Autaugaville advances to Championship game, Linden’s season ends
BIRMINGHAM – Autaugaville High School will get the chance to cap a perfect season after clinching a berth in the state finals Tuesday. The undefeated Eagles (29-0) downed Decatur Heritage 62-48 in Tuesday’s semifinals of the AHSAA Class 1A Boys’ State Basketball Championships at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Autaugaville built a double-digit lead in the first quarter, led by as many as 19 points and held off a late Decatur Heritage rally. The victory sends Autaugaville into Friday’s 1A championship game against Belgreen (26-2), which beat Notasulga in today’s other semifinal. Tip-off for Friday’s title game is set for 4:30 p.m., at Bill Harris Arena.
The Eagles, coached by Darren Golson, got a big performance from 6-foot-8 Dewaun Stubbs, who had 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots despite picking up three first-half fouls that sent him to the bench for most of the second quarter. Three other players reached double-digit scoring – Antonio Hardy with 11 and Jaden Nixon and Makenzie Bristow-Matthews with 10 apiece. Bristow added three assists and three steals.
Brayden Kyle scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Decatur Heritage (20-8), coached by Jason Marshall. Clayton Smith added 13 points, and Sean Zerkle had seven points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Autaugaville shot 49 percent (23-for-47) and won the rebounding battle 36-28, but struggled and shot just 13-of-27 at the free-throw line.
In the ultimate contrast in styles, Skyline played a full-court, run-and-gun style against a Linden squad built around getting the ball to 6-foot-6 sophomore Timya Thurman near the basket.
In Tuesday’s AHSAA Class 3A Girls’ State Basketball Championships semifinal battle at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham Crossplex, flash beat crash.
Skyline (29-7), with a roster listing no player taller than 5-foot-7, used its full-court press to stifle the Patriots (11-4) and earn a 60-38 victory. Gracie Rowell score 19 points, Gracie Stucky added 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals, and Aiden Bellomy had 12 points and four steals.
Thurman delivered a triple-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocked shots, but the Patriots committed 31 turnovers against Skyline’s constant full-court pressure. Alaysia Burns added 25 points and four steals.
Skyline made 10-of-28 from 3-point range, including four each by Rowell and Bellomy. Linden, meanwhile didn’t make a 3-pointer.
Skyline, coached by Ronnie McCarver, advances to play Marion County (29-7) in Friday’s championship game, with tip-off set for 2 p.m., at Bill Harris Arena. Marion County defeated Samson in Tuesday’s other semifinal. Skyline also advanced to the title game in 2019 before falling to Phillips-Bear Creek, which was coached by Scott Veal, now the Marion County head coach.
Linden, coached by Teressa Bolden, fell one game shy of the Patriots’ first trip to the championship game since 2016.