers in the Final 48. She also had 13 rebounds in the two games. Leah averaged 24.5 points per game as Woodland went 30-7. She was 215 of 323 free throws this season.3. JASMINE STEELE, MIDFIELD –
The Lady Patriots were going for a state-record fifth straight state basketball championship, but the young team had no answer for Brewbaker Tech's Webb. The Rams had no answer for Midfield's 5-1 junior point guard. Jasmine had 57 points in two games including 33 in the semifinals and 26 in the finals. She also had 20 rebounds, six steals, five 3-pointers and was 22 of 26 at the foul line in both 4A contests.4. JASMINE JONES, BOB JONES –
The Class 6A MVP had 21 points and 12 rebounds in a semifinal rout of Jeff Davis, then had nine points and 14 rebounds to lead the Patriots past nationally ranked Hoover, 39-36, in the finals. The 6-footer was also one of the most athletic players in the entire tournament and ready for the next level. .5. SHELBY WEAVER, McINTOSH –
The 6-foot-3 sophomore still needs to work on her game offensively but no girl was more impressive in the paint when it comes to blocking shots. The tall, lanky center had 21 blocked shots in two games – including 12 in the finals as the Demons finished runner-up in Class 1A to R.A. Hubbard. Weaver added 11 rebounds but scored just eight points. Still, college recruiters could see that her best years are ahead of her and her knack for blocking shots is already a good reason to make the trek to Washington County the next two seasons to check Shelby out.FINAL 48 FINALSBOYS
6A: Hillcrest (Tuscaloosa)
(32-3) 48, Mobile-Murphy (25-6) 46
5A: Wenonah (Birmingham)
(31-4) 89, Huntsville-Lee (27-9) 85
4A: Butler (Huntsville)
(31-2) 44, Anniston (21-10) 39
(28-6) 54, Clarke County (25-4) 45
(27-5) 54, Barbour County (30-5) 51
1A: Pickens County (Reform)
(30-1) 70, Cedar Bluff (29-4) 62GIRLS
6A: Bob Jones (Madison)
(31-7) 39, Hoover (33-4) 36
5A: Erwin (Birmingham)
(29-3) 48, Fairfield (26-9) 47
4A: Brewbaker Tech (Montgomery)
(29-6) 59, Midfield (21-14) 39
3A: Madison Academy (Madison)
(36-3) 63, Danville (29-6) 31
(32-3) 71, Woodland (30-7) 53
1A: R.A. Hubbard (Courtland)
(21-4) 61, McIntosh (25-2) 58FORMER AHSAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HEADING INTO NFHS HALL
Former AHSAA Executive Director Dan Washburn, who served for 16 years as executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), will become the eighth person from the state of Alabama to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.
Washburn is among 12 individuals who will be inducted in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the closing event of the 92nd annual NFHS Summer Meeting at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia.
Previous Alabama inductees include the late Cliff Harper (1987), Dan Gaylord (1988), Bart Starr (1989), Bubba Scott (1990), the late Wallace "Mickey" O'Brien (1992), Glenn Daniel (1999) and Sam Short (2007).
Washburn, who retired in 2007, was instrumental in the development of outstanding venues for AHSAA championship sports. It was under his leadership that the current corporate partner program began to reach its potential and make possible events such as the Super 6 football championships, Final 48 basketball championships and Elite Eight volleyball championships.
He also established the STAR Sportsmanship initiative as an eligibility requirement.
He served on the NFHS Board of Directors and was NFHS president in 2005-06.
He became only the third full-time director after the retirement of Herman L. "Bubba" Scott, who had served since 1966. The late Cliff Harper became the first AHSAA head in 1948 with the establishment of a State Office in Montgomery. Prior to that, Sellers Stough of Birmingham had served as director on a part-time basis. Steve Savarese is the AHSAA's current executive director.