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Latest basketball poll features 8 teams

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

In the middle of area play, the most important stretch of the high school basketball season is upon us as teams look to chase down a playoff spot, and with the latest release of the ASWA basketball rankings, several teams look to be in good shape.

With its release on Wednesday, Jan. 20, the rankings featured eight local teams, including six ranked inside the top 10 of their respective classification and two others nominated for a spot inside the top 10.

In the boys rankings, all three Class 7A teams from the county found a spot inside the top 10, while the Calera Eagles did so in the 6A classification.

The highest ranked team continued to be the Spain Park Jaguars, who found the No. 3 spot in the 7A standings.

Despite back-to-back losses ahead of the rankings being released, the Jags are 19-4 this season and those two losses came to No. 2 Vestavia Hills by one point in a game they led the majority of the way and a loss to Class 5A No. 3 Lee-Huntsville in a game they led at the half.

Not far behind the Jags were both Thompson and Oak Mountain from Class 7A, Area 5.

The area, which features three ranked teams and four teams with at least 11 wins and none with more than eight losses, has been one of the toughest in the state this year.

The highest ranked team from the area is Hoover at No. 6, but right behind is Thompson at No. 6 and Oak mountain at No. 9 with Tuscaloosa County (14-4) nominated for a spot in the standings.

The Warriors (11-8, 1-2), actually beat Hoover 53-44, but they lost to Tuscaloosa County by one point and to Oak Mountain by 11.

And although Oak Mountain took down Thompson by 11, the Eagles lost to Hoover 54-39—a game they led at the half—and to Tuscaloosa County by five.

Those losses, however, came without a healthy Evan Smith and Will Shaver, two of the team’s leaders. With both back in the lineup, the Eagles bounced back with a win against Thompson to move to 1-2 in area play.

All three teams have one more matchup with one another to determine who will host the area tournament in what is sure to be a thrilling finish to the regular season.

In the 6A classification, the lone team from the county ranked was Calera, who continues to be one of the more balanced teams with close to 10 players scoring in every game.

The Eagles have jumped out to a 3-0 start to area play and an overall record of 13-6 with seven wins in their last eight games, earning them the No. 7 ranking in Class 6A.

During their current four-game win streak, the Eagles have beaten Thompson and won every game by at least nine points, including two wins by 18 or more.

In the girls standings, the Spain Park Jaguars continued to be the consistent top-10 team they have been for the last few years coming in at No. 5 in the 7A standings, but there was also a new addition to the top 10.

Coming in at No. 10 in the Class 6A poll, the Chelsea Hornets made their first appearance in the top 10 this season.

With a record of 16-5 this season, including a perfecto 3-0 mark in area play, the Hornets have shown one of the best defenses in the state this season.

Chelsea has only given up more than 50 points once this season and has given up less than 40 in the majority of their games. That defensive presence keeps the Hornets in every game, and gives them a chance a postseason run this year.

Spain Park continues to fight some growing pains this year with a young team, but the Jags have played one of the most difficult schedules this season.

Competing in an area that features other top five teams in No. 2 Vestavia Hills and No. 3 Hewitt-Trussville, the Jags are the No. 5 team in the 7A standings but have to find a way to get hot at the right time and beat those other top-three teams to have a chance at another title run.

Nominated for spots in the rankings were Thompson and Westminster at Oak Mountain.

The Warriors earned recognition after a 15-5 start to the season, which is a remarkable turnaround in Marty Smith’s second year as the head coach. Thompson finished eight games under .500 last year with an 11-19 record, but is now 10 games above .500 this year as the Warriors hope to earn a spot in the Sweet 16 over the coming weeks.

The Westminster at Oak Mountain Knights, who are under new leadership this year, are also in the midst of a solid season in Class 2A with a record of 9-3.

The Knights have had to deal with less games and trying to find a rhythm, but seem to be finding a rhythm in the second half of the season.

GIRLS
CLASS 7A
1. Hoover (22-0)
2. Vestavia Hills (23-2)
3. Hewitt-Trussville (21-2)
4. Foley (15-3)
5. Spain Park (18-7)
6. Auburn (12-4)
7. Baker (14-6)
8. Theodore (19-4)
9. Sparkman (15-9)
10. Gadsden City (14-5)
Others nominated: Austin (11-8), Davidson (10-10), Dothan (8-5), Fairhope (12-3), Thompson (15-5).
CLASS 6A
1. Hazel Green (25-1)
2. Eufaula (17-3)
3. McGill-Toolen (13-5)
4. Athens (11-2)
5. Buckhorn (16-2)
6. Hartselle (14-2)
7. Northridge (15-4)
8. Mortimer Jordan (19-3)
9. Oxford (16-4)
10. Chelsea (16-5)
Others nominated: Carver-Montgomery (5-3), Cullman (12-9), Madison Academy (8-9), McAdory (12-11), Muscle Shoals (9-7), Opelika (7-8), Scottsboro (11-4).
CLASS 5A
1. Central-Tuscaloosa (9-3)
2. Pleasant Grove (19-4)
3. Charles Henderson (8-2)
4. Carver-Birmingham (14-4)
5. Mae Jemison (8-6)
6. Selma (4-2)
7. Guntersville (15-5)
8. LeFlore (11-7)
9. Lee-Huntsville (7-9)
10. Lawrence Co. (15-2)
Others nominated: Fairfield (9-6), Headland (9-2), Marbury (10-6), Ramsay (14-11).
CLASS 4A
1. Anniston (11-3)
2. Priceville (16-7)
3. Rogers (17-5)
4. Deshler (14-8)
5. Jackson (15-2)
6. Williamson (11-2)
7. Handley (12-8)
8. St. James (11-5)
9. New Hope (9-5)
10. Cherokee Co. (15-4)
Others nominated: Geneva (10-7), Good Hope (16-7), Hamilton (14-4), North Jackson (9-6), Oneonta (14-6), Straughn (13-4).
CLASS 3A
1. Montgomery Academy (15-2)
2. Susan Moore (22-2)
3. T.R. Miller (9-1)
4. Lauderdale Co. (13-3)
5. Trinity (14-3)
6. Prattville Christian (17-4)
7. Winfield (17-3)
8. Hillcrest-Evergreen (9-2)
9. Phil Campbell (17-5)
10. Plainview (20-5)
Others nominated: Collinsville (17-4), Elkmont (13-5), Flomaton (3-3), Ohatchee (7-3), Southside-Selma (8-2), Sylvania (18-5).
CLASS 2A
1. Pisgah (13-5)
2. Spring Garden (20-2)
3. G.W. Long (9-0)
4. Midfield (13-6)
5. Geneva Co. (13-5)
6. Hatton (16-2)
7. Cold Springs (13-5)
8. Ider (17-7)
9. St. Luke’s (14-4)
10. Falkville (18-6)
Others nominated: Locust Fork (8-5), Mars Hill Bible (5-2), Sand Rock (12-9), Tanner (11-3), Westminster-Oak Mountain (9-3).
CLASS 1A
1. Skyline (19-5)
2. Samson (16-2)
3. Winterboro (13-0)
4. Loachapoka (8-7)
5. Coosa Christian (16-3)
6. Marion Co. (18-6)
7. Covenant Christian (10-1)
8. Florala (8-7)
9. Pleasant Home (7-4)
10. R.A. Hubbard (6-4)
Others nominated: Lindsay Lane (12-5).
AISA
1. Glenwood (16-1)
2. Clarke Prep (19-3)
3. Tuscaloosa Academy (14-1)
4. Lee-Scott (8-7)
5. Southern Academy (9-1)
6. Chambers Academy (9-4)
7. Lakeside (8-5)
8. Lowndes Academy (9-0)
9. Fort Dale Academy (8-3)
10. Sparta Academy (5-6)
Others nominated: Monroe Academy (7-6), Patrician Academy (4-11), Pike Liberal Arts (5-4).
BOYS
CLASS 7A
1. Fairhope (21-0)
2. Vestavia Hills (21-2)
3. Spain Park (19-4)
4. Huntsville (16-5)
5. James Clemens (13-6)
6. Hoover (15-6)
7. Thompson (11-8)
8. Albertville (16-4)
9. Oak Mountain (14-8)
10. Enterprise (15-4)
Others nominated: Austin (6-10), Baker (12-7), Gadsden City (16-9), Mary Montgomery (12-4), Sparkman (11-7), Tuscaloosa Co. (14-4).
CLASS 6A
1. Huffman (13-2)
2. Pinson Valley (15-2)
3. Shades Valley (10-5)
4. Hartselle (18-2)
5. Eufaula (18-3)
6. Mountain Brook (17-6)
7. Calera (13-6)
8. Oxford (18-2)
9. Spanish Fort (16-3)
10. Clay-Chalkville (12-4)
Others nominated: Buckhorn (15-7), Cullman (10-6), Decatur (11-12), Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (12-4), Minor (13-7), Muscle Shoals (8-4), Robertsdale (17-7), Scottsboro (15-3), Valley (11-3), Woodlawn (11-9).
CLASS 5A
1. Ramsay (15-6)
2. Pleasant Grove (14-4)
3. Lee-Huntsville (6-1)
4. Talladega (12-2)
5. Parker (9-5)
6. Center Point (6-5)
7. Sylacauga (12-2)
8. Guntersville (14-3)
9. Russellville (12-4)
10. Selma (5-2)
Others nominated: B.C. Rain (10-6), Carroll-Ozark (15-7), Charles Henderson (15-7), Faith-Mobile (9-7), Greenville (11-8), Lawrence Co. (11-6), LeFlore (8-7), Sipsey Valley (9-4), West Point (13-7).
CLASS 4A
1. Williamson (20-2)
2. Anniston (14-3)
3. Westminster-Huntsville (13-5)
4. Brooks (13-5)
5. Dallas Co. (9-2)
6. Good Hope (15-5)
7. White Plains (14-4)
8. Hamilton (13-7)
9. St. Michael (12-9)
10. West Morgan (7-8)
Others nominated: Central-Florence (12-5), Haleyville (16-6), West Limestone (7-9).
CLASS 3A
1. Hillcrest-Evergreen (10-3)
2. Fyffe (14-4)
3. Cottage Hill (16-1)
4. Plainview (22-3)
5. Opp (13-0)
6. Chickasaw (12-3)
7. Piedmont (7-5)
8. Mobile Christian (14-6)
9. Elkmont (12-4)
10. Geraldine (15-3)
Others nominated: Carbon Hill (12-9), Catholic-Montgomery (8-3), Clements (10-7), Danville (11-6), Lauderdale Co. (14-4), Pike Co. (4-2), Providence Christian (10-5), Wicksburg (15-5), Winfield (15-8).
CLASS 2A
1. Midfield (16-6)
2. Calhoun (10-6)
3. North Sand Mountain (15-5)
4. Clarke Co. (16-3)
5. Geneva Co. (13-2)
6. Section (13-8)
7. Sand Rock (15-4)
8. Hatton (11-4)
9. Lanett (8-3)
10. Spring Garden (14-6)
Others nominated: Addison (13-10), Cold Springs (14-5), Red Bay (8-6), Westbrook Christian (14-5).
CLASS 1A
1. Decatur Heritage (7-7)
2. Florala (18-3)
3. Brantley (11-0)
4. Ragland (15-4)
5. Autaugaville (11-0)
6. Skyline (15-6)
7. Covenant Christian (14-3)
8. Belgreen (16-2)
9. Pickens Co. (7-2)
10. Woodville (9-5)
Others nominated: Jacksonville Christian (10-5), Meek (11-4).
AISA
1. Tuscaloosa Academy (19-0)
2. Pike Liberal Arts (13-2)
3. Chambers Academy (10-1)
4. Glenwood (14-3)
5. Macon-East (8-5)
6. Heritage Christian (14-2)
7. Springwood (11-5)
8. Clarke Prep (13-7)
9. Jackson Academy (11-2)
10. Evangel Christian (3-4)
Others nominated: Monroe Academy (5-7), Morgan Academy (7-7), Sparta (7-7).

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