Aliceville claims first AHSAA basketball title

AHSAA Class 2A Boys Basketball Championship

Aliceville Sinks Free Throw with 3.4 Seconds Remaining to Claim its First State Title

By Josh Bean | AHSAA

Birmingham, AL – Aliceville dominated the rebounding battle against St. Luke’s Episcopal in Friday’s Class 2A boys basketball championship game at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.

So, it seemed only natural for the Yellow Jackets to deliver the game-winning free throw after an offensive rebound.

Tyquan Simon’s jumper rimmed out with less than 10 seconds to go, and teammate Tyjarian Williams grabbed the rebound and drew a foul on his putback attempt. Williams missed his first free throw and made the second with 3.4 seconds remaining to lift Aliceville (25-1) to a 44-43 victory.

“The competitiveness in him helped him make that free throw,” Aliceville coach Christopher Walker said.

Added Williams, “I’ve been struggling with free throws all year, and I’ve been practicing them (extra).”

Aliceville won its first boys’ basketball championship in school history.

Aliceville’s Jatavius Colvin (3) scores two of his team-high 18 points to grab MVP honors in the 44-43 Class 2A Boys’ state finals victory. (David Holtsford | AHSAA)

The Yellow Jackets out rebounded the Wildcats 41-28, including an incredible 20-2 edge in offensive rebounds.

“We’re fighters,” Walker said. “As one of our assistants jokes, we’re going to go in and make it a bar fight. We’re not going down easy.”

St. Luke’s (16-12), coached by Gareth Trawick, trailed by double digits in the first half but rallied to take the lead in the second half. Aliceville regained the lead for good on Tre’Shawn Matthews’ 3-pointer with 4:13 to play, but St. Luke’s junior JT Busby tied it at 43-all when he made two free throws with 24.9 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Aliceville showed some offensive patience and got the ball to Simon, whose bucket had just given the Yellow Jackets a 43-41 lead. He missed a short jumper, but Williams rebounded it and made the game-winning free throw.

“We got one,” Walker said, referring to the school’s first state title. “We’re grateful for the opportunity. I’ve said all year I’ll take us against anyone in 2A.”

St. Luke’s called timeout with 3.1 seconds remaining to set up a final play. Needing to go the length of the floor, the Wildcats threw a long pass, but never got a shot off before the final buzzer.

Jatavius Colvin scored 18 points for Aliceville and was named tournament MVP. Simon added nine points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

Brandon Cooks led St. Luke’s with 20 points, and Mike Myles added seven points and 10 rebounds.

St. Luke’s has now advanced to the state semifinals four times since 2016, falling in the championship game all four times.

This season, St. Luke’s started the season with eight straight losses, but rallied to advance to the Class 2A championship game by winning 16 of its last 20 games.

St. Luke’s guard Brandon Cooks (3) moves around Aliceville defender Tony Stewart (2) in the 2A finals. He led the Wildcats with 20 points. (AHSAA | David Holtsford)

“We had our chances,” Trawick said. “I’m proud of the guys and the grit and the toughness they showed.”

Joining Cooks on the Class 2A All-Tournament Team were: Hugh Hargett, Mars Hill Bible; Jacob St. Clair, Sand Rock; Mike Myles, St. Luke’s Episcopal; Tyquan Simon, Aliceville; MVP – Jatavius Colvin, Aliceville.

Championships games in Classes 3A and 4A finals continue Friday, and the Class 5A, 6A and 7A championship games close out the 2023 state tourney Saturday at Legacy Arena.

For the first time in the state tournament’s long history, all championship games will be televised live over the Alabama Public Television (APT) Network March 2-4.  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

CLASS 2A Girls’ Finals

Mars Hill Bible (26-5) 69, Cold Springs (31-3) 47
CLASS 2A Boys’ Finals
Aliceville (25-1) 44, St. Luke’s Episcopal (16-12) 43
CLASS 3A Girls’ Finals

Clements (28-6) vs. Trinity Presbyterian (31-2), 12:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A Boys’ Finals
Midfield (25-5) vs. Plainview (30-5), 2:15 p.m.
CLASS 4A Girls’ Finals

Priceville (23-9) vs. Prattville Christian (33-3), 4 p.m.
CLASS 4A 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) winner, 9 a.m.
CLASS 5A Boys’ Finals

Charles Henderson (25-5) vs. Valley (32-0), 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

Hoover (34-1) vs. Sparkman (26-8), 4 p.m.
CLASS 7A Boys’ Finals

Hoover (30-4) vs. Central-Phenix City (24-9), 5:45 p.m.