by D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika Lady Bulldog basketball team (26-5) has advanced to the Elite Eight in Montgomery on the ASU campus.
The Lady Bulldogs beat Enterprise in the first round and Carver in the regionals (Sweet 16).
OHS defeated Carver 48-32 in the Sweet 16 round at the academy on the ASU campus.
The Bulldogs started slow — maybe because of playing in a college arena in front of a large crowd.
Third year head coach Devin Booth told her team to, “keep playing good defense and play hard.”
The instruction worked.
The girls started getting comfortable with the surroundings and made 13 of 19 free throws to help pull away in the fourth quarter.
Eleven of the 12 players that played scored points. Nobody scored in double digits.
Coach Booth normally plays all 12 players in each game, which creates depth at each position. This is one of the reasons the team is having one of the best seasons in school history.
The Lady Bulldogs will play rival Central this morning (Feb. 24) at 9 a.m.
The Red Devils are one of just two teams to beat OHS. They have won three straight games, including the final game of the area tournament.
Central is having a great year, sporting a 32-1 record.
Coach Booth hopes the fourth time is the charm, referring to the three prior losses this season to the Lady Red Devils.
“I think the girls are excited for a rematch; we will be ready,” said the happy Opelika coach.
Coach Devin Booth has coached at this stage several times. She took Samson High School girls to the final four twice, winning a state title before coming to Opelika.
You can hear the game live on MIX 96.7 this morning starting at 8:50 a.m.
I will broadcast the game with help from OHS athletic director Brian Blackmon. The game will be on the web at www.kickerfm.com
This is only the second time in school history that our girls’ basketball team has advanced this far. The first time was in 1986 when the lady Bulldogs advanced to the finals. There were only four classifications at that time and the games were played on high school campuses until the finals, which were held in Decatur.
The OHS varsity baseball team opened the 2012 season with a 5-2 victory over Hoover at Bulldog Park on Monday. The Dawgs lost the second game against Thompson High School, 15-7.
The win over Hoover was the first for new head coach Scott Sullivan, who was hired in the fall.
Justin Traylor earned the win, pitching the final three innings, retiring nine out of 10 batters he faced. Austin Campbell started the game, and was pulled in the fifth inning.
Tyler Jones led the Dawgs at the plate with two hits while Jared Harper and Matthew Christian added hits.
The Bulldogs started off bad in the second game vs. Thompson, allowing eight runs in the first inning. Coach Sullivan used four different pitchers in the game.
OHS will play Dadeville tomorrow at 11 a.m. and Trinity at 1:30 p.m. at Dadeville High School.
Opelika sent six wrestlers to the State Tournament in Huntsville last weekend.
Brian White won his third straight title. The 113-pound-White also earned the most valuable wrestler award in 6A.
Rico Lewis finished fourth in the state in the 195-pound weight class.
The rest of the spring sports will start next week. I will have a full re-cap of each sport in the coming weeks.
The 2012 football schedule has been released by coach Brian Blackmon.
OHS will open the season in Alex City against Benjamin Russell on Aug. 31, the following week Robert E. Lee will travel to Bulldog stadium for the home opener.
Central will travel to OHS on Sept. 14.
The Dawgs will play three Thursday night games. Sept. 20 at Carver, Oct. 4 at Lanier and Nov. 1 at Hoover.
The other games are Valley at home on Sept. 28, Smiths Station at Smiths on Oct. 12, Jeff Davis at home on Oct. 19 and we travel to Auburn Oct. 26.
This will be the first year of the new region which features Auburn, Central, Smiths Station, Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis, Lanier and Carver.
Northview, Dothan and Enterprise have been moved to the region in Mobile.