By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika girls and boys Indoor cross country teams competed in the AHSAA Indoor State Meet in Birmingham last weekend. The girls finished third while the boys took home second.
The OHS girls were led by second place finishers Jada Moss and Kala Spinks. Moss finished second in the shot and 60 meter hurdles. Spinks was second in the 60 meter hurdles.
The 4 x 200 meter relay team consisting of Ashayla Frasier, Kala Spinks, Diondra Larkin and Ghania Warren also finished second in that event.
Opelika took the following girls to participate: Kala Spinks, Shamika Smith, Natalie Jordan, Africa Gaddis, Takeyah Tolbert, Jasmine Preston, Jada Moss, Aaliyah Bolware, Diondre Larkin, Ashayla Frazier, Ghania Warren and Nikera Durr.
The OHS boys won five state Indoor titles. Ben Bryant won the 1600 and 3200 meter run, Nate Huggins won the 400 meter run and Kacey Spinks, Jalin Marshall, Marquavious Swanson and Nate Huggins won the 4 x 200 meter relay and the 4 x 400 meter relay.
Nate Huggins finished second in the 60 meter dash and the 4 x 800 meter relay team (Ben Bryant, Ben Garner, Hayden Washburn and Kane Barrett) also finished second. Will Boler placed third in the triple jump.
The boys team consisted of Kane Barrett, Ben Bryant, Quandeski Whitlow, Nate Huggins, Kacey Spinks, Hayden Washburn, Marquavious Swanson, Jalin Marshall, Devin Guice, Franklin Vickerstaff, Will Boler and Ben Garner. Congratulations, Coach Jimmy Johnson, assistant coaches and athletes!
Coach Devin Booth’s Lady Bulldogs season ended Monday night at Homewood as the girls lost to Homewood 70-50 in the sub-regional round of the AHSAA basketball playoffs. The team finished 18-11 and Area regular season Champs. The 2015-16 season looks bright as only one player graduates.
The OHS boys basketball team (21-5) continues to play inspired basketball. The Bulldogs won the area tournament and advanced to the AHSAA regional round of the state playoffs.
OHS vs Russell County
The Bulldogs opened up the finals of the Area tournament by scoring the first 12 points of the game. Russell County called a timeout but it was not enough to stop the Dawgs from scoring. OHS coasted to a 87-72 win to wrap up the Area tournament championship. The Bulldogs also won the regular season Area title.
Kingston Frazier scored a game-high 20 points, Joey Payne added 18 points and Pernell Vickerstaff scored 17 points to lead the Dawgs.
Frazier earned the tournament MVP while teammates Jucorey Love and Joey Payne earned All-Tournament team honors.
SUB-REGIONAL VS. PELHAM
Opelika earned the right to host the first round of the AHSAA basketball playoffs by winning the Area Tournament title. The Bulldogs defeated Pelham 59-48 in front of a rowdy crowd at the Sports Arena Tuesday night. Coach John Wadsworth knew his team would need to push the ball up and down the court against the taller Panthers.
Pelham started a 6’9” center and a 6’4” forward to go along with point guard and leading scorer Zach Allison. Opelika’s tallest player is almost 6’4”.
In addition the Dawgs were without leading scorer Joey Payne, who did not dress for the game but cheered from the bench.
Wadsworth knew his team was in for a tough game because of the size mismatch.
OHS took a two-point lead, 22-20, into the locker room at intermission. The halftime talk was simple, “Keep playing our game.”
The Dawgs started the second half and slowly took control. The attack style of offense and defense helped the Dawgs win by 11.
“In the first half we were close on several shots and deflecting passes on defense. At the half, we told them to keep playing our aggressive style and attack on both ends of the court.” said Coach Wadsworth after the game.
‘I give the credit to our players. They played with intensity and energy. I can’t help but be proud of them,” the head coach said with a smile.
“We are moving on to another game. At this point we know the teams will be bigger than us just like every team on our schedule. We are used to it and take it personal. I’m so proud of these kids… and we are moving on to play again,” Wadsworth said as his three kids, Beth Ann, Brady and Tucker gave him a group hug.
OHS will travel to the Alabama State University Acadome in Montgomery to play Paul Bryant High School in the Regional round this morning at 10:30 a.m. Some call it the sweet 16 because only 16 teams are left in the class 6A tournament at this point.
Opeliks vs Paul Bryant
The Dawgs return to the Acadome for the second round of the AHSAA State Basketball Playoffs. Opelika will play Paul Bryant High School (out of…you guessed it, Tuscaloosa) at 10:30 a.m.
You can listen to the broadcast on WTLM 1520 AM and on the internet at i-heart radio.com, search for WTLM 1520 in OPELIKA/AUBURN.
I will broadcast the game with OHS Principal Dr. Farrell Seymore, who will analyze the game. Airtime is 10:20 with tipoff set for 10:30.
Five OHS wrestlers advanced to the AHSAA state wrestling meet in Huntsville this weekend. The five wrestlers who qualified for the state meet are Angelo Farrow (120 lbs.), Ethan Knight (145 lbs.), Tory Birdsong (106 lbs.), Adam Tickal (160 lbs.) and Ivan Ramos (132 lbs.).
Coach Jim Davis will take the five to the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville.
Opelika opens the 2015 baseball season Monday, Feb. 16, in Phenix City against G.W. Long (12:30) and Beauregard (3pm).
Coach Billy Jones begins his second year as head coach. The Dawgs finished 27-8 last season but missed the AHSAA playoffs.
Coach Jones wants his team to advance to the playoffs and compete for a state championship this season.
The team is listed below:
Jesse Baker, Tanner Blatt, Kent Bugg, Mathew Christian, Jackson Grigsby, Tommie Jackson, Chris Manley, Harrison Morrison, Bryant Norrell, Cullen Senn, Bennett Whitman, JD Worth, Gage Young and Blake Yountz.
Assistant coaches are Zach Blatt and Rick Wade.
Opelika will open their home schedule Friday, February 20, at 4;30 against Central (Two games).
The Opelika junior varsity opens up Monday at Bulldog Park against Beauregard. Following is the list of players:
Jared Bartlett, Melvin Billingsly, Tory Birdsong, Hank Brown, Jake Chase, Christian Collins, Luke Davis, Nolan Goodman, Braden McKay, Taylor Jones, Dalton Jenkins, Chandler Lawrence, Kolby Lee, Jalen Miller, Carter Milner, Chris Scullen and Henry Smith T. Wade Meadows will coach, assisted by Lavele Spiegner.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Radio, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.