The Opelika girls (22-6) defeated Central 57-39 last weekend to win the Area tournament championship. They had already sewed up the regular season title. These were the first regular season and tournament championships for fourth year head coach Devin Booth.
The Lady Bulldogs finished 8-0 in Area play including four wins over tournament runner-up Central, two of which were non-Area games.
OHS players Jalen Snipes and Destiny Savage combined for seven three pointers during a 20-0 run. This was exactly what coach Booth wanted her team to do.
“We talked about how somebody needed to score and that’s what happened,” said Booth after the game.
Longtime Central coach Carolyn Wright praised Opelika after the game.
“Opelika got the momentum and got hot and we could not stop them. We tried a full court press, a 2-3 zone, man-to-man, but nothing worked. They did what they needed to do to win; they are a good team,” Wright said.
Wright picked up her 400th career win in the semifinal game.
Snipes finished with a career high of 20 points while Savage added 18 points; both earned All-Tournament team honors, along with tournament MVP Tish Chatman.
Opelika hosted Jeff Davis last night in the first round of the State Tournament. The two teams split during the regular season.
The winner will advance to the regional tournament at Alabama State University next week. The game was in progress at press time.
Opelika tied with Central and Smiths Station for the regular season Area title. Central won a coin toss to decide the host of the Area tournament.
Opelika beat Smiths Station by 23 points in the tournament opener to advance to the championship game against Central, which beat Auburn High School.
The stage was set: Opelika and Central in the Area tournament championship game.
The Bulldogs had split with the Red Devils in the regular season.
The fans packed the gym and got the game they expected, a tight, close game that went into overtime. OHS trailed by six with less than a minute to go in regulation. Jarvis Johnson nailed a three-pointer to pull within three points. Opelika forced a turnover with less than 20 seconds left.
Trey Purter nailed a three-pointer with six seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Central could not get a shot off and the two teams headed to overtime.
In overtime, Central took a quick three-point lead. The two teams battled to the very last minute.
The Red Devils led 64-63 with less than 40 seconds left in overtime. Jarvis Johnson hit a three-pointer to give the Dawgs a two-point lead. Central’s Ronnie Battle was fouled and hit his free throws to tie the game.
Opelika had the ball with nine seconds left. Shontrez Tolbert missed two shots in the lane, but was fouled on his third try with 1.1 seconds left in overtime.
Tolbert calmly hit the first free throw for a one-point margin. He missed the second, but Central’s long shot from half court fell short giving Opelika the hard-fought 67-66 win and the Area tournament championship.
The win was special for many reasons, but, maybe most importantly, Opelika will host Jeff Davis Friday night at 7 p.m. at the OHS sports arena instead of traveling to play top-ranked Carver in Montgomery. These kids proved they were the best team in the Area by coming back to win the title game.
The win was special for head coach John Wadsworth, too. He stepped down last year a week before the first game after finding out his mother, who lives nine hours away, had cancer. John knew his mother would be undergoing treatment and perhaps some surgeries and wanted to support his family like all of us would. Doing this would require him to miss some games as well as practices. Coach didn’t feel this would be fair to the team, so he resigned as basketball coach to be with his mother during this uncertain time.
A year later his mother is stable and he is back as Opelika’s basketball coach.
Congratulations coach and players!
OHS will host Jeff Davis tonight at 7 p.m. in the OHS sports arena. I will be broadcasting the game on WMXA MIX 96.7 FM and online at www.mix967ine.com.
Airtime is 6:50 p.m.
The Opelika wrestling team finished sixth at the sectional meet in Prattville last weekend. Five OHS wrestlers qualified for the State meet in Huntsville this weekend.
Tyler Carter finished third at 113 pounds, Marquise Banks placed second in 126 pounds, Larcarris Patrick finished second at 132 pounds, Jamal Vaughn finished third at 152 pounds and Marquise Preston finished fourth at 170 pounds.
The OHS spring sports are starting their seasons. The baseball team will travel to Prattville on Feb. 18 for two games. They go to Alex City on Feb. 21 for a 5 p.m. game.
The golf team will compete against Auburn on Feb.19.
The soccer team will travel to Central on Feb. 21 for the junior varsity game at 5 p.m. with the varsity game to follow.
You can go to the official Opelika athletic website for all your info: www.thedawgnetwork.com.
Buy A Brick At Bulldog Stadium
The Opelika City School system will be selling brick pavers for $100 each. The bricks will be placed on the walk way into Bulldog Stadium. You can put up to 33 letters on your brick, three lines of 11 characters each.
These will be available at the Bulldog stadium entrance. This is the perfect way to show your support to OHS sports: give someone a brick as a gift, remember a loved one, identify the year you graduated from Opelika, or anything you wish as long as it is appropriate.
The proceeds will go towards capital improvements for Opelika City School system.
You can purchase these online soon. Stay tuned for more details.
Opelika Dixie Youth
Opelika Dixie Youth baseball is now taking registration online at www.opelikadixieyouth.com. The organization offers baseball for ages 6 through 12.
You can also register at the Opelika Sportsplex tomorrow morning from 9 a.m. to noon.
For more information, go to the website or call President of the Opelika Dixie Youth, Ben Bugg.
Dixie Boys Baseball
Opelika recreation department will begin taking registration on March 4 at the Sportsplex. The league is open to anyone who is 13 or 14 years of age.