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The Sparkman Senators defended their 2021 title in the 40th annual Huntsville City Classic with a championship defeating Baker in the tournament finals. Photo Contributed

Senators Claim Classic Championship In Classic Form

HUNTSVILLE- Where’s there’s a will, there’s a way. For the Sparkman Senators boys basketball team, its will to win is ever present and with senior Will Hawkins at the helm of the senior laden squad Sparkman won its second consecutive Huntsville City Classic tournament championship with a 64-52 victory in the title game.

Hawkins, named the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 17 points and Karmelo Montgomery added 16 in the title game win over the Class 7A seventh ranked Hornets (13-5). The sixth ranked Senators opened a 12-point lead after the first quarter, hit 42-percent from the field and nailed down the victory. Labaron Philon, regarded as one of the best players in the state, scored a game-high 29 points for Baker, but the Sparkman defense held other Hornets to no more than seven points in the game Baker never led.

In four games, Hawkins tallied 52 points, while Montgomery scored 40. Additional Senators assisted in the tournament victory including Trayton Berger (33), Cameron Jones (26) and Chase Jackson (20.)

Sparkman

Sparkman (16-4), led by head coach Jamie Coggins, made it to the tournament finals with three victories. Against Buckhorn, Sparkman defeated the Bucks 45-40 making every free throw down the stretch. Both Montgomery and Jones scored 11 points to lead the Senators. Versus Westminster, the Sparkman defense created 16 Wildcats turnovers holding the Class 4A squad to just 27-percent shooting for the game. Sparkman had 10 steals and outscored the Wildcats 27-19 in the second half on its way to a 47-35 win. Hawkins scored 17 and Berger added 16. Up against its arch rival Bob Jones, the game was never in question as Sparkman opened a 12-5 lead after the first quarter and held the Patriots to just 12 points in the second half for a 62-28 victory. Scoring was spread through the Sparkman lineup led by Montgomery and Jones scoring 11 points each and Hawkins adding 10.

Bob Jones

The Patriots (14-5) surprised many with a victory over the No. 10 Crimson Panthers from Huntsville for the third place trophy in the Classic. The Patriots scored 18 points off the fast break, hit 42-percent from the field including 33-percent from the three-point mark in scoring a 51-46 victory. Malachi Mitchell led the Pats with 13 points. Julius Winston and Sean Moran scored eight each while Khani Chilufya added six. For the tourney, the head coach Luther Tiggs led squad was led by Mitchell’s 34 points followed by Winston’s 29, Chilufya’s 27 and Moran adding 23.

Getting to the third place contest, Bob Jones defeated Oxford 42-24, despite 13 turnovers on the game. Mitchell was tops in scoring with 11 while Chilufya and Morgan added seven each. Next up, Bob Jones faced Class 6A No. 3 ranked Mountain Brook. Following behind 11-3 after the first quarter, the Pats would go on to score 18 points off the fast break while their defense cramped the Spartans’ style causing 17 turnovers in the 44-42 victory. Chilufya hit for 10 points while Mitchell added nine and Winston eight. Against defending champion Sparkman, the Senators led by as many as 34 in taking an easy and impressive 62-28 win over Bob Jones. The Patriots were held to just hitting 20-percent from the field and committed 12 turnovers as they fell into the third place game versus Huntsville as Winston scored 11 points.

Madison Academy

The Class 5A Mustangs, led by first-year head coach Tom Berryman, started just one senior Cody Baerlocher, who would score 50 points in the four games the squad played in. Jaylen Blackwell scored 36 while Michael Stanford hit for 18 and Lawson Pippins added 17.

In their tourney opener, the Mustangs committed 25 turnovers, hit just two of 11 from the three-point mark and fell to Huntsville 76-35 as Blackwell scored 11 points. In round two, the Mustangs were up against the Jacksonville Golden Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the latest Class 4A poll. Hitting just two of 16 shots from the three-point range, the Mustangs fell behind 40-26 at halftime and never caught up. Baerlocher was tops in scoring with 15, Blackwell had 13 and Stanford added 10. In its final game of the tournament, Madison Academy (9-9) faced Class 6A Hazel Green and did not score in the final two minutes of the game only to survive for a 63-59 victory over the Trojans. Tied at halftime, the Mustangs outscored the Trojans 16-8 in the third quarter. The maroon and gold Mustangs hit on 51-percent of their field goal attempts. Baerlocher pumped in 28 points, including 15 from the three-point shot to lead all scorers. Blackwell added 12 in the squad’s final game of the Classic.

Besides Hawkins of Sparkman being named Most Valuable Player and Sparkman’s Coggins named Coach of the Tournament, the following were named to the All-Tournament Team: Will Hawkins, Cameron Jones and Karmelo Montgomery of Sparkman; Cody Baerlocher and Jaylen Blackwell of Madison Academy; Malachi Mitchell and Khani Chilufya of Bob Jones.

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