2013 year in review: Basketball

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

The CHHS girls won the area regular season and tournament titles in 2013.

The CHHS girls won the area regular season and tournament titles in 2013.

Charles Henderson collected pair of area titles in 2013 hoops action

The Charles Henderson Trojans led the hardwood charge for the Troy area in 2013. Charles Henderson picked up a pair of area titles, and had the boy’s team advance to the Regional round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association basketball tournament in Dothan.

Senior guard Tyler Mitchell led the Trojans throughout the season, en route to his second consecutive Messenger Player of the Year award. The Trojans cruised through the area undefeated, knocking off Bullock County, Ashford and Headland along the way.

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In the area tournament, the Trojans rolled past Ashford 62-32, with Mitchell scoring 19 points. The next night, Mitchell dropped 34 points to lead Charles Henderson to its 19th area title in school history. The Trojans beat Bullock County in rout, 59-34.

The hot-shooting Trojans beat Booker T. Washington Magnet in the Sub-regional round of the playoffs, before falling to Escambia County in the regionals, 50-44.

CHHS head coach Carl Hollis said his team didn’t protect the basketball, and that led to the loss.

“We were hitting to open spaces all day, putting the ball on the floor, then we stopped,” Charles Henderson head coach Carl Hollis said. “We didn’t hit the gaps and pass the basketball, we just slung it around and they picked it off.”

The Trojans finished the year 19-7.

Mitchell and DeVantez Jackson were named to the All-Area team at the end of the season.

The Lady Trojans of Charles Henderson also rolled through area play, posting a perfect 6-0 regular season record against Bullock County, Ashford and Headland. In the area tournament, the Lady Trojans knocked off Bullock County 49-29 in the tourney opener and pulled away from Ashford late to secure 50-35 in the championship game.

Charles Henderson couldn’t keep the hot shooting going, as the fell to St. James in the Sub-Regionals, 51-39.

Lady Trojans head coach Dyneshia Jones said her team just couldn’t get the buckets to fall against St. James.

“We had a bad, bad, bad night shooting the ball,” Jones said. “Everything that we put up wouldn’t fall, and everything they put up, went it. It was just one of those nights when nothing seems to go right.”

Alexis Jones, Camille Martin and India Blakely represented Charles Henderson on the All-Area team.

The Goshen Eagles and Lady Eagles hoopsters couldn’t get past rival Elba in the area tournament.

The boys played tough wit the faster, bigger Tigers for two quarters, but couldn’t keep pace in the second half, coming up short.

Though Goshen lost the game 62-42, head coach Johnny Mitchell was excited about the future of the program.

“We lose two great character guys off this team in Rashad Rodgers and Carlton Bean,” said Mitchell. “They are great leaders and good role models for everyone in our area. We have really wanted that to be the direction of not just basketball, but all our sports programs, to have good athletes that are event better people.”

The Lady Eagles fell to Elba as well.

Each of Goshen’s team had a representative on the post-season All-Area team, Deangelo Orum for the boys and All-Area Player of the Year Ivia Pollard for the girls.

At Pike County, Doug Branson led a revival of sorts for the Pike County Bulldogs. The Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with two of the top teams in 3A, Barbour County and Abbeville, in area play.

The Bulldogs knocked off the Yellow Jackets 70-64 in December of 2012, which set up an impressive season for the Dawgs. Pike County took baby steps toward getting back on path in 2012, and went from below .500 to a winning team.

Branson summed up his 2012 team before heading in to the area tournament in February.

“Momentum creates confidence,” said Branson. “We are going to work and try to get some wins. Even if we don’t win the area, the more wins we get the better our seed will be for the tourney. And sometimes that goes a long way in who wins it.”

Ryshaun Hall made the All-Area team.

Up on the hill on Kervin Drive, Craig Kennedy had a very busy year with the Pike Liberal Arts basketball program.

Kennedy, a former assistant at Troy University under Michael Murphy, coached both varsity teams in 2012 and led each of them to the area tournament before running in to a buzz saw in Lee-Scott Academy.

The Patriot boys lost 58-39, while the girls came out on the losing end of a 56-25 decision at the hands of the Lady Warriors.

Kennedy says that this season was one of learning, and that now he sees more players stepping up and becoming leaders.

“We have one player stepping up now,” said Kennedy. “Going forward it will be fun to see a second, and third and fourth player realize their potential. We have great kids, and they always give it all they have.”

Pike’s Chandler Avant and Katie Ward earned All-Area nods following the season.