Tournaments wrap up for Chilton area teams

Published 1:51 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Chilton County, Isabella and Billingsley high schools are the lone schools remaining after the area tournaments that still have a chance at bringing home a state basketball championship.

Billingsley’s varsity girl’s team punched their ticket to the subregional round on Feb. 6 with a semifinal win, 40-23, over Maplesville High School in the AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 tournament. The Bears faced the No. 1 seed and host school Loachapoka High School in the finals and were beaten 48-7 on Feb. 9.

Billingsley will now travel to Autaugaville High School on Feb. 13 for their subregional game at 6 p.m.

Isabella advanced to their respective area tournament championship game in AHSAA Class 2A Area 7. However, the Mustangs suffered the same fate as Billingsley falling 62-52 on the road to the No. 1 seed and host school B.B. Comer High School on Feb. 8.

Amelia Fjeldstad played just 15 minutes for Isabella fighting foul trouble throughout the game. Makayla Logan stepped up huge for the Mustangs posting 24 points and 22 rebounds to lead the way.

“We still had our chances, but (foul trouble) made us struggle,” Jared Day, Isabella varsity girl’s coach, said. “It did not turn out the way we wanted, but the other girls stepped up and gave us a chance.”

Isabella travels to Francis Marion High School for their subregional matchup on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. Isabella and Francis Marion are old area foes, and the Mustangs beat them in the area championship last season before realignment.

Both varsity teams from CCHS advanced to the subregional round by making the championship game in the AHSAA Class 6A Area 5 tournaments. The Tigers’ varsity girl’s team outlasted Calera High School 63-54 on Feb. 9 to win the area championship. CCHS hosts Briarwood High School in their subregional matchup on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.

“Playing that game at home is big, and I think the pressure is off these girls right now,” Rickey Pulliam, CCHS varsity girl’s coach, said. “They had to come out and do something that had never been done. I think Monday we will come out ready to play basketball and we are looking forward to the opportunity whoever we play.”

The CCHS varsity boy’s team earned their place in the subregional round on Feb. 14 by taking down Calera 66-53 on Feb. 7 to advance to the final against the No. 1 seed and host school Benjamin Russell High School.

Three area varsity boy’s teams fell just one game short of the subregional round losing in the semifinals of their respective area tournament. Jemison High School lost 78-38 to the No. 1 seed Sylacauga High School in the Class 5A Area 8 tournament on Feb. 7. The 2022-2023 season was the first under the guidance of coach Christian Goodwin. Goodwin was hired in June 2022 and said having the upcoming spring and summer to build the team’s chemistry will be extremely helpful in establishing the culture in the Panthers program.

“We are building it and I think the kids have been very responsive to what we are trying to do and trying to soak it all in,” Goodwin said. “It takes time, but you have to take it step by step and I think we have taken those initial steps and the kids have been good. We threw a lot at them in a little bit of time and you started to see the light bulb go off little by little throughout the year.”

Thorsby High School added a win in the AHSAA Class 2A Area 7 tournament taking down Isabella 61-38 in the preliminary round on Feb. 4. That set up a date with the No. 1 seed and host school Central of Coosa County High School on Feb. 7. The Rebels managed to stay with Coosa Central the majority of the game but lost a close one 66-57.

Billingsley’s varsity boy’s team was bounced from the AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 tournament by Loachapoka as well, 58-33 on Feb. 7. The Bears trailed by seven points in the fourth quarter, but Loachapoka was able to create turnovers down the stretch to put the game away.

Hudson Manning led the Bears with 13 points and Kyle Boice added nine points.

The Bears defeated Verbena High School 48-41 in the preliminary round of the tournament to advance to the semifinals. Billingsley first-year coach Lanny Jones said he looks forward to seeing the freshmen and sophomores that got a lot of minutes for the Bears this season grow in the coming years.

“Most of your positives come with having confidence in yourself and trusting the people around you, and I think that was some of the stuff we accomplished throughout the season,” Jones said. “I felt like we were going to put ourselves in a good position at the end of the season, and we did.”

Varsity girl’s subregional games will be played on Feb. 13 and varsity boy’s games on Feb. 14. All games are set to tipoff at 6 p.m.