Class 7A No. 1 Sparkman started its run in the state playoffs with a dominant showing against No. 7 Tuscaloosa County in the Northwest Regional semifinals.
The Senators’ 77-47 win at Wallace State-Hanceville on Feb. 16 earned them a spot in Tuesday’s (Feb. 21) regional final against No. 2 Hoover.
“Our defense starts it and we do a pretty good job as far as rebounding the basketball and that all leads to transition on offense so that’s pretty much been the key to our run so far,” Sparkman coach Patrick Delay said.
While seniors Terri Smith and Jayla Walker led the way with 15 and 14 points, respectively, Sparkman (29-4) also got significant scoring contributions from some of its younger players. Junior Derienne Black had 14 points and sophomore Deserea Walker added 10.
“Our underclassmen really have stepped up and played really well for us,” Delay said. In addition to Black and Walker, he also named sophomores T.J. Webster, Deyana Dodd and Rachel Daneri as key contributors.
Sparkman will need to continue its balanced production against Hoover (26-7).
“They’re fast, they’re big, they’ve got a couple of kids that can shoot it so we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us,” Delay said.
While Hoover should present a formidable opponent for Sparkman on the court, the Senators will also be facing a coach who has knowledge of Sparkman. Former Huntsville coach Krystle Johnson returned to her alma mater this season to guide the Bucs.
“She very familiar with our personality,” Delay said. “It took…a while for the kids on her team to really pick up her defensive system and her expectations but once they did…they really took off.”
In other local results:
The Madison Academy girls (31-1) played Hokes Bluff (28-6) in the Class 4A Northeast Regional semifinals in Jacksonville on Monday (Feb. 20). They beat Hokes Bluff 59-49 They will play the Madison County/Anniston winner in the regional final on Thursday (Feb. 23) at 9 a.m. The Mustangs reached the semifinal after wins in the Northeast Sub-regional (83-25 over North Jackson) on Feb. 13.
The Bob Jones girls lost to Hoover 52-40 in the regional semifinals. They finished the season at 13-14.
The Madison Academy boys (22-6) played Handley (23-6) in the regional semis in Jacksonville on Monday (Feb. 20). ) They beat Handley 86-83 and will play the Westminster Christian/Saks winner
in the regional final on Thursday (Feb. 23) at 10:45 a.m. The Mustangs beat DAR 98-47 in the sub-regional on Feb. 14.
The Sparkman boys lost to Hoover 62-40 in the regional semifinals. The Senators finished 17-13.
The Bob Jones boys lost to Vestavia Hills 58-43 in the regional semifinals on Feb. 16. The Patriots finished the season at 13-15.