Charles Henderson falls to Valley in 5A State Title Game

Published 1:38 pm Saturday, March 4, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Charles Henderson Trojans (24-6) came up short against the Valley Rams (33-0) in the Class 5A State Championship on Saturday, falling 54-50.

It was just the second time the Trojans had ever advanced to a state championship game in boys’ basketball.

“Credit to Valley and the job they did and the game they played,” CHHS Coach Tim Fayson said. “It’s about who has the most points at the end of the game and tonight they had the most points. I’m proud of each and every one of these young men.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Jywon Boyd got Charles Henderson off to a solid start with a layup in the opening minutes but neither team was able to find its rhythm in the first quarter. The feisty Trojan defense blocked three shots in the first period but Valley outrebounded Charles Henderson 14-7. The Rams knocked down a three with 26 seconds left to take a 7-6 lead into the second period, which was Valley’s first lead of the game.

The two sides exchanged threes to open the second quarter but a fired up Ram squad went on a 9-0 run to take an 18-12 lead with 3:07 left in the half. Charles Henderson’s Bray Jones cut the lead with a three followed by a jumper from Austin Cross to bring the Trojans within 18-17 with 2:06 left in the half.

Tyler Carlton drilled a three with 1:36 left to give the Trojans a 20-18 lead and CHHS was able to hang on to that lead at halftime. Charles Henderson held Valley to 25.9 percent shooting in the first half, while the Trojans shot 42 percent from the field. The Trojans managed to attempt just one free throw in the half, while Valley was 2-for-3 from the foul line. Valley won the rebound battle 19-14 in the first half and CHHS was unable to earn a single offensive rebound.

Valley went on a 4-0 run to start the third quarter, to take a 22-20 lead, but Mario Davenport gave the Trojans the lead back 23-22 with a three pointer with 5:08 left in the period. Then, things began to really heat up as the two sides traded three pointers. With CHHS leading 29-27, Valley went on a 7-0 run to take a 34-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Valley stretched the run to 11-0 to take a 38-29 lead with 6:56 left in the game. The Rams capped off the run with a steal and dunk that got the Valley faithful that made the trip to Birmingham as fired up as they were all morning.

Jayden Spearman broke the CHHS scoring drought with a jumper to cut the lead to 38-31 with 6:31 left but the Rams responded right back with another jumper to go up 40-31. With 4:35 left, Spearman cut the lead to 42-34 with a three-pointer and then he knocked down a put-back layup to cut it further to 42-36 with 2:27 left.

Boyd stole a Valley pass and found Cross for a three-pointer to cut the lead to 42-39 with 1:41 left to cap off a 9-0 run. Valley stretched the lead to 44-39 with 1:31 left and a Boyd free throw cut the lead to 44-40 only for the Rams to extend it back to 46-40 with 1:19 left. A Valley steal and layup extended the lead to 48-40 with 57 seconds left.

Cross knocked down three free throws to cut the Ram lead to 48-43 with 53 seconds left. Valley continued to knock down free throws as Charles Henderson attempted to conserve time with fouls, and went up 51-43 with 40 seconds left. Cross converted a layup to bring CHHS within 51-45 with 33 seconds left.

Following a Valley turnover, Boyd knocked down a layup to cut the lead to 51-47 with 14 seconds left. Valley extended the lead to 53-47 with a pair of free throws but Cross answered right back with a three-pointer that brought Charles Henderson to within three points with 4.5 seconds left. Valley converted a free throw to seal the 54-50 win.

The Charles Henderson Trojans finish as Class 5A State Runner-Up for the second time in school history. (Photo by Dan Smith)

The Trojans shot just 38 percent from the field in the loss and were outrebounded 40-29, while both teams turned the ball over 15 times.

“When we’re making shots we’re a really good team,” Fayson said. “I feel like they dictated the tempo for the most part. Teams have been trying to do that because we like to run a little more and they did a good job of dictating that tempo and getting us out of our sets and rhythm. At the end of the day, you either make or miss shots. You have to hit our shots and they made more than we did.”

Boyd ended the game with 14 points, three rebounds and two steals, while Spearman tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Cross also chipped in with 13 points and four rebounds.

Boyd and Spearman earned All-Tournament honors for the Trojans. Valley’s Cam Dooley was named Tournament MVP as he tallied 19 points, nine rebounds and four steals.