By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika City School system dismissed students Dec. 20 for the Christmas and New Years holidays.
Winter sports continued, however, as the boys and girls basketball and wrestling teams competed that week.
Boys basketball started the week by playing three games in three days in the “Handley High Holiday Tournament.” The Bulldogs, 7-7 overall, won two out of their three games, beating Central High of Clay County and Valley back-to-back after losing 47-46 to Harris County in the opening game.
Harris County outscored Opelika 28-23 in the second half to win by one point. Ant MaGuire lead with 12 points, followed by Taye Fields’ 10 points and Jared Willis’ eight points.
On day two, the Bulldogs blew out Central-Clay 70-36, including a 34-17 lead at halftime.
Willis scored a game-high 19 points, Fields added 15 and Jamius Mitchell scored 10 points.
Coach John Wadsworth’s team beat Valley 58-32, in the third and last game in Handley. Boone and Jarred Willis scored 15 points apiece to lead the Bulldogs. Taye Fields played his normal steady game, scoring 14 points and contributing at both ends of the court.
The boys basketball team ended the week by losing to 68-39 at Eufaula. Fields scored 12 points to lead Opelika in scoring.
Coach Devin Booth took her girls basketball team to Hoover for the “Spain Park Christmas Tournament “ at the end of that week.
The Lady Bulldogs improved to 13-3 after going 2-1 in the tournament.
Wenonah beat Opelika 46-33 in the opener. Kaitlyn Bryant led the girls with eight points. Ananda Hughley and Evite Debrow scored seven and six points respectively.
Opelika beat Midfield 57-47 and Murphy 62-46 to finish on a winning note.
Bryant scored a game high 20-points against Midfield and Hughley added 12 points against Murphy.
Quala Walton and Hughley led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points apiece against Murphy. Claire Worth and Haley Sanders added 10 points apiece.
Opelika’s Wrestling team hosted a rare matinee tri-match the last day of school against Central of Phenix City and Shades Valley.
The Bulldog grapplers fell behind Shades Valley 27-0 before Opelika went on a 33-0 run to win 33-27.
The following Bulldogs earned wins: Zeak Jones, Eli Schwenk, Timmy Tolbert, Trint Vaughns, Bevin Williams and James Dawson.
Cameron Reese won an exhibition match for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs beat Central 42-36 in the second match. Opelika fell behind 24-6 before a massive rally to help secure the sweep.
Jones , Cole Lazzari, Ben Daughtry, Vaughns, Reese and Dawson pinned their opponents to secure the Opelika victory.
The middle school and junior varsity wrestling teams defeated South Girard Jr. High 42-18.
Winning matches for the Junior Varsity Bulldogs were: Trace Gaither, Nina Durham, Sam Hayir, Logan Sheridan, Andre Smiley, Keon Brazier, Trey Thomas and Jaquaveous Edwards.
AHSAA INSTANT REPLAY RECAP
The AHSAA released the “DVSports Instant Replay” results for the 2018 season. Ninety-six different schools used the system which resulted to 103 opportunities.
There were 96 challenges which resulted in 23 calls on the field overturned.
Instant Replay was used during the Super 7 Championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn last month.
During the seven championships games, there were 12 challenges by coaches which resulted in four reversals. All scoring plays were also reviewed.
The AHSAA Head of Officials Mark Jones believes instant is here to stay. One of the major that concerns that was not an issue was the average reply taking between 90-120 seconds.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.