BIRMINGHAM – Sacred Heart, fresh off its first boys basketball state championship, wishes it could have a rematch with a previous disappointment.
The Cardinals beat Sunshine 70-65 in overtime Friday for the Class 1A title and eased memories of last year’s semifinal loss to St. Jude.
“It’s not going to happen, but I wish we could play them again,” Sacred Heart guard Kevion Nolan said.
St. Jude was the two-time defending 1A champion — and a prohibitive favorite for a third — when it closed last spring.
The Pirates beat Sacred Heart 66-51 in the semifinals and thumped Parrish 65-37 in the championship game. Parrish also closed last year.
“I wish we would have played them again,” Sacred Heart forward Diante Wood said. “We’d have been ready this year, and I think we could have beaten them.”
Teams may soon say the same about Sunshine. It is closing at the end of the school year.
The Tigers played all season knowing this would be their last. Underclassmen will be at Greensboro or Hale County next year.
“One thing I learned this year was that life has no guarantees,” Sunshine sophomore Walter Jones Jr. said.
Kavarri Ross had 28 points and a season-high 11 rebounds to lead the Cardinals (28-8) on Friday. Wood added 15 points and Nolan 10.
It was Sacred Heart’s first AHSAA championship in any sport.
Herbert Jones scored 21 points and Walter Jones had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers (23-5). Lucky Travis and Keonta Edwards added 14 points each.
Lauderdale County 70, Pisgah 39
Ivy Wallen had 22 points, Allison Cruce posted 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the Tigers (39-0) continued their dynasty.
Lauderdale County has won a state-record 84 consecutive games and has tied an AHSAA record with four straight state championships.
After setting an AHSAA record with 38 wins last year, the Tigers upped it to 39. Maybe 40 a year from now?
“This one was hard enough,” Wallen said. “It’s up to (coach Brant Llewellyn), but that’s a lot of games to play.
Llewellyn was confident 40 isn’t in Lauderdale’s future.
“I think we’ve maxed out the schedule,” he said. “We played a couple of extra games in some tournaments, and I kind of regretted that because we were fatigued.”
Madison Academy 75, Piedmont 51
Joshua Langford’s 19 points and 12 rebounds helped the Mustangs put pressure on the school’s baseball team.
Madison Academy (19-12) also won a football championship last fall and, with a second straight baseball title in May at Riverwalk, will have a Triple Crown.
“I’m not going to do that to Coach (Mike) Good,” Mustangs basketball coach/athletic director Andy Blackston said. “Tag, you’re it, coach.”
No AHSAA school has a football/boys basketball/baseball Triple Crown in the same school year. Until Friday, no school had held titles in each at the same time, either.
“With us winning, obviously that gives them extra motivation to go get another title,” Langford said.
Keith 38, Spring Garden 25
Junior Harriet Winchester scored 18 points, junior Zykia Pettway had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bears (27-5) took the third state championship in school history.
The school has four overall, all in basketball. The most-recent girls title was 1990 and the boys won in 1998.
Tykeah Rogers’ 16 points led Spring Garden, which was 2-of-21 shooting in the first half. The Panthers (33-3) finished at 21 percent.
LaFayette 69, Elba 39
Trevond Barnes’ 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 11 rebounds led the Bulldogs (25-5) to their fourth title.
Jartarvious Whitlow added 21 points for LaFayette, which last won a championship in 2002.
Raheem Newson had 12 points and Denzell Thomas s10 for the Tigers (21-7), who failed to defend last year’s title.
Red Bay 34, Geneva County 29
Morgan Pierce scored 11 points and Hope Cook 10 to help the Tigers (25-9) win their sixth state title, though first since 2001. Lacey Stafford had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (24-10).
West Limestone 53, Westminster-Huntsville 42
Zane Griffin scored 17 points and West Limestone (32-3) won its first basketball championship since 1956.
Westminster (21-12), after taking an 8-4 lead in the first four minutes, scored just one point the remainder of the half.
Deshler 70, Jacksonville 57
Lauren Cantrell was 12-of-13 on free throws and scored 20 points to lead the Tigers (34-2) to their sixth state championship. Nicole Shirley had 17 points and Karleigh Sledge 13 points and 13 rebounds for Deshler. Virginia Poe’s 26 points led Jacksonville (27-5).