The direction of the Gardendale boys basketball program was apparent on Tuesday night in the Northwest Sub-Regional round of the Class 6A state playoffs. The home crowd showed up in large numbers for the playoff opener, bringing with it an atmosphere that hasn’t been seen on Main St. in quite some time.
However, a rabid student section was not enough to stop McAadory from notching a regional berth with a 66-55 road win.
The Yellow Jackets (23-7) utilized a full-court trap defense, which helped them build a 17-10 lead after one complete and a 38-29 advantage at the break.
“I think we had some nerves early on,” said Gardendale senior Shamar Cook. “We practiced for their press. We knew what they were going to do… it was just early-game jitters.”
The Rockets (20-9, 5-1 Class 6A, Area 11) settled in in the second half. The shots began to fall and the deficit was cut to three points late in the third quarter, but McAdory routinely answered each Gardendale run.
Rocket senior Nick Johnson sank consecutive 3-pointers from the same spot on the right side to work the deficit down to 46-43 with 2:30 remaining in the third frame. McAdory would stretch the lead back out to seven points by the end of the quarter.
Jeremiah Littlepage led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points to go with 15 points from Jeremiah Hurst and 10 apiece from Javien Sewell and Samuel Youngblood.
McAdory will travel to Wallace State Community College on Friday to play No. 6 Muscle Shoals in the Northwest Regional semifinals.
Gardendale ends head coach Trent Hosmer’s first season with a record of 20-9 to go with a Class 6A, Area 11 championship—the first such accomplishment in 15 years.
"We love how the fans came out and supported us," said Cook of Tuesday night's atmosphere. "Last year, the season wasn't so great, but we love to see everybody come out and support us this year."
The Fultondale boys basketball team (19-7, 4-1 Class 3A, Area 9) has punched its ticket to Jacksonville.
The Wildcats thumped Area 12 champion J.B. Pennington 74-43 Tuesday night in the Class 3A Northeast Sub-Regional.
Senior Jaylon Hicks scored 22 points for the visitors and dished out nine assists. Dexter Lewis worked his way to a double-double (17 points and 13 rebounds) to go with 10 points from Willie Smith and nine points from Josh Maston.
Fultondale will play No. 1 Plainview next Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Northeast Regional semifinals.
According to reports, this is Fultondale’s first regional tournament berth in more than two decades.
The Mortimer Jordan boys basketball team (14-14, 8-0 Class 5A, Area 11) lost to No. 1 Wenonah 69-34 on Tuesday night in the Class 5A sub-regional.
The Dragons advance to the Northwest Regional semifinals in Hanceville.
It took overtime for the Pinson Valley boys basketball team (20-9) to beat Homewood 61-50 on Tuesday night in the Class 6A Northeast Sub-Regionals.
The sixth-ranked Indians will face Lee-Huntsville on Friday at Jacksonville State University.