Defending Champion Jacksonville Advances to 4A State Final

AHSAA Class 4A Boys Semifinal 

Birmingham, AL  – Defending Class 4A state champion Jacksonville used smothering defense to knock off Hale County 82-46 Tuesday night and clinched a berth in the AHSAA 2023 state finals.

The win sets up a much anticipated showdown with Westminster Christian, which won its semifinal game over Montgomery Catholic in similar fashion 61-28.

The two teams will square off Friday at 5:45 p.m. in Birmingham’s Legacy Arena.

Jacksonville (28-6), lead by first-year head coach Tres Buzan, jumped out to a quick 18-0 lead Tuesday to take control of the semifinal game early. Hale County Coach Antwan Butler said there were two big reasons.

 “We came out a little wide-eyed. That can happen sometimes in games like these,” he said. “If you do that against a team as talented as Jacksonville, it can be very difficult to overcome.”

Jacksonville guard Caden Johnson attempts a jump shot as Hale County’s Broderick Hill defends (AHSAA PHOTO | DAVID HOLTSFORD)

Hale County trailed 41-10 at the half and scored only three points in the second quarter.

“Our players really bought in to our game plan and our preparation,” said Buzan. “We came out ready to play.”

Senior John Broom had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles while shooting 6-of-10 from the field. Devin Barksdale was also 6-for-10 and finished with 15 points and five assists. Caden Johnson went 6-of-8 shooting and had 14 points.

Jacksonville was 33-of-59 for the game, 55.9%, and sank 12-of-25 from the 3-point line. Six players made at least one trey with Brook sinking four and Barksdale three.

Omar Lewis led Hale County (17-13) with 13 points. Aundarius Gee added seven boards.

Semifinal games continue Wednesday at the BJCC with Classes 6A and 5A competing in the first and second sessions, respectively. The Class 7A semifinals will be Thursday.

Hale County’s A.J. Edwards is closely guarded by Jacksonville’s Cam Johnson (AHSAA Photo | David Holtsford)

Championships also begin Thursday with the 1A boys’ and girls’ finals. The Class 2A, 3A and 4A finals will be held Friday, and the Class 5A, 6A and 7A championship games close out the 2023 state tourney Saturday inside Legacy Arena.

For the first time in the state tournament’s storied history, all championship games will be broadcast live over the Alabama Public Television (APT) Network.

All semifinal and championship games this week are also being live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform and shown live over the AHSAA TV Network.

The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting all games over its network. 

AHSAA 2023 State Basketball Championships
BJCC Legacy Arena, Feb. 27-March 4

Girls’ Semifinals

Clements (28-6) 56, Pike County (23-9) 25
Trinity Presbyterian (31-2) 53, Susan Moore (29-4) 47
Boys’ Semifinals
Midfield (25-5) 67, Hillcrest-Evergreen (20-6) 50
Plainview (30-5) 55, Sumter Central (27-6) 41

Girls’ Semifinals

Priceville (23-9) 56, UMS-Wright (30-6) 36
Prattville Christian (33-3) 52, New Hope (23-6) 37
Boys’ Semifinals

Westminster Christian (29-3) 61, Montgomery Catholic (19-7) 28)
Jacksonville (28-6) 82, Hale County (17-13) 46

Girls’ Semifinals

McGill-Toolen Catholic (29-5) vs. Hazel Green (34-1), 9 a.m.
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (27-5) vs. Huffman (26-4), noon.
Boys’ Semifinals
McGill-Toolen Catholic (28-6) vs. Buckhorn (25-8), 10:30 a.m.
Paul Bryant (22-12) vs. Mountain Brook (25-7), 1:30 p.m.

Girls’ Semifinals

Charles Henderson (18-9) vs. Pleasant Grove (26-6), 3 p.m.
Brewbaker Tech (13-7) vs. Arab (21-12), 6 p.m.
Boys’ Semifinals

Charles Henderson (24-5) vs. Ramsay (26-6), 4:30 p.m.
Valley (31-0) vs. Scottsboro (24-8), 7:30 p.m.

Girls’ Semifinals

Prattville (24-4) vs. Hoover (33-1), 9 a.m.
Foley (23-5) vs. Sparkman (25-8), noon.
Boys’ Semifinals
Dothan (26-4) vs. Hoover (29-3), 10:30 a.m.
Central-Phenix City (24-9) vs. Spain Park (25-6), 1:30 p.m.

Girls’ Semifinals

Marion County (21-13) 68, Elba ( (25-7) 61
Loachapoka (25-10) (15-8) vs. Spring Garden (34-1), Feb. 27, noon
Boys’ Semifinals
Covenant Christian (30-3) 47, Florala (23-8) 26
Oakwood Adventist Academy (27-8) 52, Autaugaville (21-7) 44

Girls’ Semifinals
Mars Hill Bible (25-5) 70, Geneva County (27-7) 50
Cold Springs (31-2) 44, Lanett (24-3) 37
Boys’ Semifinals

St. Luke’s Episcopal (16-11) 63, Mars Hill Bible (24-10) 56
Aliceville (24-1) 73, Sand Rock (22-11) 63