Area Basketball Rundown: Playoff Edition

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AISA State & AHSAA Area Tournaments Underway 

By Wil Crews
sportscrews@
opelikaobserver.com

High school basketball season is nearing its conclusion and a number of local teams are competing for silverware.

Opelika, Beauregard, Auburn and Smiths Station were all in action this week competing for their respective AHSAA area titles; Lee-Scott and Glenwood are poised to make runs at the AISA Class 3A state title later this week in Montgomery.

The following is a breakdown on each team, including snippets on the regular season and how they can each respectively attain championship status.

AHSAA

Opelika Boys: In head coach Wesley Button’s first full year in charge, Opelika finished the regular season 6-15, 1-5 in the area. Despite finishing with an unglamorous record, Button’s team picked up marquee wins against rival Auburn (85-76 on Feb. 3) and Area 04 No. 2 seed Eufaula (who finished the season 27-3 overall). After losing both regular season matchups, the Bulldogs fell to Valley in the first round of the area tournament on Monday to conclude their season.

Opelika Girls: In head coach Blake Smalley’s first season in charge, the Bulldogs finished second in Area 04 with a regular-season record of 13-12, 4-2 in the area. The girls completed a season sweep of local rival Smiths Station and split the season series with Central of Phenix City. Opelika traveled to Eufaula to play No. 3 seed Valley in the area tournament on Monday and won 60-18. The Bulldogs played Eufaula for the area title on Tuesday but results were not available at press time.

Beauregard Boys: The Hornets didn’t have the season they imagined having, finishing 2-23 and without a single area win on the campaign. Beauregard traveled to Pike Road to take on the No. 1 area seed Patriots on Monday and saw its season come to an end with an 82-49 loss, completing Pike Road’s three-game sweep of the Hornets this season.

Beauregard Girls: The Beauregard girls’ team completed its regular season with a 6-20 overall record (2-4 in the area). The No. 3 team in the area, the Hornets faced off against No. 2 Brewbaker Tech on  Monday, and after losing their two regular-season meeting by a combined 50 points, lost 60-30 to close out the 2022 season.

.  Auburn Boys: The Auburn High Tigers finished the regular season 17-10 overall and 2-2 in the area. Splitting the season series with area opponents Central and Smiths Station was good enough for No. 2 in the area. The Tigers were in action Wednesday against Central but results were not available at press time. In the instance the Tigers win, they will go on to face Smiths Station on Thursday in a matchup to decide the post-season area champion.

Auburn Girls: Finishing first in the area, the Auburn High girls completed the season with a 17-6 record. The Tigers swept both Opelika and Smiths Station and split the season series with area foe Central Phenix City. Auburn will play the winner of Smiths Station and Central on Thursday for the shot at winning the area tournament.

Smiths Station Boys: The Panthers finished the regular season 19-8 (3-1), good enough for first in the area. Smiths completed the season sweep of Opelika and Central, and split the season series against Auburn. With a first-round bye, the Panthers await the winner of the Auburn and Central game, and will compete for the postseason area title on Thursday night.

Smiths Station Girls: The Panthers finished the regular season 10-13 (0-4 in the area) in head coach Kelvin Roberts’ first season. The Panthers faced Central on Tuesday in the area tournament and saw the season come to an end with a 77-30 loss.

AISA

Lee-Scott Boys: Coach William Johnson improved on his squad’s sub-.500 record from 2020-21 to finish the 2021-22 regular season 18-6, winning the regular season area title for the first time in seven years. The Warriors will face off against Bessemer (7-12) in the Sweet 16 of the AISA Class 3A state tournament on Thursday; the two teams did not meet in the regular season. With the championship game being held on Feb. 14, Lee-Scott will need three wins in total to claim the silverware.

Lee-Scott Girls: The Lee-Scott girls’ basketball team improved from 2-6 last season to 9-4 this year under head coach Corye Ivatt. Next up is a Sweet 16 state tournament matchup against No. 1 seed Tuscaloosa Academy on Feb. 10.

Lee-Scott defeated Tuscaloosa in November of last year.

Glenwood Boys: Under head coach Dusty Purdue, the Gators finished the season No. 2 in the region and 17-7 overall. Glenwood has a matchup against Tuscaloosa Academy on Thursday (the two teams did not meet this season), with a win pushing it to the Elite 8 of the state tournament on Feb. 12.

Glenwood Girls: Purdue also coached the girls this year and led Glenwood to the No. 1 seed in the region and a 19-5 record. The Gators will face off against Monroe on Thursday to advance to the Elite 8 of the state tournament.

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