By D. Mark Mitchell
Hazel Green High School’s girls basketball team (34-2) ended Opelika (27-7) season in the semifinals 46-35 at Birmingham Legacy Arena.
This was the third-straight trip to the State Finals for Opelika under Coach Devin Booth. The Lady Bulldogs have lost to Hazel Green two out of the last three years. The Trojans beat McAdory 40-34 in the finals to capture their third-straight 6A State Championship.
Several factors contributed to the loss. The Lady Bulldogs committed 17 turnovers, were outrebounded 34-20, shot 31.7% from floor and was 3-of-19 from the free throw line. Despite these numbers, the Trojans hit 11 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
OHS rallied in the fourth quarter, closing the gap to 39-35 with 1:14 left in the game, but had to foul on each defensive possession. Hazel Green hit six free throws in the final minute to win and advance to the finals. Opelika was led by Kaitlyn Bryant’s nine points, two steals and three assists, Haley Sanders contributed with seven points and Ananda Hughley notched five points and six rebounds.
Congratulations to the 2019-20 Opelika Lady Bulldog basketball team!
I am not sure fans understand how far Opelika Girls Basketball improved since Devin Booth took over as coach. Coach Booth has consistently won games, area regular season and tournament titles and finished in the Final 56 three-straight seasons. Booth earned a state championship at Samson prior to becoming OHS’s head coach. She also serves as the assistant athletic director for female athletics in addition to her head basketball duties.
The Opelika Soccer teams missed several matches over the last week because of inclement weather. However, they were able to play a couple of games.
The Lady Bulldog Soccer team won a pair of easy matches, 8-1 over Troup County and 10-0 over Beauregard last week.
OHS jumped on Troup in Calloway early, scoring five goals in the first period on their way to an 8-0 win. Scoring goals were Amiya Brown, who netted four goals, Erica Mathews, who scored two, while Ashley Hilyer and Aimee Alcantara added one goal apiece. Molly Randolph recorded two assists while Abby Noon, Kaitlyn Goodman, Scarlet Posadas and Erica Mathews recorded one assist apiece.
Opelika blanked Beauregard 10-0. OHS was led by Goodman’s four goals and three from Erica Mathews. Noon, Hilyer and Garcia scored one goal apiece. Goodman added four assist while Raveen Tolbert, Amiya Brown and Ashley Hilyer added assists.
The shutouts were courtesy of goal keepers Emily Lux and Phoebe Darcey.
OHS won two out of three matches last week and weekend. The Bulldogs beat Troup County (5-0) and Beauregard (10-0) while Smiths Station gave Opelika their first loss, 3-2.
The Bulldogs beat Troup County 5-0 behind goals from Marshall Meyers, Charlie Garcia, Tyklell Jones, Ethan Souphanthong and Caleb Rujuana. Garcia added two assists while Jones, Meyers and Alberto Cordova added one assist apiece. Miller Isaacson held Troup County scoreless as keeper.
Several Bulldogs soccer players scored goals in the 10-0 win over Beauregard. Tyklell Jones scored three goals; Jonathan Blanco netted two goals and added an assist; Said Rujana netted two goals; Landon Faison and Charlie Garcia scored a goal and recorded assists; Harold Torres (one goal), Walker Norell (one assist); Marshall Meyers scored a goal and recorded an assist and Miller Isaacson recorded his second straight shutout at keeper.
Smiths Station hung on 3-2 to hand Opelika its first loss. Charlie Garcia scored in the first half and Landon Faison recorded a goal on a throw in from Meyers.
Both teams have a busy week ahead.
The Opelika High Track and Field Program hosted the “Opelika Invitational” on the Sam Mason Track at OHS last weekend.
Twenty-four teams, including 12 girls teams and 12 boys teams, made up the track meet competition. OHS won the girls meet with 125 points, six more than second-place LaFayette. Opelika’s boys dominated with 243.50 points, 150.50 better than second-place Oxford High School.
The following are top-three finishers for OHS;
100-meters – Jarell Stinson (1st), Dalen Torbert (2nd)
200-meters – Jarell Stinson, Dalen Tolbert and Omar Holloway finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd
3,200-meters – Charles Brewer (3rd)
110-meter hurdles – Justin Shorter (2nd)
300-meter hurdles- Watta (1st)
High Jump – LeDamien Rowell (1st) and O’Narrion Tolbert (2nd)
Long Jump – Eric Watts (1st) and Rowell (3rd)
Pole Vault – Benjamin Weaver Royal (1st)
Javelin- Stinson (1st) and Brody Davis (3rd)
Shot Put – Ja’Kai Stephens (2nd)
I have no individual results from the girls division.
Opelika’s baseball team is 6-5 overall after last week’s games.
OHS v. Central
OHS beat Central 11-9 at Bulldog Park behind 10 hits. Kory McCoy, Andrew Parr and Brayden Thomas recorded two hits apiece. Latrell Gullatte, Jackson Harris, Brooks Bryan (home run) and Paul Goodman recorded hits.
OHS v. Spanish Fort
The Spanish Fort Toros outscored Opelika 12-11 last Friday afternoon to earn the win. Spanish Fort recored 10 hits to Opelika’s 12 hits but still managed to win the game. Gullatte, Harris, Bryan, Parr and Rhodes recorded multiple hits for the Bulldogs.
OHS v. Goshen
The Bulldogs defeated Goshen 9-2 behind a good pitching performance by Jackson Harris who went five innings, allowing one run and a hit for the win. Caleb Chisum and Kydylan Ligon pitched the final two innings. Gullatte and Thomas continued to be hot at the plate, recording two hits apiece. Parr, Bryan, Chisum, Ligon and Speakman recoded hits.
OHS v. Ariton
Ariton beat OHS 4-3 behind solid pitching performance by Will Harris. The senior allowed six hits and two runs over five innings to earn the win. Parr was the offensive leader with two hits, Gullatte, Thomas, Harris and Duke recorded hits.
OHS v. Bibb County
OHS beat Bibb County 5-4 behind the pitching of Rhodes. The senior lasted five innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out four batters. Bryan hit a grand slam and added two hits to lead at the plate. Harris managed two while Goodman added one.
Opelika played at Auburn High Tuesday night, the results were not complete at print time.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.