Verbena girls get first win of season, Billingsley boys shine

Published 12:35 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

There were some new faces in this week’s victorious teams in the basketball action in and around Chilton County. Verbena and Billingsley high schools both earned wins they have been working months towards, and Chilton County and Isabella high schools are perfecting their craft looking to make some runs in their respective area tournaments coming up next week.

Verbena’s varsity girl’s team has been on a grind this season with no wins to show for it, until Jan. 30. The Red Devils were able to take down AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 rivals Notasulga High School 40-38 to earn their first win of the 2022-2023 season.

Verbena’s girl’s team did fall to Maplesville High School 40-25 on Jan. 26 and to Billingsley 37-23 the following day, but the win to end their week of action from Jan. 24-30 made the struggles worth it.

Verbena’s varsity boy’s team is still trying to find their first win of the season as well. The Red Devils suffered three losses between Jan. 24-30 — 48-25 to Maplesville on Jan. 26, 56-29 to Billingsley on Jan. 27 and 68-44 to Notasulga on Jan. 30.

Both of Billingsley’s teams have been trending in the right direction. After a 74-15 loss to Autaugaville High School on Jan. 26, varsity boy’s coach Lanny Jones challenged his team to go 4-0 their last four games of the regular season leading into the Class 1A Area 7 tournament. The Bears responded with a 56-29 win over Verbena on Jan. 27 as Eli Manning led the way with 20 points and Kyle Boice followed with 17 points.

“It is a mindset thing for us, but I like the way we are playing right now,” Jones said. “When you start winning it of course builds confidence, so hopefully, we can keep it going. Going into the area tournament, we just have to make some things happen.”

Billingsley closed its Jan. 24-30 week with a 51-32 win over Isabella on Jan. 20.

Billingsley’s varsity girl’s team has been on the uptick as well collecting two Class 1A Area 7 wins this season already. After a 49-33 loss to Autaugaville on Jan. 26, the Bears picked up their third area win of the season and their third overall prevailing 37-23 over Verbena on Jan. 27. Alana Jones led all scorers with 15 points followed by Megan Chandler with 11 points.

“Games are practices until area (play), and that is when it counts,” Billingsley coach Angela Jones said. “You can win every game and go to the area tournament and lose the first game, but you can go and win too. We can use that as motivation … I feel pretty good about it, but no matter what I know we have improved from day one until now.”

The Bears closed their Jan. 24-30 week with a loss to Isabella 43-28 on Jan. 30.

Both of Chilton County’s varsity teams went 2-0 between Jan. 24-30 picking up wins over Calera and Lee high schools. The varsity boy’s team picked up an AHSAA Class 5A Area 5 win over Calera to finish 2-2 in area play on Jan. 24. Jamon Dejarnett led CCHS with 14 points and six assists, and Demarcus Riddick had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The 66-60 win over Lee on Jan. 27 saw Jakobe Worthy pace the Tigers with 17 points and four assists, and Jakeveon Bolding posted 14 points and five assists. CCHS sits 17-10 overall this season with two regular season games left on their schedule.

The CCHS varsity girl’s team extended their winning streak to eight games with their two wins last week. First, a 59-34 triumph over Calera pushed the Tigers to 4-0 in area play in the regular season and will host the Class 5A Area 5 tournament. Iasia Anderson had 32 points and 12 rebounds, and Trinity Pulliam had 16 points and 19 rebounds in the game.

The Tigers won 68-45 over Lee on Jan. 27 paced by Anderson again with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 steals and 12 assists. Ivyonna Verner had 13 points.

Thorsby High School’s varsity basketball teams are trending in two different directions with the girl’s team fighting hard in a tough AHSAA Class 2A Area 7, and the boys team trying to find their footing again.

The Rebels’ girl’s squad picked up two wins last week including a 47-42 area win over Fayetteville High School on Jan. 27, a key win down the stretch of the season. Pairing that with a 34-26 win on the road at Elmore County High School on Jan. 26 positioned Thorsby well going into a pivotal Jan. 30 contest with B.B. Comer High School. The Rebels fell 52-31, and Comer will host the girls area tournament next week.

Thorsby’s varsity boy’s team is on a slide, and four losses last week could not stop it. The Rebels came up just short against Fayetteville, 60-56 on Jan. 27, to give them confidence they can play with the teams in their area tournament coming up shortly.

Isabella’s varsity boy’s team is now without their top two scorers including leading scorer Eli Kendrick out with an injury. The Mustangs are still finding new ways to score, and fell to B.B. Comer and Billingsley last week, 91-36 and 51-32, respectively.

The Mustangs’ varsity girl’s team had a light week with only two games, six days apart between Jan. 24-30. A hard-fought 56-53 win over B.B. Comer on Jan. 24 avenged an earlier season loss to Comer on Jan. 13, 48-45.

Six days later, Isabella put together a 43-28 win over Billingsley.

“We just have to get back in the groove of it,” Isabella coach Jared Day said. “That is what we are going to try to do this week, work on a few things we need to work on and get ready to try and make a run at it.”

Both of Maplesville’s varsity teams picked up wins between Jan. 24-30 with the girl’s team winning on Jan. 26 40-25 over Verbena. However, the Red Devils fell to Loachapoka High School 63-12 on Jan. 24.

The Red Devils’ varsity boy’s team started their week with a 53-37 loss to Loachapoka on Jan. 24. Jakavion Jackson led the way with 22 points, and Johnathon Wilson had 10 points.

Maplesville turned things around with a 48-25 win over Verbena on Jan. 26 as Wilson recorded 16 points and Kristopher Groom had 12 points.

Jemison High School’s varsity girl’s team won its Jan. 30 game over American Christian Academy 57-23 led by Jaclyn Lowery with 25 points, 15 rebounds, seven steals and four assists. The Panthers suffered two AHSAA Class 5A Area 8 losses to Sylacauga and Central of Clay County high school, 66-19 on Jan. 26 and 51-24 on Jan. 27, respectively.

Jemison’s varsity boy’s team lost its area matchup with Sylacauga on the same day 50-40.

Chilton Christian Academy’s varsity boy’s team picked up two wins last week to extend their winning streak to seven games. The Patriots won in overtime 61-51 over Tuscaloosa Christian Academy on Jan. 26 led by Cayman Hamilton’s 37-point performance. CCA won on Jan. 27 over Russell Christian Academy from Meridian, Mississippi 58-49 with Hamilton tallying 23 points to pace the Patriots.

The CCA varsity girl’s extended their winning streak to six games picking up a Jan. 26 win over Tuscaloosa Christian as well. Kaylee Calloway led the way with 14 points followed by Emma Camp and Zoe Jones in double figures with 11 and 10 points.

All Chilton County area teams will start their respective area tournaments between Feb. 6-7.