MaxPreps is pleased to announce that the Hazel Green (Ala.)
Trojans have officially been named to the 13th Annual MaxPreps Basketball Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard, which is in its 12th year honoring girls basketball.
This is one of the most prestigious team awards in all of high school sports and it is an exclusive honor reserved for 100 of the top teams nationwide. In order to be eligible, a team must win a state championship and be highly ranked in the MaxPreps National Rankings. For basketball, only 20 of the country's best are invited and with nearly 40,000 competing varsity teams, this puts the Trojans ahead of 99.9 percent of their opponents!
In order to be eligible, the team not only had to be nationally ranked, but also had to win a state championship. Beating Ramsay 56-54 on Saturday, Mar. 3 in the AHSAA Class 6A
state championship contest marked the completion of an incredible 35-2 season — and earned Hazel Green an invitation to the Tour of Champions.
After stealing the basketball under Ramsay's basket, Hazel Green's Imari Martin was fouled with 3.9-seconds left in overtime. Martin confidently walked to the line and hit both charity tosses before swiping Ramsay's ensuing inbounds pass to secure Hazel Green's first girls state basketball title since 1995, and the second one overall. Farah Pearson and Martin combined to score all four of Hazel Green's overtime points by hitting two free throws each. Hazel Green's Caitlin Hose drilled a pair of free throws with 58-seconds left in regulation to send the contest into overtime.
The Trojans, who have competed in the last four state title contests, trailed 16-14 after a period of play, went up 24-20 at intermission and trailed 40-39 going into the final period of regulation before the two powerhouse programs struggled to a 52-52 deadlock after four quarters of play. Neither squad led by more than seven points and played to six ties and seven lead changes in the contest. Hazel Green outscored the Rams 30-14 in the paint and connected on 12 of 15 free throws for the title game.
Hose led the champions with 16 points, six rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot and one steal, while Brooke Hampel contributed 15 points, five boards, and swiped two enemy balls. Pearson ripped the cords for 11 points, pulled down four rebounds and dished out an assist. Martin scored eight points and was credited with four boards, a pair of assists and two steals, while Marisa Snodgrass was good for six points, a rebound, a couple of assists and two steals in the title game.
Hazel Green opened state tournament play with an 81-15 win over Hueytown. Then, following a 51-29 triumph over Hartselle, the Trojans kicked in the door to the Final Four with a 60-11 victory over Minor. Hazel Green bumped LeFlore from state championship contention with a 65-35 semifinal win to set up the championship bout with Ramsay.
The Trojans opened the season with a 64-17 win over Huntsville. Then, following a 71-33 triumph over Tuscaloosa County, Hazel Green upended Central 67-16 to improve to 3-0 on the year. Tim Miller's club won five more contests before dropping two of its next four games. The Trojans did not lose again and outscored its competition 64.1-30.8 per outing on the year. Hazel Green held 19 opponents under 30 points, while scoring 70 points or more 13 times themselves. The Trojans scored a season-high 89 points in a win over Florence.
Having won 25 straight contests to end the season, Hazel Green set itself up for some rather high rankings come season's end. Not only are the Trojans the No. 1 squad in MaxPreps' Alabama Class 6A Rankings
, Hazel Green is the best squad in all of Alabama
. The Trojans are ranked No. 34 in MaxPreps' National Rankings
These incredible season achievements have earned the Hazel Green Trojans an invitation to the 13th Annual Tour of Champions. Please join us in the gymnasium for a senior awards assembly as we celebrate with the girls basketball team, coaching staff, students and fans on Wednesday, May 16 at 9 a.m.
For more information about the Tour of Champions, please visit the MaxPreps Tour of Champions site