Four Hoops Coaches Notch Milestone Wins to Grab the First AHSAA Basketball Spotlight of 2023
Montgomery, AL – Four veteran AHSAA basketball coaches captured milestone victories in December to land in this week’s AHSAA Basketball Spotlight.
Westminster Christian boys’ basketball coach Ronnie Stapler and Deshler girls’ hoops coach Jana Killen each notched win No. 850 in their legendary careers.
Hazel Green girls’ coach Tim Miller and Spring Garden’s Ricky Austin also recorded their 700th girls’ high school basketball coaching victories.
- Stapler (853-482) guided Westminster Christian (14-2) to a 62-41 victory over Decatur during the Christmas break as his Wildcats shot an amazing 67 percent from the field and outscored the Red Raiders 36-22 in the second period to notch the win. Junior Chase McCarty led Westminster Christian with 18 points – all coming in the second period, going 6-of-10 shooting from the 3-point arc. Seniors Tyler Engle and Eric Robinson scored 11 points apiece for the Wildcats. Sophomore Kaden Rickard added 10.
- Killen, which heads into this weekend’s games with a career 855-216 slate after directing the Tigers (13-3) to an 86-78 victory over Lauderdale County in the final game of the Keith Davis Memorial Classic. Senior Chloe Siegel was 7-of-12 from beyond the 3-point line and finished with 35 points in the win.
- Hazel Green’s Miller (704-98), has led his team to five straight state titles since 2018, landed two milestones – all in December. The Lady Trojans (18-0) beat Daphne 64-31 to win the Gulf Shores Holiday Bash on December 21 – extending Hazel Green’s winning streak to 73 in a row, which became the second longest winning streak in AHSAA basketball history surpassing Athens’ 72-game streak set from 2001-2004. The Lady Trojans have since extended their streak to 78 with victories over St. John Paul II Catholic and Muscle Shoals. Leah Brooks, a 6-foot-2 junior, had 20 points, six rebounds and three steals in the 68-30 win over the Falcons at the Balln Prep National Showcase at Hazel Green last week, and knocked off Muscle Shoals 65-23 earlier this week. The AHSAA’s longest streak (86) was set by Lauderdale County from 2013-2015. The streak started in the 2021 season with Coach Tim Miller’s girls winning their last 24 games to finish 36-1 in route to a Class 6A championship. Hazel Green followed with a 35-0 record last season – capping the program’s fifth straight state title.
- Class 1A Spring Garden (15-1) has enjoyed tremendous success under the tutelage of Austin, who began the season with a 685-166 career mark. Austin (15-1) picked up his 700th victory with a 61-48 win over two-time defending Class 3A state champion Prattville Christian at the Supreme Courts in Guntersville. Ace Austin, the head coach’s daughter, had 25 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals in the win. Libby Brown added 17 points and Chloe Rule had 16. Austin, who stepped down as boys’ head coach at Spring Garden after last season, compiled a 221-82 boys’ coaching record and improved to 921-249 overall after the win over PCA.
Killen, who ranked second all time for girls’ basketball coaching wins in the AHSAA behind now retired Red Bay Coach Donnie Roberts (886-361), and Stapler were inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2022, Miller has been selected to be inducted this year in the Class of 2023. Stapler ranks fourth in boys’ wins behind Eugene Mason of R.C. Hatch (919-306), William ‘Cap’ Brown of Parker (891-306) and Willie Scoggins of Ramsay (864-309). All three coaches are now deceased.
Spring Garden is at home tonight versus Sand Rock. Hazel Green hosts Mae Jemison and Westminster hosts St. John Paul II Catholic tonight. Deshler plays next on Jan. 10 at Central-Florence.
Other highlights reported for this week’s Spotlight include:
DELIVERING IN THE CLUTCH
IASIA ANDERSON, CHILTON COUNTY: had a rare quadruple-double performance last month in a big win over county rival Jemison. She had 17 points, 15 steals, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the 62-21 win. One night earlier, she was close with 18 points, 13 steals and 11 rebounds in a 71-64 victory over Montgomery Academy. She finished with a triple double. But missed the fourth handing out seven assists. Chilton County (9-8) clawed though a tough schedule in November and December as the Tigers take on county rival Thorsby Friday night and jump into Class 6A, Area 5 play next week with a January 12 battle in Clanton versus Benjamin Russell.
J.J. BUSH, THEODORE: The Theodore freshman guard sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bobcats to a 44-42 win over Vigor in the Gulf Coast Holiday Classic at the Outlaw Center at Spring Hill College in December.
ADAM SEALS, LEFLORE: Nailed the game-winning 3-point shot with 3.6 seconds remaining to lead the Rattlers to a 48-45 victory over Archbishop Shaw (LA) to notch a big December win. Labrandon Walton delivered a game-winning 3-point shot at the buzzer in the semifinals as LeFlore nipped Theodore 46-46. He finished with 18 points.
LASHONDAE HORACE, MARY MONTGOMERY: Had 13 points, including a key free throw in the final seconds, to lift the Vikings to a 64-62 win over Williamson in the Gulf Coast Classic Red Bracket semifinals.
JORDAN JOHNSON, AUSTIN: Had 26 points, finishing 4-of-6 shooting behind the 3-point arc, as the Black Bears beat defending Class 4A state champion Jacksonville 65-63 in two overtimes in an early round victory at the Huntsville Classic. John Broom, like Johnson, played all 38 minutes in the marathon double-overtime contest, scored 17 for the Golden Eagles. He also had 25 points and 11 rebounds in a later tourney win over Madison Academy.
D.J. THOMPSON, GRISSOM: Scored 19 of the Tigers’ 35 points, nailing 10-of-16 free throws in a clutch performance to lead Grissom to a 35-33 win over Austin.
CHANDLER PATTON, BROOKS: Sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with six seconds remaining, then took a charge on defense to seal a 62-61 win over Moore County (TN). Teammate Draiven Swaner had seven treys and finished with 31 points to snap a five-game losing streak.
WILL HAWKINS, SPARKMAN: Was 8-of-11 shooting to finish with 17 points to lead the Senators to a 64-52 win over Baker in the finals of the 40th Huntsville City Classic. He was named the tourney MVP. Karmelo Montgomery added 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior scoring sensation Labaron Philon led Baker with 29 points. He sank 5-of-8 3-pointers and 10-of-13 free throws on the way to a 37-point effort as Baker posted a 78-73 win over Huntsville in the semifinals. Philon, who earned ASWA Class 7A player-of-the-year honors last season, also had five assists and four rebounds in the win. He poured in 35 points in a 70-52 win over Haleyville in the tournament quarterfinals.
KARMELO MONTGOMERY, SPARKMAN: Grabbed a pass from guard Will Hawkins with three seconds left and sank the game-winning shot with three seconds remaining in the championship game of the Daphne Christmas tournament earlier last month. Montgomery finished with a game-high 11 rebounds in the clutch win.
JOHN BROOM, JACKSONVILLE: Had 25 points and 11 rebounds in a 73-58 win over Madison Academy in the Huntsville Classic consolation round.
DADRIAN SANDERS, DESHLER: Had 25 points in a 90-56 win over Danville to go over 1,000 points in his prep career.
MILES EDWARDS, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Scored 37 points – 17 coming in the third period – to lead Lauderdale County to a 67-57 win over Carbon Hill.
KELDRIC BROWN, BRANTLEY: Had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and eight steals and to pace Brantley to a 51-43 win over Elba in the Pea River Classic tourney. He had 26 points and 17 rebounds in a 66-61 semifinal win over Luverne. Teammate Jayden Parks also scored 39 points in a 78-76 loss to Pleasant Home in December. He also had eight rebounds in the setback.
DEVIN McCAINE, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Earned MVP honors with 13 points leading the Yellow Jackets to a 58-43 win over Mary Montgomery to claim the Red Bracket championship of the Gulf Coast Holiday Classic at Spring Hill College.
BRITTNEY REED, LEFLORE: Totaled 18 points and earned tourney MVP as the Rattlers beat Blount 57-52 to win the Green Bracket championship of the Gulf Coast Holiday Classic.
SPENCE SIMS, FAIRHOPE: Tallied 17 points to earn MVP honors and teammate Bridges Simmons had 21 as the Pirates won the William Mitchell Memorial Tourney at UMS-Wright 50-39 over the host Bulldogs.
ETHAN FAIR, JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN: Had 34 points, including sinking seven 3-pointers, to lead JCA to a 58-42 win over Cedar Bluff in the finals of the JCA Holiday Classic.
DEWAYNE BROWN, HOOVER: Had 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks to lead the Bucs to a 73-34 win over Helena in the finals of the Big Orange Classic.
THOMAS DOWD, DOTHAN: Scored 28 point and cleared eight rebounds as the Wolves beat Houston Academy 55-45 to win the Dothan Hoops Classic at the Dothan Civic Center.
KAMARI HOLLIS, PELHAM: Led the Panthers to the Panther Holiday Jam title with 18 points in a 57-35 victory over Brookwood.
KESHAWN WATKINS, COLUMBIA: Had 36 points and 23 rebounds in a 70-66 loss to Lee-Huntsville. Devious Woods led the Generals with 16 points and seven rebounds.
ROLLIE PINTO, PIEDMONT: Sank five treys and finished with a career-high 30 points to pace the Bulldogs in a 79-25 win over Walter Wellborn.
JORDA CROOK, OHATCHEE: Scored 52 points, her third 50-point game of the season, as Ohatchee beat Westbrook Christian 66-40. She had 38 points at the half and sank 23 field goals on the night.
SARAH DAVIS, SHOALS CHRISTIAN: Set a school record with 44 points in a 56-47 win over Winfield. She finished 12-of-19 from the field with four 3-pointers and also sank 16-of-19 free throws to seal the win. She broke the record she set earlier in December (40). The previous school standard (34) was set by Mackenzie Bishop in 2008.
LIMAYA BATIMBA, LEE-HUNTSVILLE: Had 24 points, 10 rebounds and four steals as the Generals beat Rogers (OH) 48-41 with a strong fourth-quarter surge. Lee trailed the school from Toledo, Ohio 30-28 heading into the fourth period but went on a 20-11 run to ice the win.
AVERY ROGERS, PRATTVILLE CHRISTIAN: Had 16 points in a 70-34 win over Montgomery Catholic in the Jack Schweers Capital City Classic semifinals at Trinity Presbyterian to surpass 1,000 career points.
KATELYN ST. CLAIR, SAND ROCK: Scored 37 points, including four treys, and was 11-of-16 at the foul line as the Lady Wildcats lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Van Buren (TN) 77-73 in the finals of the Marlin Christmas Classic at Panama City (FL). St. Clair also had nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.
SARAH GORDON, VESTAVIA HILLS: Sparked the Lady Rebels to the three straight wins in the Gulf Shores Christmas Bash with 15 points and nine rebounds in a win over Pine Forest (FL), 18 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Spanish Fort and 19 points in a 15-point win over Gulfport (MS). She also sank 7-of-9 treys on her way to 23 points in a 72-39 win over Northridge in the Alabaster City Classic.
ANNA REED McNEECE, McGILL-TOOLEN: Earned MVP honors at the William Mitchell Memorial Tournament leading the Lady Jackets to a 36-28 win over Jackson in the finals. She had 11 points in the championship game and 20 in a 60-31 win over West Florida and 16 in a win over Fort Walton (FL) in the tourney.
LELE RIDLEY, PIEDMONT: Scored 25 points in the Haralson County (GA) tournament to lead Piedmont to a 58-53 victory over Rockmart (GA).