Linden teams advance to South Regional finals

Linden 65, J.F. Shields 57 (girls)

Linden is back in the finals of the South Regional in Dothan for the third consecutive season following 65-57 victory over J.F. Shields Friday. The Patriots led for virtually the entirety of the contest against the team that bounced them from bracket a year ago.

Linden rushed out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter of play and rode that advantage through the next 24 minutes of tightly-contested action. The game played out as a contrast of styles with Linden attacking the basket to a clip of 54.6 percent shooting from the floor. Shields countered with a less-than-stellar 43.6 percent from the field but kept itself alive by shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, accounting for 21 of its 57 points.

The difference in the game came at the charity stripe where Linden hit 15 of 28 free throw attempts. Shields did itself few favors with minimal opportunities, shooting only 2 of 11 from the line.

Amber Richardson again paced the Patriots with a 27-point, 11-rebound performance. Tyroneisha Charleston finished with 15 points while Dajia Miller had 11.

Mar’quaja Brown hit six threes as part of a 22-point performance that anchored Shields. Ti’Ajah McCreary scored 12 points while Shamya Johnson had 11.

Linden (18-3) advances to face Pleasant Home in the South Regional final Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Linden 42, J.F. Shields 34 (boys)

Less than two hours after their female schoolmates punched a ticket to Tuesday’s South Regional final, the Linden Patriots upended J.F. Shields 42-34 to advance themselves to Class 1A’s final eight teams.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well with offense coming at a premium during the game’s first half. The score sat knotted at 15 apiece as the teams headed to the locker room.

With 7:38 remaining in the third quarter, Kevin Green hit the back end of a two-shot trip to the free throw line to put Linden up 16-15. The Patriots then cultivated that lead to the tune of a 13-6 period and led 28-21 headed to the fourth. Linden’s lead grew to as high as 12 points in the fourth quarter before Shields cut the deficit to 37-34 with 41 seconds remaining.  Green then hit the tail end of a double bonus before Graderius Brown scored four points in the final 17 seconds to put the game on ice.

Green finished with 19 points and nine rebounds to lead both categories. Isaiah Scott added 13 points and five rebounds. Tyrik Nettles had 14 for Shields while Jadereyan Stallworth scored 11.

Linden (11-10) will face Georgiana Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in the South Regional final.

DCSF doles out $31,000 in grants

Another $31,000 in grants were announced Monday at the annual Donor Appreciation Celebration by the Demopolis City Schools Foundation.

The spring round of grants brings to a total for the 2017-2018 term to $69,000, said executive director Amanda Barnes.

The event, held in the Coplin Building, also recognized major donors with plaques and certificates and announced two more named endowments. The Endowment Fund now totals more than $1.2 million. Income from the fund is used to supplement the grants.

The named endowments were for Elizabeth B. Lawrence, giving by the John C. Webb III and Marie Suttle Webb Foundation, and from the estate of the late Susan Ulmer Wallace.

Barnes said the amount of grants awarded and the strength of the endowment rivals such schools systems as Mountain Brook.

The grants are as follows:

Westside Elementary — Andrea Johnson, $1,000 to supplement the school’s collection of community helper books and e-books.

Demopolis High School — Rachel White, $7,000 for 30 Chromebooks for the high school English Department; Dale Acker, $6,000 to purchase welding machines for the welding program at the high school; Charles Jones, $6,000 for a power threader to train the pipe threading process, and Meggin Mayben, $4,000 for a set of 10 Google Expedition virtual reality headsets for use in the high school history department.

Demopolis Middle School — Javalynn Henderson, $4,000 for a set of 10 Google Expedition virtual reality headsets for use in the middle school history department, and Adam Brown, $3,446.32 for new and improved stands for the middle school band and its first concert bass drum.

Major donors recognized by the DCSF are:

Executive: Georgia-Pacific, Parr’s and WestRock.

Patron: Alabama Power Co. – Greene Co. Steam Plant, CEMEX Southeast LLC, Foster Farms, Jackson/Newell Foundation, Karen and Olen Kerby, Marengo Insurance, Louise Webb and Steve Marzen,

Donna and Kris Mullins/ State Farm Companies, Cindy and Claud Neilson, Rotary Club of Demopolis, Mellie and John Warner, John Cox Webb IV and Vickie and Dan Wilson.

Partner: Amanda and John David Barnes, Sarah Chandler and Luke Hallmark, Kayte and Thomas Melton, Mary and Freddie Rutledge, The Perfect Touch and Perfect Touch Home.

Continued Endowment Support comes from Betsy and Bill Coplin, Kathryn and William Cunningham, Demopolis High School Class of 1967, Bill Horton and Judilyn Brooks, Sarah Chandler Hallmark, Angela Northcutt Holifield, Nancy and John Northcutt, JR Rivas, Robertson Banking Company and Martha and Joe Turner.

Polling map, road re-striping highlight Marengo commission meeting

Marengo County never has had a printed map showing its polling places. That has changed, thanks to the work of Board of Registrars member Barry Hunt.

The Alabama Secretary of State mandated that each county have such a map, and Hunt presented his work to the county commission Tuesday for approval before submitting it to the state.

After the unanimous vote to accept Hunt’s map, Commissioner Freddie Armstead complained that the requirement was yet another unfunded mandate by the state.

Probate Judge Laurie Hall thanked Barry for his work that has been ongoing for some two years. She said the map should have been done a long time ago, but the project “slipped through the cracks.”

The commission approved a $2-per-month rate hike for trash pickup by Advanced Disposal. Solid Waste officer John Bell said rates had not gone up since 2014. The increase will bring the rate to $19.72 per month effective April 1, he said.

In response to complaints about unsightly trash being dumped at the intersection of County Roads 19 and 28, Advanced Disposal site manager Tammy Donald said the company would put a dumpster at the site if the county requests it. She also said new trucks have been purchased to better serve the county.

Commissioner Armstead asked if the county roads could be restriped. He said the lack of lane definition is dangerous, especially at night and during rainstorms.

County Engineer Ken Atkins said he was holding on to the $300,000 set aside to use after resurfacing on some of the roads is completed. He said there also may be some money left after the paving of the Gandy Ferry road in Demopolis, set to begin next month.

The Commission voted to have Atkins prepare a plan for striping and present it at the March meeting.

The issue of security at Rangeline Road and County Road 28 prompted an offer by Commissioner John Crawford, an employee of Black Warrior Electric, to install a security light. The county would pay the installation fee and $9 per month in charges.

Marengo County Economic Development Authority director Chris Bontrager reported the county unemployment rate is the lowest in history at 4.16 percent. Since the rate is close to full employment of 3 to 3.5 percent, he said the emphasis now will be on underemployment.

The momentum with Shelton State Community College in Demopolis now will provide training for individuals and companies looking for expanded training.

Bontrager said interest from businesses looking for a location has increased thanks to two developments. The first is the announcement by AT&T to provide fiber optic service at the three industrial parks in the county. The second is the updated website that provides more complete information for companies searching a location.

He said three active ongoing projects started last year are continuing to develop. Each would bring in 15-25 jobs if brought to fruition.

Dr. Bill Ashley, chairman of Board of Directors for Shelton State, spoke of the continuing growth in the number of students enrolled at and courses provided by the Demopolis campus.

Since his background is rural community colleges, Ashley said he is actively engaged in expanding Shelton State’s presence in rural areas such as Marengo County.

“We know we can do good if we work regionally,” he said.

Commission Chairman Calvin Martin announced the county had received a $24,000 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for the Sheriff’s Department to purchase a new vehicle.

In other action, the Commission approved:

  • Renewal of a tax agreement with Revenue Discover Systems.
  • County levies for alcohol licensing
  • Favorable Grand Jury report, especially, quipped Armstead, “they’re not asking for anything.”
  • EMA and Tobacco Tax CD renewal at Sweet Water State Bank.
  • A resolution to approve a rebid of a water project for Thomaston

Linden holds off Brantley comeback bid to move to South Regional

LINDEN – Basketball is a game of runs, a fact that has never been more evident than it was Tuesday night as Linden downed Brantley 62-52 in Class 1A South sub-regional action.

The Patriots pressed Brantley to the brink of collapse Tuesday night, holding the Bulldogs to just four field goals in the first half while carrying a 27-14 lead to the locker room. As the third quarter opened, Linden rode the hot shooting of junior Graderius Brown to a 17-2 run. Midway through the third quarter, Brantley trailed 44-16. Then things go really interesting.

“We stopped doing what we were doing the first half. We stopped doing what we were taught to do and just got erratic,” Linden coach Woodie Jackson said. “We got complacent. We weren’t making the fundamental passes that we did the first half and just started playing sloppy.”

Brantley began chipping away at Linden, ending the third quarter on a 13-1 run to narrow the gap to 45-29. Brantley showed no letup in the final quarter.

With 1:45 to play, Parker Driggers hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 53-50. Brantley could get no closer.

Brown put his stamp on the victory early and often Tuesday. Isaiah Scott stole the ball with 1:11 to play in the first quarter and kicked it to Brown, who drained a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 18-8 and force a Brantley timeout.

Brown then got really hot. He knocked down triples off the catch and off the bounce, including a well-guarded isolation step-back three that left the Bulldog bench bewildered.

“He is like me. He can shoot the W off a whistle, a good little player. Pound for pound, a great athlete,” Jackson said of Brown.

All told, Brown ripped the twine with eight threes on the night, finishing with 30 points to lead all scorers. Scott added 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Kevin Green had eight points. Malik Collins and Roderick Dansby notched 10 rebounds apiece.

D’Andre Sinclair had 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead Brantley. Adrian Person Jr. finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Driggers had 13 points and six rebounds.

Linden (10-10) advances to the South Regional Friday when it will play J.F. Shields.

“We’re going to play hard to win. We’ve made it that far, there ain’t no sense in losing,” Jackson, who has six state championship rings on his resume, said.

Two Demopolis seniors sign to play collegiate soccer

Julia Singleton readies to sign with Judson College. Pictured are (seated) Judson coach Justin Pino along with (standing) DHS soccer coach Gabrielle McVay, Mitch Singleton, Stephanie Singleton and Charity Singleton.

A pair of Demopolis High School seniors are on their way to collegiate soccer careers after signing letters of intent last week. Julia Singleton inked her NLI from Judson College last Tuesday, becoming the first DHS female player to sign since Rachel Walker did it in April 2010. Walker, who was the goalie of the DHS boys team for lack of the existence of a girls program at the time, also signed with Judson.

Singleton’s connection with Judson College actually predicated through her efforts at a camp at another local school.

Julia Singleton readies to sign with Judson College. Pictured are (seated) Judson coach Justin Pino along with (standing) DHS soccer coach Gabrielle McVay, Mitch Singleton, Stephanie Singleton and Charity Singleton.

“I actually attended a camp at West Alabama this summer where I met Coach Pino and he asked me to try out for their team,” Singleton explained of her introduction to Judson coach Justin Pino.

“I really liked her work ethic. I thought her work ethic was good and I thought she wanted to improve and get better. I kind of look at that and kind of see where someone is and what their potential is as well,” Pino said.

Singleton’s tryout proved her first visit to the Judson campus and she quickly realized it might not be her last.

“It was actually my first time on campus. I got to meet a bunch of the girls and then I tried out with them. He invited me to come back to the next weekend to their preview day where I could take a scholarship test. I got to do that and have a campus tour, so it was really nice,” she said.

“Coach was real cool about it. He said, ‘Go home. Think about it. Pray about it. Come back to me later.’ That’s what we did,” her father, Mitch Singleton, said. “She loved it. We’re happy for her. We’ve been to the school and we really like it. It’s kind of a smaller venue, but everybody is real close knit. It’s got a great atmosphere.”

Pino, whose squad finished at 8-6 a season ago after suffering some narrow defeats, will look to deploy Singleton in a suitable position in the Fall. Pino did indicate Singleton likely profiles as a midfielder at this juncture.

“Julia has been a leader from the very beginning,” Gabrielle McVay, Demopolis High girls soccer head coach, said. “With a new program, we had a lot of kids come in that really have never even played soccer. She already had a good background in soccer, so she was a really good leader for all of her teammates. She always has been. She also has a lot of experience in both offense and defense, so I’ve been able to use her as a very versatile player. She can kind of play wherever I need her in some spots, so it has been nice to have.”

Zachary Chu along with his mother Lucy Chu, father Dr. Ronnie Chu, brother Jeremy Chu, as well as coaches Hayden Mitchell and Jon Kresena.

While Singleton is headed to a program that is very new to her, classmate Zachary Chu will don the familiar red and white of a program with which he has tremendous familiarity. Chu, who is foregoing his senior season of high school soccer due to commitments with his club team Birmingham United Soccer Association (BUSA), has long attended camps and been around the University of West Alabama program headed by Matthew Thorn.

“The way they play is very attractive. I just want to learn from them because they demand perfection every touch, every dribble, everything they do is perfection. That’s all I’m looking for,” Chu, who has 44 goals and 17 assists during his BUSA career, said.

Zachary Chu along with his mother Lucy Chu, father Dr. Ronnie Chu, brother Jeremy Chu, grandparents Lee and Meegam Ching, and Chris and Mary Lou Doyle.

Chu signed his NLI Friday after having received the offer from UWA back in September 2017 as the NCAA Division II program was just embarking upon the best season in school history.

“I have known Zach for many years now, he is a great talent and he has a brilliant work ethic,” said Thorn of Chu, who is also a member of the Olympic Development Program. “He will be a perfect fit for UWA.”

“I think it’s a long coming because he didn’t really get into the sport until he was 10 years old. I told him, ‘Hey, listen, you’re a little too old to play soccer.’ I told him that if he sleeps, eats and poops soccer that he would be able to do something. And he did. He and his brother basically eat, sleep and poop soccer for all those years. And I’m so happy for him because of his hard work,” his father, Dr. Ronnie Chu, said. “His next phase is to continue. We’re just happy that he’s playing under Matte because he’s a great coach and it shows because they were ranked as high as number nine in the nation last year at one point. UWA has a very good program in terms of soccer and, also, they have a very good business program. His idea is to be a corporate lawyer. First things first, get a degree and perhaps MBA and then, after that, law school. Everything is falling into place for him.”

The younger Chu will likely tackle the next phase of his athletic and academic careers with the same fervor his father taught him some eight years ago when he first took up the game.

“My dad always taught me to just immerse yourself in what you’re doing and you’ll be fine,” he said.

Canebrake Players to present Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.

Canebrake Players to present Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.

Marengo girls upend Brantley to move to South Regional

Marengo High’s Lady Panthers are headed to the South Regional in Dothan after hitting the road to topple Brantley 66-62 Monday night.

The Bulldogs entered the game at 21-5 and appeared poised for 10th consecutive win and a South Regional semifinal date with Pleasant Home. Marengo met the challenge by putting four scorers in double figures and using its trademark frenetic pacing to overcome Brantley.

Angela Bouler was the leading scorer for Marengo, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. J’Mya Hall added 12 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Iesha Bouler scored 10 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Taylor Moore notched 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks.

Gabrial Perkins paced Brantley with 19 points while Emory Bush scored 15.

Marengo (10-8) faces Pleasant Home in the South Regional Friday.

Demopolis students commemorate FBLA week

Demopolis High School FBLA members along with thousands of FBLA-PBL members across the nation participated in the FBLA-PBL week activities. The idea of FBLA can be traced back to 1937 when Hamden L. Forkner proposed to business teachers across the country that a national organization was needed for high school and collegiate business students across the nation.

Then, in 1940 the National Council for Business Education (NBEA) sponsors the proposed student organization. Finally, on February 3, 1942 an experimental chapter is chartered at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee. Marking the beginning of the Future Business Leaders of America. Since then, FBLA has grown to be the largest business student organization in the world. The same spark Hamdem L. Forkner had over 70 plus years ago, still lives with the members and advisers across the globe today. Demopolis FBLA planned and participated in the following activities last week.


Funday Sunday – Posted picture on social media of a FUN time in FBLA with #fblapblweek

Member Monday – Members received candy pop rocks and and were told how much they are appreciated and how they “rock”. Taylor Vail was recognized as the January Member of the Month.

T-Shirt Tuesday – Students wore their favorite FBLA shirt.

Wonderful Wednesday – Members hosted a brunch for all the wonderful teachers at DHS and recognized their club advisor, Kelly Gandy with flowers and a gift. FBLA also served biscuits and special treats at the principal’s meeting with Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff.

Think to the Future Thursday – DHS career tech student organizations and advisors dressed up as their potential profession.

Field Day Friday – Postponed due to a high number of students with the flu. The club will make the event up in early March.

As a reward for their hard work all previous “Members of the Month” will travel to Birmingham as they tour a Innovation Depot, an affiliation of UAB, and then participate in a “Break Out” team building experience. They will be given a 60-minute life-sized game of twist and turns to escape a room by cracking codes, solving puzzles, and following clues.

Service Saturday – Members received a list from the Demopolis Food Pantry of items requested each month. For the month of January, FBLA collected grits to be donated.

Linden girls roll past Georgiana for sub-regional win

LINDEN – The Lady Patriots are headed back to the Class 1A South Regional in Dothan following Monday’s 53-35 victory over Georgiana. The sub-regional round opened with a series of missed layups and jumpers from Linden, but the Patriots settled in midway through the first quarter.

“Going back to defense. Defense is bringing the offense. Eventually those layups are going to fall. I have no idea why we missed so many layups there in the beginning,” Linden coach Teressa Bolden said. “We missed a lot of open shots right there.”

Linden, which never trailed in the game, tallied 24 steals in the contest to fuel its fast break offense. The Lady Pats were up 16-8 after one quarter of play and then 34-12 by halftime. Linden held an advantage in virtually every major category, outrebounding Georgiana 42-31 and shooting nine more free throws.

Amber Richardson set the pace for Linden with 18 points and 17 rebounds to go along with four steals and three blocked shots. Dajia Miller added 16 points highlighted by a 7 of 8 performance at the free throw line. Miller also had six steals and five assists on the night. Tyroneisha Charleston finished with 11 points and seven steals.

“They’re really big, especially when one is not having a good night,” Bolden said of her team’s top three scorers. “We’re always going to have to depend on somebody else to step up and fill in.”

Michaiah Austin and Aaliyah Rich each had seven points to lead Georgiana.

Linden (17-3) will face 2017 state runner-up J.F. Shields in the first round of the South Regional Friday in Dothan.

“Going back to what we know, defense. We’re going to focus on our defense and then we’ll worry about offense,” Bolden said. “Offense is going to come. We’ve got to be able to stop them and play solid defense.”

Linden varsity squads top Marengo to host sub-regionals

Linden will host a pair of sub-regional games next week after its varsity squads swept Marengo Friday in the finals of the Class 1A, Area 4 tournaments.

The Linden girls opened the night with a 57-35 victory. Amber Richardson scored 31 points to lead the Lady Patriots while Tyroneisha Charleston led 11. Scotiana Harris finished the night with 11 points and 12 rebounds to lead Marengo.

Linden will host Georgiana Monday at 6 p.m. in the sub-regional round. Marengo will travel to Brantley.

The Linden boys followed with a 52-37 victory over Marengo. Graderius brown had 13 points to pace Linden. Isaiah Scott, Zackree Bishop and Kevin Greene scored 10 points apiece for the Patriots. Roosevelt Thompson headed Marengo with 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists and five steals. Linden hosts Brantley Tuesday at 6 p.m. for sub-regional action while Marengo travels to Georgiana.