Maplesville wins first regular season area title in 40+ years

Published 10:39 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

It had been over 40 years since Maplesville High School last won its varsity boys area basketball regular season title, but that changed on Jan. 29. The Red Devils took down Notasulga High School 55-48 to finish the regular season with a 10-6 overall record, and 7-1 in AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 play, earning them home court for the area tournament starting on Feb. 2.

Maplesville head coach Undra Rush said the team’s effort on defense and buying in on that end of the floor has been the most impressive thing he has seen from them this season. The bench players for the Red Devils have also been giving them a huge boost throughout the season. The bench boost was crucial after the Maplesville football team advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, forcing the basketball team to get a late start to the season and only playing 16 regular season games, eight of those in area play.

“We got a late start and lived off defense and turnovers,” Rush said. “We stuck to our offense that we have installed for the last two years, and just (repeated) it over and over again to make sure guys know their roles and are learning their strengths and weaknesses.”

Nehemiah McCary led Maplesville over Notasulga with 23 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double of the season. Jakobe Nix followed with eight points and three assists, and Johnathon Wilson had seven points, three assists and three steals.

Maplesville concluded its regular season on Jan. 30 taking down in-county rival Isabella High School 67-28. Four Red Devils scored in double figures, led by McCary with another 20-point game with an even 20 points and adding four rebounds. Wilson had 15 points and eight assists, and Aidan Abbott and Nix each poured in 13 points.

Now heading into the area tournament at home for the first time in over 40 years, Rush will have the opportunity to win it as both a player and coach. He won the area tournament at Maplesville in both his junior and senior seasons as a player in the program, the last time Maplesville won the area tournament as well.

“We have to go in and be focused, and play our game,” Rush said. “This is a whole new season, and I tell them every game that we are playing against the number one team in the state no matter what their record is, if we have played them already or beat them already.”

The AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 Basketball Tournament tips off with the four seed Billingsley High School facing the five seed Verbena High School in the first round at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2. The winner will advance to play the number one seed Maplesville on Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. in the second semifinal. The first semifinal between Loachapoka and Notasulga high schools is on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. The championship game is set for Feb. 7 at 5 p.m.