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The Sparkman Senators won the Huntsville City Classic by defeating No. 1 ranked Grissom in the tournament finals. Hosting the championship trophy for the first time since 2005, the Senators are ranked No. 6 in Class 7A. Photo Contributed

Sparkman Wins Huntsville City Classic With Dominating Play Over Top-Ranked Grissom

HUNTSVILLE- In 2005, we experienced Hurricane Katrina, YouTube was launched, the top Broadway play was The Lion King and it was the last and first time the Sparkman Senators basketball team won the Huntsville Times Classic tournament held annually at Huntsville High School. That same year only a few of the players on the current Sparkman team roster were alive.

Now 16 years later, the Senators laid claim to their second Classic championship in what has become known as the Huntsville City Classic by their 62-53 defeat of the Grissom Tigers the No. 1 ranked team in Alabama.

“In terms to the competition we rose to the occasion in this prestigious event and this means a lot to our players,” said Jamie Coggins head coach of Sparkman. “This was my third time as head coach to make it to the finals and first win. A lot of our guys stepped up for this one.”

The 16-team tournament featured some of the top teams in Alabama and Sparkman came into the action ranked No. 6 in Class 7A. On their way to the finals the squad defeated Columbia 93-37, Oxford 50-33 and a hard-fought 57-55 victory over Huntsville, thus the stage was set for what was expected to be a final for the ages.

Instead, Sparkman used a swarming defense that kept in-check Grissom’s scoring talent and followed an offensive scheme that gave the Senators a 15-5 lead after the first quarter, and a 24-13 lead at halftime eventually leading by as many as 23. Grissom made a respectable fourth quarter come back, but Sparkman was too much, too long for the victory holding Grissom to just 36-percent shooting from the field.

Senior Josh Price led Sparkman scorers with 19 points while fellow seniors Timbre Kirk added 16 and Landon Jacobs rolled in 14.

“We had a plan to make certain guys on Grissom’s squad beat us as we mixed up defenses on them,” said Coggins. “Junior Terrance Caselberry did a tremendous job on covering their best player the entire game. We also out rebounded them by 10. On offense we executed what we wanted to do.”

Sparkman (16-4) is the only team in Alabama to beat Grissom (17-3) through the first half of the season as area play is on deck.

The All-Tournament Team featured Senators Price, William Hawkins and Most Valuable Player Kirk who had numerous threes mostly coming off the bench.

For second-ranked James Clemens, the Jets defeated No. 7 Enterprise 49-48, but lost to Class 5A No. 1 ranked Lee 65-60 before suffering a tough 71-68 loss to Hazel Green in one of the tournament’s four Showcase Games.Bob Jones opened the tourney with a 65-49 loss to Grissom and a similar outcome to Anniston 52-38. In its Showcase Game, the Patriots rose to the occasion with a 75-65 victory over Columbia.

Madison Academy participated in the 39th annual event losing all three of its games including 66-55 to Lee, 62-39 to Enterprise and 76-58 to Jacksonville in its Showcase Game.

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