BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The road to winning a blue map during the 2020-21 AHSAA season continued Tuesday with semifinal action. Three teams tried to punch their ticket to the state finals.
Boys Class 1A Semifinals: Belgreen 66 Notasulga 44
The Belgreen High School boys’ basketball team didn’t have any trouble shooting in a new environment like the Bill Harris Arena at the CrossPlex Tuesday.
The Bulldogs opened the game by hitting six of their first seven shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, to build a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter the AHSAA Class 1A State Basketball Championships semifinals at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham Crossplex and rolled to a 66-44 win over Notasulga.
Will Bonner led Belgreen (24-2) with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Scout Bragwell added 18 points, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He also grabbed six rebounds. Collin Bonner had 11 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots. The Bulldogs shot 57.8 percent – making 26-of-45 shots – and made seven 3-pointers.
Belgreen, coached by Marty Cooper, advances to the championship game for the first time since 1994. The Bulldogs will play in Friday’s title game at 4:30 p.m., against Decatur Heritage (20-7) or Autaugaville (29-0), who play later today in the other semifinal. Belgreen has never won a boys basketball state championship.
Boys Class 1A Semifinals: Autaugaville 62 , Decatur Heritage 48
Autaugaville High School will get the chance to cap a perfect season after clinching a berth in the state finals Tuesday. The undefeated Eagles (29-0) defeated Decatur Heritage 62-48 in Tuesday’s semifinals of the AHSAA Class 1A Boys’ State Basketball Championships at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Autaugaville built a double-digit lead in the first quarter, led by as many as 19 points and held off a late Decatur Heritage rally. The victory sends Autaugaville into Friday’s 1A championship game against Belgreen (26-2), which beat Notasulga in today’s other semifinal. Tip-off for Friday’s title game is set for 4:30 p.m., at Bill Harris Arena.
The Eagles, coached by Darren Golson, got a big performance from 6-foot-8 Dewaun Stubbs, who had 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots despite picking up three first-half fouls that sent him to the bench for most of the second quarter. Three other players reached double-digit scoring – Antonio Hardy with 11 and Jaden Nixon and Makenzie Bristow-Matthews with 10 apiece. Bristow added three assists and three steals.
Brayden Kyle scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Decatur Heritage (20-8), coached by Jason Marshall. Clayton Smith added 13 points, and Sean Zerkle had seven points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Autaugaville shot 49 percent (23-for-47) and won the rebounding battle 36-28, but struggled and shot just 13-of-27 at the free-throw line.
Girls Class 1A Semifinals: Skyline 60, Linden 38
In the ultimate contrast in styles, Skyline played a full-court, run-and-gun style against a Linden squad built around getting the ball to 6-foot-6 sophomore Timya Thurman near the basket.
In Tuesday’s AHSAA Class 3A Girls’ State Basketball Championships semifinal battle at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham Crossplex, flash beat crash.
Skyline (29-7), with a roster listing no player taller than 5-foot-7, used its full-court press to stifle the Patriots (11-4) and earn a 60-38 victory. Gracie Rowell score 19 points, Gracie Stucky added 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals, and Aiden Bellomy had 12 points and four steals.
Thurman delivered a triple-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocked shots, but the Patriots committed 31 turnovers against Skyline’s constant full-court pressure. Alaysia Burns added 25 points and four steals.
Skyline made 10-of-28 from 3-point range, including four each by Rowell and Bellomy. Linden, meanwhile didn’t make a 3-pointer.
Skyline, coached by Ronnie McCarver, advances to play Marion County (29-7) in Friday’s championship game, with tip-off set for 2 p.m., at Bill Harris Arena. Marion County defeated Samson in Tuesday’s other semifinal. Skyline also advanced to the title game in 2019 before falling to Phillips-Bear Creek.