On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika Wrestling team participated in the “Smiths Station High Duels Tournament” along with Prattville, Enterprise and SSHS this weekend.
Opelika beat Prattville 42-36 but lost to Enterprise (21-45) and Smiths Station (12-66).
The Bulldogs’ top performers were:
Jack Pritchard, 195 lbs., with three wins, no losses and three pins, totaling 18 points,
Ari Brogdon, 182 lbs., two wins, totaling 12 points,
Brayden Wilson, 120 lbs., two wins, one loss, for 12 points and
T’harra Brunson, 160 lbs., two wins, one loss, with a pin for a total of 12 points.
Opelika Head Wrestling Coach Jim Davis made a point to emphasize: “We had six other Bulldog grapplers that may not have scored points but wrestled hard and continue to improve.”
OHS hosted Prattville and Reeletown Tuesday night. One senior, Adam Phillips, was honored for being the lone senior on the team. The “Senior Night” ceremony took place prior to the start of the matches.
The OHS Girls’ basketball team finished the week with one win and one loss.
The Lady Bulldogs (8-8) lost a close game with area foe Eufaula, 55-51 last Tuesday night in the OHS Mainstreet gym. The EHS Lady Tigers won the area with the win over OHS. Eufaula girls won the area regular season championship, finishing 6-0 in area competition.
Opelika’s Kaitlyn Bryant led the bulldogs on offense with 16 points. Ladajah Huguley and Ashanti Thomas added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
OHS Girls’ Сoach Devin Booth’s team finished the week with a 55-35 blowout win over Russell County. Bryant and Haley Sanders led Opelika on offense by scoring 14 points apiece.
The Opelika Boys went 0-2 last week. Eufala beat Opelika 68-66 at the buzzer last Tuesday in the Mainstreet gym. Ja Carr led the Bulldogs on offense with 21 points. Jayden Cooper scored 9 points, and Brandon Howard scored 8 points in the loss. Opelika’s Cooper tied the game at 66-66 with 8 seconds left on a three-pointer, only to have the Tigers score at the buzzer on a shot that rolled around the rim before falling to win by 2 points.
In the second game of the week, Russell County defeated the varsity boys 68-44. Jayden Cooper led the offense with 11 points, while teammate Brandon Howard added 10 points.
AHSAA ATHLETIC UPDATE
The Alabama High School Athletic Association held a Central Board of Control Meeting last Wednesday in Montgomery. The Board approved numerous modifications to winter playoff schedules.
Basketball seemed to have more modifications, including adding a second sub-regional round at high school campuses. Second- and third-round playoff games are normally at neutral sites. The regional finals will continue to be held at neutral venues. Class 7A will play the sub-regional on campuses before regional finals at neutral sites.
The regional sites include Jacksonville State, Wallace-Hanceville and Garrett Coliseum. (Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum will host two regional finals).
Alabama State University told the AHSAA that due to COVID, they would not host a regional final. South Alabama and Troy turned down offers to host a regional.
The State Finals will start Feb. 26 instead of March 1, to help spread the games out more through March 6. AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese, appearing on my sports radio show “On the Mark” (airing on FOX Sports the Game 910-1310) Friday, made the following comments.
“Like I told everyone in July, when I announced we would move forward with fall sports… We must be flexible and follow the guidance from the Alabama Department of Health and State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey. We’re dealing with an abnormal world, but the kids will be able to play games and experience a complete season.”
The State Finals will be held in Bill Harris Arena in the Birmingham Crossplex and at Bartow Arena on the UAB campus. The regular site, BJCC, is undergoing renovations and is unusable for 2021. Both sites will operate at 20% attendance, which translates to 1,000 spectators each at Bill Harris Arena and UAB.
The Indoor Track Championship will be held over two days, Feb. 5 and 6, at Birmingham’s Crossplex.
Wrestling Championships will be on separate weekends and will be at three sites. The super sectional meets will be at Montgomery’s Garret Coliseum (Class 1A-4A) and Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena (7A), Feb. 12-13. The Championships will be held at Huntsville’s Vaun Braun Civic Center Feb. 18-20.
All of the changes were made to help the student-athletes complete winter sports.
For more details on the modifications, go to www.ahsaa.com.