What to know heading into this week’s AHSAA basketball championships (2024)

The Alabama High School Athletic Association state basketball finals start Monday at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.

Fifty-six teams will compete for state titles in seven classifications.

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Here’s a look at some notes heading into the week.

Hall of Fame finish

T.R. Miller girls coach Ronald Jackson will end his Hall of Fame career on the biggest stage.

Jackson announced his retirement after 41 years of coaching earlier in the season. His Tigers then won the South Regional, earning him another shot at a state title.

T.R. Miller will play Anniston at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 4A state semifinals.

Jackson has coached the Tigers’ girls team since 1992. His teams have won 24 total area championships with 15 earning a spot in the final four. Jackson coached girls state championships in 1995, 1996, 2002 and 2009 and was runner-up in 2004 and 2020.

What to know heading into this week’s AHSAA basketball championships (1)

Seventh Heaven

Tim Miller’s Hazel Green girls basketball team will face Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the 6A semifinals at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The Trojans are two wins away from a seventh straight state title.

Hazel Green is the only team – boys or girls – in AHSAA history to win as many as six state titles in a row.

The Trojans haven’t lost to an in-class team since Homewood beat them 52-49 in the 2017 championship.

Since that loss, Hazel Green is 209-4 against instate competition with two losses to Class 7A Hoover – once each in the past two seasons – and two losses to Class 5A Ramsay in 2020.

Repeat performances

In addition to Hazel Green, nine other teams have a chance to repeat after winning 2023 state titles.

On the boys side, Hoover (7A), Buckhorn (6A), Valley (5A) and Covenant Christian (1A) are all back with a chance at another Blue Map.

For the girls, Hoover (7A), Prattville Christian (4A), Trinity (3A), Mars Hill (2A) and Spring Garden (1A) join Hazel Green with a chance to repeat.

Prattville Christian has won three straight titles overall – last year’s 4A title and 3A titles in 2021 and 2022.

All in the family

It’s a family affair for the Clements girls basketball team.

Taylor Farrar is a 5-7 senior while sister Jakayla is a 5-6 sophom*ore and first cousin Taylor Farrar – yes, the same first name – is a 5-8 senior.

Clements head coach Shane Childress is assisted by wife Kelley with daughters Leah and Josie on the team.

There are plenty of family ties for the Trinity girls team as well. Head coach Blake Smith coaches daughters Maddie and Lilly.

Trinity beat Clements for last year’s title.

What to know heading into this week’s AHSAA basketball championships (2)

Star power

Some of the state’s biggest stars will be in the spotlight this week, including Buckhorn’s Caleb Holt and Spring Garden’s Ace Austin.

Holt, a 6-foot-6 sophom*ore, was the MVP of last year’s 6A state tournament and is a leading contender to be Mr. Basketball this year. Holt is averaging 19.8 points a game and has 289 total rebounds for the defending champs.

Austin, a 5-foot-7 junior point guard, is already committed to play her basketball at Alabama. Austin is averaging 19.7 points a game and has 226 rebounds and 228 assists.

Other top boys players on the watch list this week include: Ty Davis (Mountain Brook), Cam’Ron Dooley (Valley), Caleb Harrison (Huntsville), DeWayne Brown (Hoover), Jacoby Hill (Central-Phenix City), Salim London (Hoover), Trey Simpson (Hillcrest-Evergreen), Terrel Johnson (Vigor), Nasir Powell (Jackson) and Eric Winters (Enterprise).

Top girls players to watch include: Syriah Daniels (Auburn), Leah Brooks (Hazel Green), Belle Hill (Mars Hill), Maddie Smith (Trinity), Lily Smith (Trinity), Dakota Freeman (Cottage Hill), Avery Rogers (Prattville Christian), Maya Griffin (Gulf Shores) and Jordan Hunter (Hewitt-Trussville).

What to know heading into this week’s AHSAA basketball championships (3)

Still alive

Twelve of the 14 top-ranked teams in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association basketball poll are still alive this week with a chance to win a state title.

The final ASWA poll was released Feb. 1. The organization does not rank teams during the playoffs.

On the boys side, all No. 1 teams will be in Birmingham this week. They are Covenant Christian (1A), Mars Hill (2A), Sumter Central (3A), Jackson (4A), Fairfield (5A), Buckhorn (6A) and Huntsville (7A).

Five of seven No. 1 girls teams will play in Legacy Arena. They are Spring Garden (1A), Mars Hill (2A), Good Hope (4A), Jasper (5A) and Hazel Green (6A). The only two top teams eliminated prior to the state semifinals were Lauderdale County (3A) and Bob Jones (7A).

Double dipping

Two schools advance boys’ and girls’ teams to the Legacy Arena, with Mars Hill Bible in Class 2A and Hoover in Class 7A.

On the air/tickets

All championship games will be live streamed over the NFHS Network and televised live over the Alabama Public Television network with WOTM TV producing the contests. The semifinal games will be live streamed over the NFHS Network as well, with the games also love over the AHSAA TV Network.

The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast live all games over its radio and internet audio network.

Tickets are available each day at the BJCC box office or through Ticketmaster.

STATE FINALS SCHEDULE

MONDAY

CLASS 1A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Marion County vs. C: Keith, 9 a.m.

NE: Spring Garden vs. S: Elba, Noon

CLASS 1A BOYS SEMIFINALS

NW: Covenant Christian vs. C: Calhoun, 10:30 a.m.

NE: Skyline vs. S: Georgiana, 1:30 p.m.

CLASS 2A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Mars Hill Bible vs. C: Cold Springs, 3 p.m.

NE: Ider vs. S: Luverne, 6 p.m.

CLASS 2A BOYS SEMIFINALS

NW: Mars Hill Bible vs. C: Locust Fork, 4:30 p.m.

NE: LaFayette vs. S: Highland Home, 7:30 p.m.

TUESDAY

CLASS 3A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Clements vs. C: Trinity, 9 a.m.

NE: Plainview vs. S: Cottage Hill, Noon

CLASS 3A BOYS SEMIFINALS

NW: Midfield vs. C: Sumter Central, 10:30 a.m.

NE: Geraldine vs. S: Hillcrest-Evergreen, 1:30 p.m.

CLASS 4A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Good Hope vs. C: Prattville Christian, 3 p.m.

NE: Anniston vs. S: T.R. Miller, 6 p.m.

CLASS 4A BOYS SEMIFINALS

NW: Deshler vs. C: American Christian, 4:30 p.m.

NE: DAR vs. S: Jackson, 7:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

CLASS 6A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Hazel Green vs. C: Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, 9 a.m.

NE: Huffman vs. S: Park Crossing, Noon

CLASS 6A BOYS SEMIFINALS

NW: Buckhorn vs. C: Helena, 10:30 a.m.

NE: Mountain Brook vs. S: Carver-Montgomery, 1:30 p.m.

CLASS 5A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Jasper vs. Brewbaker Tech, 3 p.m.

Scottsboro vs. Gulf Shores, 6 p.m.

CLASS 5A BOYS SEMIFINALS

Fairfield vs. Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Guntersville vs. Vigor, 7:30 p.m.

THURSDAY

CLASS 7A GIRLS SEMIFINALS

NW: Hoover vs. C: Auburn, 9 a.m.

NE: Hewitt-Trussville vs. S: Prattville, Noon

CLASS 7A BOYS SEMIFINALS

NW: Hoover vs. C: Central-Phenix City, 10:30 a.m.

NE: Huntsville vs. S: Enterprise, 1:30 p.m.

CLASS 1A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 4 p.m.

CLASS 1A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 5:45 p.m.

FRIDAY

CLASS 2A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 9 a.m.

CLASS 2A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 10:45 a.m.

CLASS 3A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 12:30 p.m.

CLASS 3A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 2:15 p.m.

CLASS 4A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 4 p.m.

CLASS 4A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 5:45 p.m.

SATURDAY

CLASS 5A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 9 a.m.

CLASS 5A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 10:45 a.m.

CLASS 6A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 12:30 p.m.

CLASS 6A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 2:15 p.m.

CLASS 7A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 4 p.m.

CLASS 7A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Semifinal Winners, 5:45 p.m.

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What to know heading into this week’s AHSAA basketball championships (2024)
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