Marengo basketball squads down Choctaw

The Marengo High varsity teams each moved to 2-0 Friday night with a pair of victories over Class 2A Choctaw County.

The Lady Panthers beat Choctaw 56-48. J’Mya Hall anchored the effort with 22 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three assists and five steals. Scottiana Harris added 12 points and 11 rebounds in addition to five steals and three blocks.

Verliyah Keeton paced Choctaw County with 17 points while Jasmine Cunningham added 11.

The Marengo varsity boys topped Choctaw County 53-38. Roosevelt Thompson headed the Panther effort with 18 points and nine rebounds. Dominique Harris added 14 points and nine rebounds. James Reed had 10 points to lead Choctaw.

Marengo is set to play again Thursday, Dec. 28 in the Clarke County Invitational.

Demopolis varsity teams sweep Thomasville

The Demopolis High varsity basketball teams swept a pair of games from Thomasville Friday, highlighted by a thrilling overtime victory in the boys game. On a night with Demopolis lacked its best stuff, the home team had to rally in the fourth quarter and overtime for a 50-46 victory over one of its chief rivals.

Demopolis carried a 23-19 lead into halftime but saw Thomasville pull to a 31-30 advantage after three quarters of play. The Tigers got their offensive output from five different players in the fourth quarter and found themselves standing at the free throw line frequently throughout the game’s final 12 minutes.

Nine of the Tigers’ 15 points in the fourth quarter came at the free throw line as they pulled the game to a 45-45 tie at the end of regulation. Melvin Childers went 3 of 4 from the stripe in the bonus period and Nelson Haskin made the game’s only field goal in overtime for the 50-46 final. Demopolis finished 12 of 17 from the line in the fourth quarter and overtime to seal the win.

Haskin topped Demopolis with 11 points. Childers and Shakari Williams each finished with eight.

Averian Malone lead Thomasville with 15 points. Braxton Williams added 12 while Michael Jones had 11.

Demopolis moves to 7-1 with the win ahead of a trip to Greensboro Saturday night.

The Demopolis girls used a 12-2 fourth quarter to win going away in a 44-32 rout of Thomasville earlier in the night. Demopolis led 32-30 through three quarters of play before McKenzie Phillips, KiKi Waller and Samia Jackson helped put the game away with strong offensive performances in the final frame.

Jackson led Demopolis with 11 points on the night. Waller added 10 while Shakesaney Bell had seven and Phillips finished with six. Tiyanna Blanks paced Thomasville with 14 points.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Demopolis (3-3), who travels to Greensboro Saturday night.

Linden girls, Demopolis boys win Saturday

Demopolis and Linden split the varsity portions of their basketball rendezvous Saturday night.

The Lady Patriots did most of their damage in the first half and held on for a 45-43 win over Demopolis. Linden outscored Demopolis 14-10 in the first quarter and 15-12 in the second to hold a 29-22 hafltime lead.

The Demopolis defense kicked in during the second half, limiting Linden to 16 points in the final 16 minutes of play.

A pair of Shacorie Cockrell threes in the fourth quarter narrowed the gap and gave the Lady Tigers a chance in the end but Linden proved too much.

Linden senior Amber Richardson led all scorers with 22. Precious Rogers had 10 points while Tyroneisha Charleston scored nine.

Shakesaney Bell paced Demopolis with 22 points. Cockrell finished with 12.

The win puts Linden at 2-0. Demopolis drops to 2-2.

Demopolis rode a 25-point second quarter to a 68-53 win in the varsity boys game.

Tiger senior Melvin Childers led all scorers with 21 points. Nelson Haskin added 10 points while Michael Spencer and Shakari Wiliams each finished with nine.

Graderius Brown made six threes in a 20-point performance to lead Linden. Isaiah Scott and Zackree Bishop each had nine points for the Patriots.

Linden drops to 1-1 with the loss. Demopolis moves to 5-1 with the win.

Demopolis travels to Francis Marion Tuesday while Linden goes to Thomasville.

Marengo varsity teams sweep Thomasville

Marengo High opened its basketball season Thursday night with a pair of varsity wins over Thomasville.

The Lady Panthers downed their Tiger counterparts 42-39 behind a trio of double-doubles. J’Mya Hall finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Scottianna Harris had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Angela Bouler notched 10 points and 11 rebounds. Tiyanna Blanks led the Lady Panthers with 14 points.

The varsity boys game saw Marengo pull out a 49-43 win. Keshawn Fountain led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds. Roosevelt Thompson had 14 points. Dominique Harris finished with 10 points. Braxton Williams paced Thomasville with 18 points.

Sweet Water scores in closing minutes to move to state title game

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
With 3:31 to play, Sasha Smith celebrates the go-ahead touchdown catch that proved to be the game winner.

Sweet Water is headed back to the Class 1A state championship for the first time since 2010 after beating Wadley 27-21 in a wild one Friday night. The teams combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter that saw three lead changes.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Trent Sams pins the ball against his helmet to help secure a touchdown catch in the first half against Wadley.

Sweet Water trailed 14-13 to open the frame with Wadley threatening again. With 10:38 to go in the game, Wadley ran the ball to the Sweet Water 29 before Shamar Lewis scooped a fumble and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown and the 19-14 lead.

Undaunted, Wadley fired right back as Trevor Cameron ran 18 yards for a touchdown and the 21-19 lead. The turning point for the Bulldogs came when Jonah Smith hit his younger brother Sasha for a 27-yard touchdown pass on a throw that saw the Sweet Water receiver go over the top and the take the ball away from a Wadley defensive back. Lewis punched in the conversion run for the 27-21 advantage with 3:31 to play.

Wadley opened the scoring with 8:20 left in the first quarter as Jamichael Angel scored from a yard out. The Bulldogs needed only 61 seconds to tie it when Jonah Smith hit Braylone Kidd for a 78-yard touchdown strike.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water quarterback Jonah Smith threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ semifinal win over Wadley.

“He did great tonight. He made some big throws when he had to,” Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson said of his quarterback. “Of course our receivers made some great catches.”

Sweet Water took the lead with 1:25 left in the opening half as Jonah Smith found Trent Sams for a 36-yard touchdown and the 13-7 advantage. The lead was short-lived as Wadley’s Connor Fordham hit Jonathan Poole for a 44-yard scoring pass and the 14-13 lead.

The final marks the second time in as many seasons that the Bulldogs have ended Wadley’s season. Sweet Water won the second round meeting between the two schools 21-20 in 2016.

Friday’s game saw a feisty Wadley defense commit to limiting the Sweet Water ground game. SWHS managed 148 yards on 38 carries. Wadley countered with 158 yards on 38 carries.

“They’re linebackers were very active. We couldn’t get to their linebackers to block them enough. They did a few things that gave us some trouble, but our passes were there,” Thompson said. “There were nine definitely in the box and the 10th player was sitting six or eight yards over the top of our tight end. They were going to make us throw to beat them. They had seen us run over the last couple of weeks and do what we do.”

Sweet Water found its greatest offensive success in the passing game. Jonah Smith completed 11 of 18 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

Sweet Water advances to the Class 1A state championship Thursday at 3 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa where it will play Pickens County.

Demopolis comeback attempt falls just short in semis

12-1-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — As the fog settles near the end zone, Demopolis’ A.J. Jackson (4) lowers his shoulders to take on several Saints to score the Tigers’ first touchdown against Saint Paul’s Episcopal.

Demopolis finished three yards shy of a trip to the Class 5A state championship game Friday night. The Tigers lost a thriller to St. Paul’s 20-19 as their two-point conversion pass fell incomplete with 43.9 seconds remaining in the game.

“It was my call and I just didn’t want to put it on the freshman kicker,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “I felt like that was an opportunity right there. It comes down to execution. They made the play and we didn’t.”

“It’s a little bit of numbness when you think about it and you’ve got nearly 47 and a half minutes of a game that comes down to one play,” St. Paul’s coach Steve Mask said. “It’s not just coach speak, but a lot of credit goes to Brian and his staff and his players. He absolutely did the right thing. I would’ve done the same thing. We were just there to make the play and fortunate to make a play.”

12-1-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Antonio Besteder runs around the outstretched arm of a Saint Paul’s defender during the Tigers game against the Saints.

Demopolis trailed 13-0 until A.J. Jackson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 10:55 left in the game to cap an 11-play, 56-yard drive and cut the deficit to 13-6. St. Paul’s responded in kind as Jordon Ingram broke a 40-yard scoring run to move the lead to 20-6.

After an Andrew Patterson four-yard run on fourth down fell short, St. Paul’s took over with less than six minutes to play. Demopolis forced the only turnover of the night when Keionte Whitfield recovered a fumble at the Saints’ 48. Andrew Patterson connected with DeDe Davis on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 3:28 to play in the game to cut it to 20-13.

The Tigers then recovered an onside kick and embarked upon a 12-play, 48-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Antonio Besteder with 43.9 to play.

Demopolis then ran a two-point conversion play, but the pass fell incomplete to all but seal the game for St. Paul’s.

“I’m so proud of these seniors. They’ve had three coaches in their career and they really bought into what we were doing,” Seymore said. “Nobody really gave us a shot tonight. But I just felt like our kids were going to show up and play hard.”

The Tigers end their first season under Seymore at 11-3.

12-1-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Derrick Birl (24) and Russ Logan (43) take down a Sanit Paul’s runner during the Tigers game against the Saints.

AHSAA re-classification pits Demopolis against new set of foes

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ C.J. Williams picks off a pass on Vigor’s first play from scrimmage. Williams would return the interception for a touchdown for the first points of the game of the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association released its latest round of re-classifications Thursday morning, setting the stage for its 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 competition years.

Among numerous other changes, the re-classification means a much different look for Demopolis’s region and area foes between August 2018 and May 2020.

The new look Class 5A, Region 3 football grouping sees Demopolis bid farewell to mainstays Sumter Central and Dallas County, both of which drop to Class 4A. Additionally, Calera jumps to Class 6A. Central-Tuscaloosa, Jemison and Marbury remain in Region 3 along with Demopolis. Joining that quartet are Shelby County, Chilton County (down from Class 6A) and Bibb County (up from Class 4A).

11-28-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Aniya Johnson brings the ball up the floor for Demopolis.

“The travel definitely,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said of the biggest change to his team’s region slate the next two seasons. “When we meet and draw for the schedule, you hope you get a good draw. You hope you don’t play a lot of these games on the road because that’s a lot more time on the bus. You’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt.”

In terms of driving distance, Demopolis loses its closest two region compatriots in Sumter-Central (30.3 miles) and Dallas County (67.1 miles). The Tigers also lose their second-farthest counterpart in Calera (89.8 miles). Replacing those schools will be Bibb County (66 miles), Chilton County (89.9 miles) and Shelby County (101.3 miles).

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the new region for Demopolis is the addition of Bibb County, a school whose head coach is former Demopolis defensive coordinator Matt Geohagan.

“I’m excited because of having Coach Geohagan there and that relationship. They have a very good program and are very consistent in what they do. They’re going to take the place of Calera as one of the top teams in our region,” Seymore said. “That’s definitely one you’ll have to circle as a huge region game and having a little more to it with Coach Geohagan being so familiar with some of our kids at Demopolis.”

The new-look region will also result in revamped areas for all of Demopolis athletics. The basketball, baseball and softball teams will now be part of a three-team Area 5 that includes Bibb County and Central-Tuscaloosa. Demopolis soccer moves to Area 5 and will compete against American Christian, Central-Tuscaloosa and Sipsey Valley. Girls soccer will be in Area 5 against ACA and Sipsey Valley.

Demopolis cross country is now a member of Section 1. That grouping includes Bibb County, Brewbaker Tech, Charles Henderson, Citronelle, Faith Academy, Jackson, LeFlore, Satsuma, Tallassee and Vigor. Demopolis track will also be part of Section 1. That grouping consists of Carroll-Ozark, Charles Henderson, Citronelle, Faith Academy, Greenville, LeFlore, Satsuma, UMS-Wright, Vigor and Wilcox-Central.

Other notable changes in 5A football include the move of St. Paul’s and Calera to Class 6A. Perhaps the biggest changes come in Region 4 where Briarwood, Fairfield, John Carroll Catholic, Parker, Pleasant Grove, Ramsay, Wenonah and Woodlawn all make up the group. Those teams, many of which competed in the northern part of the state for the last round of classification, will now be in the south.

The new Class 5A football region alignment appears below in its entirety.

 

REGION 1 REGION 2
Citronelle Beauregard
Faith Academy Caroll-Ozark
Jackson Charles Henderson
LeFlore Magnet Greenville
Satsuma Rehobeth
Vigor Tallassee
Wilcox Central Valley
REGION 3 REGION 4
Bibb County Briarwood Christian
Central-Tuscaloosa Fairfield
Chilton County John Carroll Catholic
Demopolis Parker
Jemison Pleasant Grove
Marbury Ramsay
Shelby County Wenonah
Woodlawn
REGION 5 REGION 6
Center Point Alexandria
Central-Clay Boaz
Moody Crossville
Mortimer Jordan Douglas
Munford Etowah
St. Clair County Sardis
Springville Southside-Gadsden
Sylacauga
REGION 7 REGION 8
Corner Arab
Dora Ardmore
Hamilton Brewer
Hayden East Limeston
Jasper Guntersville
Lawrence County Madison Academy
Russellville Madison County
West Point Scottsboro

 

Demopolis rolls in home opener; Haskin notches triple-double

11-28-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Taylor Herelle goes up for the first bucket of the night for the Tigers during their first home game of the season against the Keith Bears.

Demopolis took a few minutes to get started Tuesday night in its home opener against Keith. Once the Tigers got the ball rolling down hill, they never looked back en route to a 51-31 win.

Demopolis trailed 5-0 early as Keith started off hot. The flurry faded quickly and the Tigers embarked upon a 16-3 run to close the first quarter. The game never got close again.

“We kind of got nervous. This was our first home game and we tried to do stuff we couldn’t do,” Demopolis coach Norvie Womack said. “As the game went on, we played well. We won every quarter. We just got better and better and we kind of wore them down.”

Demopolis stretched the lead to 10 by halftime and continued to add to that total with a quickened pace and constant ball movement.

“We try to get balanced scoring. Last year, you kind of just had one person scoring. We’re trying to balance them out so it will be easier for our leading scorer,” Womack said. “We emphasize passing and cutting, that kind of stuff.”

With last season’s leading scorer Shakari Williams playing under the weather and the Tigers’ current leading scorer Melvin Childers in early foul trouble, Taylor Herelle stepped in to light up the scoreboard. Herelle finished his night with 15 points.

Nelson Haskin controlled the paint at both ends of the floor for Demopolis, finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks for his first career triple-double. Nine different Tigers scored in the game and all 10 players that dressed logged significant minutes.

“If you plan on going deep in the playoffs, you have to be deep on the bench,” Womack said. “The season is just starting, so we’re going to play everybody. We get a good rotation in, so if someone goes down it’s just the next man up because he has been playing the whole season.”

Demopolis (3-0) is set to travel to Class 6A Bessemer City Thursday night.

“They’re fast. They’re quick. They can handle the ball. We’re going to win with numbers. That’s how we’re going to play,” Womack said.

11-28-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Nelson Haskin (34) blocks a shot during the Tigers home opener against the Keith Bears.

Youthful Lady Tigers battle for season-opening win over Keith

11-28-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Aniya Johnson brings the ball up the floor for Demopolis. The sophomore guard had six points, six rebounds, and six assists Tuesday night.

Tony Pittman knew before his team took to the floor Tuesday night for its home opener that inexperience would be a key theme in season’s early going. That inexperience showed itself for stretches as the Lady Tigers worked their way to an uneven 38-23 win over Keith.

“The first game jitters, rushing a lot of things instead of being patient and taking what the defense gives you,” Demopolis coach Tony Pittman said. “We didn’t do that the first half, primarily because of first game jitters.”

Demopolis closed the first quarter with an offensive flurry, carrying a 12-3 lead after the game’s first eight minutes. The offense sputtered soon thereafter as Demopolis managed only 15 points over the next two quarters of play.

“Every year you have a different team and you have to play to your strengths. Right now our strength is ball handling and bringing our post game along,” Pittman said. “Hopefully, after Christmas, you’ll see that start to gel and we’ll be a different team.”

Demopolis found consistency with the ball in the hands of Aniya Johnson. The sophomore guard calmed a frenetic and, occasionally, frantic group while scoring six points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists.

Johnson found her greatest success as a passer on inlet passes to Samia Jackson, who finished with eight points and five rebounds in the post. Shakesaney Bell contributed eight points in the victory while A’Miracle Jones had six.

“A’Miracle did an outstanding job of doing work in the post. Samia did a good job,” Pittman said. “Shug Billingsley came off the bench and gave us some good, solid minutes. She didn’t do a lot in the scorebook, but it didn’t matter. She’s gaining that experience and I think she’s really going to help us in the season.”

Demopolis is set to travel to Class 6A Bessemer City Thursday night.
“We’re going back to the laboratory tomorrow and we’re playing again Thursday,” Pittman said. “Hopefully we’ll get better each and every ball game we go out.”

Demopolis stymies Vigor to move to semifinals

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ C.J. Williams picks off a pass on Vigor’s first play from scrimmage. Williams would return the interception for a touchdown for the first points of the game of the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

PRICHARD, Ala. – Sophomore C.J. Williams gave his team the lead before the offense ever took the field Friday night and Demopolis never squandered it. The Tigers used a suffocating defense and an effective passing game to beat Vigor 35-14 in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night.

“It’s a total team effort. It has been that way all year,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “It’s a credit to our kids and our coaches. They really do a tremendous job.”

Williams picked off a ball on a double-reverse pass on the first play from scrimmage and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 Demopolis lead.

“We knew they’d come out early with some kind of gadget play. We had them ready,” Seymore said. “He set the tone. That was big for us to start the game.”

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ Antonio Besteder outruns a Vigor defender to the edge during the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

Vigor fought right back in it when Artel Howell returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards for a touchdown to cut it to 7-6.

Vigor appeared poised to take the lead in the second quarter when it drove the ball to the Demopolis 25. A blitzing Tavion Brown offered the solution to that problem two plays later when he dragged the Wolves’ QB down for a 13-yard sack and nullified the threat.

The Tigers proceeded to march the ensuing possession 86 yards on 11 plays, culminating the march with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Patterson to Tyler Jones for the 14-6 lead.

Vigor fought back in it again with the aid of a fake punt and a 35-yard strike over the top to Howell, setting up a 1st and Goal at the Demopolis 5. The Tigers dug in, allowing just one yard over the next four snaps to hold the lead going into half.

Antonio Besteder helped his team add to the margin with 5:07 left in the third quarter when he punched it in from a yard out. Besteder later added the game’s final touchdown on a 16-yard sprint.

The backbreaking score came with 2:10 to play in the third when Patterson dropped a dime to Tyquan Alston, who ran it the rest of the way for a 69-yard touchdown.

“Consistency. I know where he is going to be at all times. I just throw it to that spot and I know he’s going to catch it,” Patterson said of his developing connection with Alston, which included a 90-yard touchdown pass in last week’s win over Central-Clay County.

“I was looking back again, trying to make sure I didn’t get caught,” Alston joked.

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ Tavian Brown sacks Vigor’s quarterback during the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

Demopolis finished with 325 yards of offense, highlighted by Patterson throwing for 208 yards on 15 of 21 passing. Besteder ran for 115 yards on 27 carries. Alston paced the receivers with 92 yards on two catches. DeDe Davis added 74 yards on seven receptions. Brown had two sacks in the contest. Williams and Roderick Gaines each had an interception.

Demopolis allowed only 144 yards of total offense and just six first downs. The Tigers move to 11-2 with the win and ready to host St. Paul’s next Friday night in the state semifinals.

“We know what kind of caliber team St. Paul’s is. Coach (Steve) Mask does a tremendous job there,” Seymore said.

Demopolis moves to the semifinal round for the first time since 2009.

“It’s indescribable,” Patterson said. “We’ve been working hard all summer for this and the hard work is finally paying off.”

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ Russ Logan hangs on for a tackle, despite the efforts of a Vigor ball carrier, during the Tigers’ win over the Wolves. Tavian Brown (25) would assist on the tackle.