By D. Mark Mitchell
Twelve OHS wrestlers were invited to participate in the Smiths Station Invitational Tournament over last weekend. Four Bulldog grapplers made it to the finals: Desmond Shuman (126 lbs.), Tory Birdsong (132 lbs. , Timmy Tolbert (145 lbs.) and freshman James Dawson (220 lbs.) each finished with a 4-1 record.
Opelika hosted a 16- team tournament Monday. Unfortunately, the results were not available at press time.
Side Note- Alabama Coach Nick Saban dropped by the Opelika Invitational Monday to watch a couple of football recruits wrestle for their respective high school. Recruiting never ends.
Opelika will travel to Beauregard Thursday for a tri match with the Hornets and Central of Phenix City. The first match begins at 5 p.m.
Coach Devin Booth’s OHS Lady Bulldog basketball team is in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and the team has won 12 of their last 14 games.
Opelika snatched three wins last week: over Benjamin Russell(60-50), Jeff Davis (58-13) and Handley of Roanoke (61-33).
The Lady Dawgs defeated Benjamin Russell 60-50 in the area opener for both teams. Anita Payne continued to lead OHS with 15 points. Freshman Claire Worth poured in 12 points while Abrea Green added 10. All 12 OHS players participated in the game.
The girls next beat defending 7A state champion Jeff Davis, 58-13 in Montgomery. Alexis Browning scored 14 points, while Quala Walton and Claire Worth added 12 and nine points respectively.
OHS then won their third straight road game by beating Handley 61-33 in Roanoke. Abrea Green scored a game high 12 points, Anita Payne scored nine while Amanda Hughley, Alexis Browning and Diamond Buchannon all scored eight points apiece.
Coach Booth’s team will host Ben Russell Thursday (1-19) and will travel to Auburn Friday. OHS hosted Wetumpka Tuesday night. The results were not available at press time.
Opelika has a three- team area for the first time. The main difference between three and four teams is that the regular season champion advances to the state playoffs and hosts the area tournament. The area champion earns a bye to the area tournament final. Both first and second-place teams advance to the state tournament.
The OHS boys basketball team continues to improve but still lost two games last week, to Benjamin Russell, 59-39, and Handley of Roanoke, 64-57.
Coach John Wadsworth continues to present a positive attitude despite his team’s struggle to win games. The Dawgs traveled to Alex City last week for their first Area game of the season, against BRHS.
The Wildcats led by only four points at halftime, but used hot shooting in the second half to pull away from the pesky Bulldogs, 59-39. For OHS, Jordan Heard scored 10 points, while Austin Pitts and DeAndre Butler added seven apiece.
Perhaps Opelika played its best basketball game of the season last Thursday against Handley. The Dawgs lost 64-57 but the Tigers had to fight and claw to earn the win. Jordan Heard scored a team high 16 points, DeAndre Butler added 10 and Jaylin Cummings scored six points.
Opelika will host Wetumpka Thursday and travel to Auburn High School Friday January 20.
The OMS seventh and eight grade basketball teams both picked up wins over Handley last week. The seventh grade improved to 7-2 after beating Handley 44-25. Jarrell Stinson scored a game high 12 points while Kysylan Ligen added eight.
The eighth grade team beat Handley 46-20, improving to 12-1 overall. Brandon Howard scored 15 points and Trevon Moore added 10, Will Beams, JahMose Story and Caleb Phillips scored seven points apiece.
Smiths Station will replace Carver (Columbus, Ga.) in the Aug. 18 slot in the 2017-18 Opelika High Football Schedule. The Georgia High School Athletic Association made a change for the 2017-18 season which required many Georgia high schools to change nonregion games.
Smiths Station lost two games that were scheduled with Georgia schools in 2017-18. Opelika lost one. Opelika coach Brian Blackmon and Smiths Station coach Adam Facett worked the specifics of the one-year contract. Opelika will travel to Smiths Station to open the season Aug. 18.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.