By D. Mark Mitchell
The OHS girls basketball team endured an up and down week. Coach Devin Booth’s Lady Bulldogs captured their fifth straight area championship with wins over Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell last week. But the week ended with them losing to rival Auburn High School, 68-62, on the road.
OHS coasted to a 67-30 win over the Wetumpka girls Tuesday at the Opelika Sports Arena. Anita Payne led the team with 13 points while teammates Claire Worth, Alexis Browning and Sierra McCullough added eight points apiece.
Two days later Benjamin Russell travelled to Opelika for an important area game, which they lost 61-31, as the the Lady Dawgs wrapped up the area championship with the win over the Lady Wildcats. Freshman Claire Worth scored a team- high 18 points. Anita Payne added 15 points while Abrea Green and Quala Walton chipped in 12 points each.
Auburn High hosted OHS Friday night in the first of two meetings between the rivals. Auburn and Opelika battled for 48 minutes last Friday at the Sports Arena on the AHS campus. When the final horn blew, Auburn had eased to a six-point win, 68-62, on Frank W. Tolbert Court.
This was only the fourth loss to rival Auburn in Booth’s eight years as the head OHS girls basketball coach.
Opelika (16-5, area 3-0) has the luxury of knowing they are hosting the area tournament and are in the 6A state basketball tournament.
The Lady Dawgs played in Wetumpka Tuesday night. Those results were not available at press time. Opelika hosts Central Jan. 26, Handley Jan. 30 and Auburn Feb. 2. All games start at 6 p.m.
The OHS boys won their first area game, 56-49, over Wetumpka at home last week. The Bulldogs were led by Jordan Heard’s 14 points. Messiah Williams scored 11 points and Austin Pitts added nine points.
This was the second game in a row that Opelika had played at a high level.
Benjamin Russell traveled to Opelika Thursday night for an area game. The Wildcats capitalized on 16 missed Bulldog free throws, winning a nail biter 59-54. BRHS outscored Opelika by eight in the fourth quarter to get the win.
Opelika ended the week with a 62-26 blowout loss to rival Auburn High. The Tigers dominated start to finish. as the Dawgs were outmanned at every position.
Coach John Wadsworth’s team can cause a three-way area tie by winning at Wetumpka Tuesday night. That score was not available at press time.
The Dawgs host Central Jan. 26, Handley Jan. 30 and Auburn Feb. 2.
Opelika High traveled to Phenix City Friday to wrestle Beauregard and the Red Devils in a tri-meet.
Central defeated OHS 39-36 in a close match while the Bulldogs beat Beauregard 47-36.
OHS winners in the Central match included : Bevin Williams, 182 lbs.; Roberto Martinez, 195 lbs.; Ryan Nixon, heavyweight; BT Thomas, 106, lbs.; Cameron Williams, 113 lbs. and Des Shuman, 126 lbs.
Winning OHS wrestlers against the BHS Hornets were:
James Dawson, 220 lbs.; Ryan Nixon, (heavyweight) ;Jackson Shoemaker , 106 lbs.; Cameron Williams, 113 lbs.; Des Shuman, 126 lbs.;
Tory Birdsong, 132 lbs. ; Timmy Tolbert 152 lbs. and Chris Willett, 160 lbs.
Opelika will host Montgomery Catholic and Montgomery Carver in a tri-meet.
The 6A South Super Sectional is Feb. 10.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.