State basketball finals set to start Monday
Fifty-six high school basketball teams converge on Birmingham this week as the 94th annual Alabama High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament tips off Monday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Legacy Arena.
Classes 1A and 2A are scheduled to play Monday with Linden (17-6) and Decatur Heritage (25-6) squaring off first in the Class 1A girls’ semifinals at 9 a.m.
The State Tournament is scheduled for Feb. 29-March 5 at the BJCC with Classes 1A and 2A playing semifinals on Monday, Classes 3A and 4A on Tuesday, Classes 6A and 5A on Wednesday and Class 7A on Thursday. Girls’ and Boys’ finals for Class 1A will be Thursday afternoon. Classes 2A, 3A and 4A will play championship games on Friday while Classes 5A, 6A and 7A concluding the tournament Saturday.
All semifinal games will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network and all finals will be televised by Raycom Media. The AHSAA Radio Network will broadcast all finals over its network. More information can be found at www.ahsaa.com, www. http://statefinalsal.com and www.nfhsnetwork.com.
Class 6A LeFlore’s Lady Rattlers come into the state tourney as the only undefeated team at 33-0. The Rattlers play Wednesday at 9 a.m. versus Hartselle (24-11).
Coach Jack Doss has his J.O. Johnson squad back in Class 5A after nipping Anniston in the Northeast Regional boys’ Class 5A finals 45-42 before a crowd estimated at 6,000 at Jacksonville State University. The Jaguars (27-5) won the Class 5A state title last year, the second in school history and eighth championship for a Doss-coached team. He had two titles at Hayes in Birmingham and five at Huntsville-Butler.
Other 2015 boys’ state champions back to defend titles are Class 7A Hoover (16-18), Class 6A G.W. Carver (27-3), Class 3A Madison Academy (22-12) and Class 1A Sacred Heart Catholic (27-8).
Defending girls’ state champions in the 2016 state tourney are Class 1A Keith (31-2), Class 3A Lauderdale County (28-7), Class 4A Deshler (32-1), Class 5A Wenonah (31-1), Class 6A Homewood (26-6) and Class 7A Jeff Davis (22-6).
Lauderdale County is going for its fifth straight Class 3A championship. Coach Brant Llewellyn’s Lady Tigers finished 39-0 last season and extended the state’s longest winning streak to 84 games with the 70-39 win over Pisgah in the 2015 finals. That streak was finally ended early this season after 86 wins in a row.
Homewood girls’ coach JoVanka Ward has her team back in the 6A competition — and her husband Steve Ward has his Huffman boys’ squad in the Class 6A boys’ tournament as well.
AHSAA State Basketball Championships