Covenant Christian claims back-to-back 1A hoops title

AHSAA Class 1A Boys Basketball Championship

Birmingham, AL – Trey Kellogg sank three key free throws in the final 14 seconds Thursday night to lift defending Class 1A state champion Covenant Christian to a 50-46 win over Oakwood Adventist Academy at the BJCC Legacy Arena.

The 6-foot-4 junior’s clutch shooting helped Covenant Christian hold off a strong challenge by the Mustangs. Coach Brett Waldrep’s Eagles (31-3) jumped out to a 20-6 lead early. It didn’t surprise Waldrep when Oakwood (27-9) battled back to trail 29-24 at the half.

Covenant’s Jalen Chandler, who earned MVP honors for the Class 1A state tourney, fouled out with 3:13 remaining with his team leading 44-37.

Oakwood, coached by Melvin Allen, turned up the pressure defensively in the next three minutes with Micah Andrews sinking a 3-pointer with 41 seconds  remaining and Jayden Nesbitt going inside for a bucket with 20 seconds left to cut the Eagle’s lead to 47-46.

Covenant Christian’s Kellogg made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining and another one with under a second left to seal the back-to-back championship win.

“I don’t even know what to say. It is really settling in,” said Waldrep. “We knew it was going to be a really tough game, but it was a great game. We got into some foul trouble, so we had to pull together and rebound well.  This team has been so good at killing games off each year. Every time we get a lead, they make it really hard for our opponents to come back.”

Chandler led Covenant Christian with 16 points and seven rebounds to headline the Class 1A All-Tourney Team as MVP. Kellogg had 13 points, five rebounds and was 7-of-9 at the charity stripe. Andrew Brackin scored 10 points, had four assists and four steals and made a key free throw late in the contest. The Eagles were 16-of-24 at the foul line for the game.

Oakwood, who was playing in its first state final, was led by Nesbitt with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Jonathan Walden also had seven points and four assists.

Trey Kellogg (14) scores inside in the Class 1A championship game as Oakwood’s Jonathan Walden defends. (AHSAA | David Holtsford)

Allen said his Mustangs were honored to be one of the last teams in Class 1A still standing at the end of the season.

“We are just so honored to have been able to participate at this stage at this level,” said. “It’s an honor to be a part of the AHSAA. A tough loss but credit to the other team. We came up a little short today.”

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.

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

Girls’ Semifinals

Hoover (34-1) 87, Prattville (23-5) 39
Sparkman (26-8) 53, Foley (24-5) 33
Boys’ Semifinals
Hoover (30-4) 53, Dothan (26-5) 41
Central-Phenix City (24-9) 61, Spain Park (25-7) 58

CLASS 1A Girls’ Finals
Spring Garden (36-1) 62, Marion County (21-14) 39
CLASS 1A Boys’ Finals

Covenant Christian (31-3) 50, Oakwood Adventist Academy (27-9) 46

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) 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.