By D. Mark Mitchell
OHS BOYS BASKETBALL
The Opelika High boys basketball team defeated Benjamin Russell and Jeff Davis on the road to improve their overall record to 18-3 and a perfect 6-0 in Area play.
The Dawgs beat BRHS in Alex City last Friday 84-60. Head Coach John Wadsworth continued his plan of playing all 11 players during the game. Ten of the 11 scored. Joey Payne led the team with 19 points; Jucorey Love and Wesley Dowdell scored 12 points each; and Kingston Frazier and AJ Butler chipped in nine and eight points respectively.
The Bulldogs traveled to Montgomery Tuesday night to play Jeff Davis. The Vols were coming off an overtime loss to the number one team in 7A, R.E. Lee. Coach Wadsworth felt this would be a big test for his team and prepare them for the post season.
OHS defeated the Vols 66-57. Kingston Frazier led the Dawgs with 14 points. AJ Butler scored 13 while Pernell Vickerstaff and Jucorey Love added 10 points each. Joey Payne scored 8 points.
The OHS Lady Bulldogs split their two games, beating BRHS and losing to Jeff Davis.
The girls downed the Wildcats 57-38 last Friday behind Jaylen Snipes’ 14 points.
Tuesday the Opelika girls hosted Jeff Davis at the OHS Sports Arena. The Lady Vols have four big-time college prospects. The head women’s coach at the University of Miami attended the game to watch those prospects.
Jeff Davis took a 12-point lead at the end of the third quarter. The Lady Vols did not miss many shots in the fourth quarter and ran away with a 75-45 win.
The Lady Bulldog basketball team is now 16-9 overall, 6-0 in Area play.
Both boys and girls teams have two regular season games remaining, both at home. These games are against two of the top teams in class 7A.
Opelika will host rival Central tonight, JV boys at 4:00, varsity girls at 5;30 and varsity boys at 7. Central defeated both OHS teams in early December.
When Opelika and Central square off on the hardwood, you can expect exciting games. The teams normally split, with each team winning at home.
The Central Boys enter the game ranked fifth in the state in 7A. Their only loss in the state of Alabama was to Northview last week in Dothan.
The Red Devils pose a huge problem due to their size. Two players are over 6’9 while another is 6’10”. The Dawgs tallest player is 6’4’’.
OHS must depend on quickness, guard play and good shooting to win the game. If Central can make it a half court game, they will maximize their height advantage.
Coach Wadsworth will use full court and half-court pressure to defend the big team.
The Lady Bulldogs must play better than they did Tuesday night against JD. Coach Booth must make sure her team keeps the Lady Red Devils from getting out in space and score easy baskets.
Both Opelika teams have a chance to win but it will take a strong effort and near perfect games to come out with victories.
R.E. LEE vs. OPELIKA
Monday night, Opelika will host Robert E. Lee on Senior Night.
The Generals will bring the number one ranked boys team to the Sports Arena Monday night. The R.E. Lee girls are ranked in the top 10 as well.
I want to invite all Opelika fans to the Opelika Sports Arena tonight and Monday night to support our two great basketball teams.
The coaches and players represent Opelika with class and play hard the entire game.
It is fun to watch both of these teams play.
Opelika girls and boys won the regular season Area championship and will host the Area tournaments February 4-7. Both first and second place teams advance. The winner of each tournament will host a first-round playoff game. Both runners-up will travel in the first round.
The Opelika girls tournament will be held February 4 and 6.
5pm Russell County vs Valley
7pm Ben Russell vs Opelika
Feb. 6 Winners of Feb. 4 games will play for championship at 6pm
5pm Ben Russell vs Russell County
7pm Valley vs Opelika
Winners of Feb. 5 games will play at 6pm
The AHSAA Girls and Boys Cross Country teams will compete in the AHSAA Indoor State Track Meet in Birmingham Feb 5-7. Both Opelika teams have a chance of winning the State championship.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.