Year in review: Lady Trojans take home first State championship in 2018

Published 1:24 pm Monday, December 31, 2018

High school basketball in 2018 was highlighted by a state championship.

After falling short in each of the two previous seasons, the Charles Henderson Lady Trojans clinched their first-ever state championship at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

The Trojans finished off the 2016-2017 season in the semifinals, before dropping the championship game to Wenonah in the state finals the following season.

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In 2018, the Trojans met up with Wenonah once again for the third consecutive season, this time in the semifinals. The third time was indeed the charm for the Trojans as they slayed the Dragons 57-53.

“I am proud of them,” said head coach Dyneshia Jones after the win. “Win, lose or draw, I am proud of them. It took a long time; we have been trying to beat this team for the longest (time). The Trojans took on Central Tuscaloosa in an early Saturday morning showdown for the state championship. Maori Davenport had a game-high 17 points and the Lady Trojans became the first Charles Henderson basketball team to claim a state championship.

“I am proud of the girls,” said head coach Dyneshia Jones. “We have worked hard this season and the past couple of seasons. They deserve it. I am so happy for them. It’s a part of history. I have been coaching 20 years and having this group is special to me.”

The accomplishments didn’t stop there for the Trojans. In the offseason, Davenport became the first high school player from the state of Alabama to participate on the Team USA U18 Team. A few months later, Davenport and teammate Tatyana Siler signed scholarships to play basketball at Rutgers and Air Force respectively.

The Charles Henderson boys had their season end in the Class 5A Regionals. The 2017-2018 season marked the first time in eight years that the Trojans advanced to the regional tournament. They hosted the area tournament and won it after defeating Greenville for their ninth straight win.

“It is very exciting and I am overjoyed” Tuck said. “I am so thankful and grateful for these guys.”

The Trojans hosted Jackson in the sub-regionals. The Trojans improved to 17-7 on the season with a 55-54 win over Jackson, sending them to Dothan for their first 5A Regional Appearance since 2010.

“I’m just excited and overjoyed for the kids and for the program here,” said second-year CHHS head basketball coach Shelby Tuck. “The kids fought with a lot of heart.”

The Trojans ended their season in Dothan when they fell to Eufaula 74-57.

It was a heart-breaking finish in what was a successful 2017-2018 season for the Goshen Eagles.

The Eagles finished the regular season with an 11-5 record. They were forced to Calhoun for the area championship. After knocking off Central-Hayneville in overtime, the Eagles forced overtime against host Calhoun in the championship before walking away with a 74-67 win.

The Eagles cut down the nets after knocking Choctaw in the sub-regionals and headed to Montgomery for the regional tournament.

The Eagles led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter before ultimately falling to Keith in overtime 61-57.

In the offseason, head coach Ethan Carroll took a coaching job at Hueytown High School.

“It was more of a family decision,” Carroll said. “My wife really loves this area. We love Goshen also and Troy, but for her job opportunities, we feel like this will be a good place for both of us to grow.”

Like the Goshen Eagles, the Pike County Bulldogs also won an area championship in 2018. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a perfect 8-0 area record. After getting through the area tournament, the Bulldogs knocked off Flomaton in the sub-regionals.

The Bulldogs headed to Dothan with an eye on heading back to Birmingham. After falling behind 28-24 at halftime, the Bulldogs stormed back to knockoff Mobile Christian 56-43 to improve to 17-7 on the year.

Their journey came to an end with a loss to Hillcrest-Evergreen.

The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots fell in the opening round of the regional tournament, but the boys got by rival Fort Dale to set up a matchup with Lee Scott in the Elite 8. The Patriots fell to Morgan Academy in the regional final.

The season came to a disappointing end when the Patriots fell to Lee-Scott 56-19.