Chilton County area teams showcase in subregional round

Published 12:57 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Four Chilton County area basketball programs advanced into the subregional round of the AHSAA state playoffs with one goal in mind — Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham.

Billingsley High School’s varsity girl’s team, who advanced by making the AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 championship game, traveled to Autaugaville High School on Feb. 13. The Bears gave the Class 1A Area 5 champion Eagles all they could handle, narrowly missing out on the upset bid 35-32.

Billingsley struggled to score in the first half, but turned it around quickly to make it a highly contested game.

“Our defense was on cue, and they fought to the very end,” Billingsley varsity girl’s coach Angela Jones said. “These girls have come a long way … We are building, but I know it hurts.”

With just a few seconds left, Billingsley’s Lisa Smedley had a chance to tie the game, launching a 3-pointer at the buzzer that found the bottom of the net. However, the shot was waived off and deemed the ball was still on her hand when the buzzer sounded.

The Bears started the season 0-10, but they managed to come together to post five wins, all in AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 play.

“These girls understand the game a lot more,” Jones said. “I am excited about the team next year … We built life-long relationships, and this was a team that had no expectations, and look where we are.”

Isabella High School’s varsity girl’s team suffered the same fate traveling to Francis Marion High School, the Class 2A Area 5 champions, and fell 74-50 on Feb. 13. Isabella knocked off Francis Marion in the area championship last season when the two schools were aligned in the same area.

“(Francis Marion) is a really good team, senior loaded, and we have been playing the same girls for years,” Isabella varsity girl’s coach Jared Day said. “Just looking at what they have done this season and last night, they are playing with a chip on their shoulder and that is in their minds. They were impressive.”

The Mustangs were able to cut the lead down to single digits on a few occasions in the game, but could never get it within a few possessions. Francis Marion managed their lead to cruise to the regional round in Birmingham.

“My girls played their hearts out, and we really felt like we could win the game,” Day said. “I am proud of my girls … They are going to be good next year too, and they did everything I asked them to do this year. We had a few ups and downs in the middle of the year, but we fought back and gave ourselves a chance to win an area championship. Unfortunately, we just drew a really good team.”

Chilton County High School was the third and final varsity girl’s program to bow out in the subregional round losing 56-44 to Briarwood Christian School on Feb. 13. Trinity Pulliam led the team in scoring with 18 points and added 15 rebounds and nine blocks.

Chilton County’s varsity boy’s team were the last local team to play their area championship game taking on Benjamin Russel in the AHSAA Class 6A Area 5 tournament on Feb. 10. The Tigers lost 69-51 but had three scorers in double figures — Jakeveon Bolding with 15 points, Jakobe Worthy with 11 points and Latavion Floyd with 10 points.

Bolding added three rebounds, Worthy had five assists and four rebounds and Floyd posted a double-double with 10 rebounds to match his 11 points and four blocks.

“We had a good game plan going in I felt like, but they had a couple kids get hot late that pushed them over the edge,” CCHS varsity boy’s coach Austin Moncus said. “I expect Benjamin Russell to make a run, so hopefully, we can play them again in the elite eight.”

Demarcus Riddick had five points, nine rebounds and six blocks.

CCHS advanced by making the area championship game and plays Helena High School in the subregional round.