ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
Winter sports continues at Opelika High School and Opelika Middle School. The girls’ and boys’ basketball teams play two road area games this week against Valley and Eufaula. Wrestling travels to Smiths Station Friday and Saturday to participate in the “Smiths Station Invitation”.
Opelika participated in the “Michael Pruitt Invitational” in Arab. This tournament featured 18 of the top 5A/6A teams in Alabama with many wrestlers that placed in last year’s state meet.
Sixteen Bulldog grapplers participated in the meet; Five placed in the the top five in their respective weight classes and the others wrestled well.
Brady Campbell (145lbs) took down two former state champs, currently ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the state, on his way to winning the weight class with 4-0 record. Campbell is ranked No. 4 in the state in last week’s coache’s poll, but could move up this week.
Jack Pritchard (145lbs), wrestling in the toughest bracket of the tournament, a bracket that featured the current top-six-ranked 195-pound grapplers, wrestled five of the top 10, going 4-1 and placing third overall.
Landon Willis (152lbs) finished in fourth with 3-2 record. Freshman Tommie Johnson (182lbs) and Kyle Epperson (220lbs) both finished fifth with 3-2 records. Logan Sheridan (138lbs) went 3-2 and placed in the top eight.
OHS finished sixth out of 18 teams.
Head wrestling coach Jim Davis spoke with the “On the Mark” radio show last week. Davis was proud to have 30-plus wrestlers on the team. This is the largest number of grapplers in the program’s many years. The numbers will help OHS continue to participate at a high level in AHSAA wrestling.
The OHS boys’ varsity basketball team shut down for several days last week due to COVID issues. Head coach Wesley Button told the “On the Mark” radio show that two games were cancelled last week at Lanett and at Harris County. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play at Valley on Jan. 25 in an area game with huge implications.
Prior to the COVID outbreak, the Bulldogs beat Eufaula and lost to Valley.
OHS beat then No. 1 Eufaula, 66-65, in Mainstreet gym. Five Bulldog players scored in double digits. Isiah Knight scored a game high 16 points; Mekhiron Brock and Kaden Cooper added 13 points apiece; Grady Bynum and Landon Lee added 11 points apiece in the win.
Russell County then beat Opelika, 70-44, at the Mainstreet gym on the OHS campus. Lee led offensively, scoring 10 points. Brock added seven points.
OHS girls’ coach Blake Smalley saw his team split area games with Eufaula and Russell County. Eufaula beat OHS, 62-48, despite the Lady Dogs leading 30-22 at halftime. Haley Sanders continued to play consistent basketball, scoring a game high 18 points. Teammate Ashanti Thomas added 14 points.
The girls then blew out Russell County, 57-16, in a key area game. Erica Matthews scored a game 18 points and Sanders added 14 points.
The Lady Bulldogs lead the area with a 3-1 record.
I did not write “On the Mark” last week due to having surgery Jan. 6. I appreciate Michelle for understanding my predicament. I want to THANK, The Orthopaedic Clinic, Dr Trent Wilson, East Alabama Medical Center, the surgery staff from pre-op and post-op, transportation and all those involved in my surgery.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeart Media, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.