Arab Lady Knights advance to 5A title game

AHSAA Class 5A Girls Semifinals 

Arab’s Maggie Chastain sinks 3 free throws with 2.2 seconds left to seal semifinal win

By Josh Bean | AHSAA

Birmingham, AL – Only 2.2 seconds remained as Arab High School sophomore Maggie Chastain walked to the free-throw line after getting fouled while shooting a 3-pointer in Wednesday’s AHSAA Class 5A State Basketball Championships girls’ semifinal against Brewbaker Tech.

With the game tied at 49-49, junior point guard Bryleigh Bodine stopped Chastain, leaned close and shared a few words with her teammate.

“In practice, me and Maggie are free throw buddies,” Bodine said. “I said, ‘Do it just like at practice,’ and she took care of it.”

Chastain swished all three free throws to lift Arab to a 52-49 victory over Brewbaker Tech (13-8), sending the Knights (22-12), coached by Brad Kitchens, into Saturday’s championship game versus Pleasant Grove (27-6). It’s Arab’s first title-game appearance since finishing as Class 5A runner-up in 2007.

Brewbaker Tech’s Kenneddi McGhee battles a double team by Arab’s Bryleigh Bodine (21) and Sydney Ferguson (12) | AHSAA Photo | David Holtsford

How did Chastain, a sophomore who came off the bench, feel when she walked to the free-throw line in the final seconds?

“It was exciting, but nerve-wracking,” she said. “I knew my teammates were there to encourage me. They got me to the free-throw line and helped me through it.”

The victory was especially sweet for Kitchens, who underwent quadruple-bypass heart surgery 18 months ago. He said his players inspired him to recover and return to coaching.

“It feels good to make him proud,” Arab junior Bennett Elrod said.

Sydney Ferguson led Arab with 16 points. Chastain scored 15 on four 3-pointers and her three free throws. Elrod tallied 11 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Brewbaker Tech (22-10), coached by Cynthia Thompson, was playing in the state semifinals for the first time since 2015 and chasing its first state title since 2011.

Kenneddi McGhee led Brewbaker Tech with 19 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. Jillian Baine added 17 points, and Erin Martin had eight, including a 3-pointer to tie the game at 49-all with 8.8 seconds remaining.

Arab’s Bennett Elrod (2) moves toward the goal as Brewbaker Tech’s A’Mya Bell (3) defends | AHSAA Photo | David Holtsford

“We fought all the way through,” Thompson said.

The Rams built a 15-7 lead after the first quarter, but Kitchens said Ferguson suggested switching to a man-to-man defense during the first-quarter break.

“We did, and it worked,” he said. “I am so proud of my girls. They don’t know the word ‘quit.’ I don’t think it’s in their vocabulary.”

The final semifinal game in Class 5A is later today at the BJCC, with the Class 7A semifinals set for Thursday. 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 at Legacy Arena.

All semifinal and championship games this week will also be live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform and shown live over the AHSAA TV Network. For the first time in the state tournament’s long history all championship games will also be shown live over the Alabama Public Television (APT) Network March 2-4. 

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

Hazel Green (35-1) 49, McGill-Toolen Catholic (29-6) 22
Huffman (27-4) 56, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (27-6) 50
Boys’ Semifinals
Buckhorn (28-7) 65, McGill-Toolen Catholic (28-7) 57
Mountain Brook (26-7) 54, Paul Bryant (22-13) 52

Girls’ Semifinals
Pleasant Grove (27-6) 68, Charles Henderson (18-10) 38
Arab (22-12) 52, Brewbaker Tech (22-10) 49
Boys’ Semifinals

Charles Henderson (25-5) 61, Ramsay (26-7) 60
Valley (31-0) vs. Scottsboro (24-8), 7:30 p.m.

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

Marion County (21-13) 68, Elba ( (25-7) 61
Spring Garden (35-1) 62, Loachapoka (25-11) 34
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


CLASS 1A Girls’ Finals
Marion County (21-13) vs. Spring Garden (35-1), 4 p.m.
CLASS 1A Boys’ Finals

Covenant Christian (30-3) vs. Oakwood Adventist Academy (27-8), 5:45 p.m.

CLASS 2A Girls’ Finals

Mars Hill Bible (25-5) vs. Cold Springs (31-2),
CLASS 2A Boys’ Finals
St. Luke’s Episcopal (16-11) vs. Aliceville (24-1), 10:45 a.m.
CLASS 3A Girls’ Finals

Clements (28-6) vs. Trinity Presbyterian (31-2), 12:30 p.m.
CLASS Boys’ Finals
Midfield (25-5)
 vs. Plainview (30-5), 2:15 p.m.
CLASS 3A Girls’ Finals

Priceville (23-9) vs. Prattville Christian (33-3), 4 p.m.
CLASS 3A Boys’ Finals

Westminster Christian (29-3) vs. Jacksonville (28-6), 5:45 p.m.

CLASS 5A Girls’ Finals

Pleasant Grove (27-6) vs. Arab (22-12), 9 a.m.
CLASS 5A Boys’ Finals

Charles Henderson (25-5) vs. Valley (31-0)-Scottsboro (24-8) winner, 10:45 p.m.
CLASS 6A Girls’ Finals

Hazel Green (35-1) vs. Huffman (27-4), 12:30 p.m.
CLASS 6A Boys’ Finals
Buckhorn (28-7) vs. Mountain Brook (26-7), 2:15 p.m.
CLASS 7A Girls’ Finals

TBA, 4 p.m.
CLASS 7AA Boys’ Finals

TBA, 5:45 p.m.