Lady Bulldogs finish as 6A runners-up

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By D. Mark Mitchell

Hazel Green defeated Opelika 55-31 in the 6A Championship game at the BJCC Legacy Arena on Saturday. Opelika could not overcome a slow start offensively, scoring two points in the first quarter and trailing 14-2. The Lady Bulldogs cut the lead to three points in the second quarter before Hazel Green went on a 14-5 run, never looking back. The Lady Trojans have now won back-to-back 6A basketball championships.
Lone Opelika senior Quala Walton scored a team-high 11 points. Ananda Hughley added 10 points and joined Walton on the “All-Tournament Team.”
Congratulations to Coach Devin Booth, staff and players on an outstanding season and a runner-up finish! I know it is tough to lose, but only two teams played for the title Saturday, and Opelika was one of those two.
TENNIS
Opelika’s girls Tennis team defeated Shades Valley 7-2 last week. Readen Gagliano, Laney McTier, Hope Bearden and Kathlene Trotter won single matches. The Lady Bulldogs won two doubles matches with Gagliano/Beardon and Victoria Tufts/LT Daffin.
Shades Valley slipped by the boys 5-4. Dawson Rush, Jack Whatley and Andrew Hudson won matches along with the doubles team, Rush/Jack O’Quinn
SOCCER
The Opelika girls soccer team beat Smiths Station 4-1 at the W. James Samford Soccer Complex. Amiya Brown netted two goals while Erica Mathews and Madi Rush added a goal apiece. Molly Randolph led with two assists, while Brown and Abby Noon each recorded an assist.
The Opelika boys were blanked 2-0 by Smiths Station, unable to place many shots on goal.
THE OPELIKA
INVITATIONAL TRACK MEET
The Opelika Invitational Track Meet was held at the Sam Mason Track last weekend. The meet included 16 varsity girls teams, 12 varsity boys teams along with six girls and boys middle school teams.
VG
Auburn captured first place in the girls meet with 177 points. Opelika followed with 105 points to place second, while Wetumpka, Montgomery Academy and Beauregard rounded out the top-5 finishers.
The following girls placed in the top-5:
400 meters: Akishi Williams – second
Jasmine Murphy – third
Zeriauna Jackson – fourth
Discus: A’Nyiah Hughley – first, (second in javelin and shot put)
Lauren White – second
High Jump: Ansley Jackson – first
Triple Jump: Ansley Jackson – third
VB
Auburn scored 177 points to win, Opelika followed with 105 points as Wetumpka, Montgomery Academy and Beauregard rounded out the top-5 finishers.
The following boys placed in the top-5:
Brantan Barnett – first in the 100-meter dash and second in the 200 meters
Omar Holloway – third in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the 200 meters
Daniel Kindred – second in the 110-meter hurdles and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles
Blake Landers – first in the shot put and fifth in the discus.
Corbin Nunn – second in the discus and third in shot put.
LaDamien Rowell – third inthe triple jum
Jarell Stinson – first in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes, second in the 100-meter dash
Dalen Tolbert – placed fifth in the 500 meters
Eric Watts – 2nd in the 300-meter and long jump placed fifth in the 100 meters.
Terrian Battle and Steven Harvey tied for seventh in pole vault.
The OMS Track team chose not to run in the Opelika Invitational due to the early date according to OMS Athletics Director Craig Montel.
“The date (March 3) of the Opelika meet was too early in the season. We practiced two weeks, plus we have coaches on staff that are still involved in winter sports,” Montel said.
SOFTBALL
Opelika’s softball team beat Reeltown 9-4 for the first win of the season. Opelika scored three runs in the first inning, four runs in the third and two runs in the fourth. Makai Gagliano earned the win, allowing five hits while striking out five Rebel batters.
BASEBALL
The Bulldog baseball team hosted Oak Grove and Wetumpka Saturday at Bulldog Park.
The Bulldogs beat Oak Grove 8-2 for the first win of the season. Opelika scored six runs in the bottom of the first and added a run in the fourth and fifth inning to go with nine hits. Andrew Parr earned the win, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out five batters with no walks during seven innings. Offensively, Brooks Bryan, Micah Christian and Brody Davis recorded two hits apiece. Parr, Paul Goodman and Jace Rhodes also recorded hits.
Wetumpka spoiled the doubleheader sweep with a 6-4 win against Opelika. The Indians led 5-0 before Opelika was able to score three runs in the bottom of fourth inning. Despite battling back, the Indians added a run in the sixth to seal the win. Christian added two hits (finishing with four on the day) at the plate. Julian Duke, Jackson Harris, Zach Pierce, Rhodes and Brayden Thomas recorded hits. Rhodes pitched four innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Jackson Harris pitched the final three innings.
Opelika (1-8) travels to Auburn High Wednesday with first pitch set for 6 p.m. The Bulldogs will host Valley on March 7 and March 8, and both are slated to start at 6 p.m.
“O DAWGS” TRAVEL BASEBALL
The “O Dawgs” travel baseball organization participated in the “Southeastern Spring NIT” at West Ridge Park Saturday and Sunday.
The O Dawgs entered Three teams, one in each of the following ages groups: 7U, 9U and 10U.
The 7U team finished third, after winning in the last inning.
The 9U O Dawgs won the championship. The team finished 2-0 Saturday advancing to the finals Sunday. Rain and storms caused the tournament to end midway on Sunday. O-Dawgs advance to the World Series in July.
They are coached by Nicky Tidwell, Eric Rudd, Matt Woodall and Adam Pilate.
In the 10U division, O Dawgs finished 2-1 and were playing in the semifinals when the storm caused the cancellation. The team was one win from qualifying to play in the World Series. They were coached by Kurt Branch, Tommy Prince and Jerod Brandon.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.

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