AHSAA 3A Boys Basketball Championship
Plainview Repeats As State Champs with Hard-fought Victory over Midfield
By Josh Bean | AHSAA
Birmingham, AL – Plainview High School boys’ basketball coach Robi Coker made a critical decision before Friday’s Class 3A state basketball championship game at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
He decided not to rely on his usual full-court pressure defense.
Plainview (31-5) slowed the game against the Patriots, coached by Courtney Jones, and eeked-out a 40-37 victory Bears’ second straight Class 3A state title.
“It was one of them deals where we felt like Shannon Jones was too good a basketball player for us to press and be efficient,” said Coker, referring to Midfield’s playmaking point guard. “I knew if we didn’t press and lost, I’d be the goat – and not the greatest of all time. We felt like it was our best chance to win the game.”
Plainview has now won eight straight games at Legacy Arena, winning state titles in 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023.
Midfield (26-6) fell one win shy of claiming its first state title since 2021.
“We didn’t achieve our goal of being state champs, but best believe we’ll be back,” Courtney Jones said.
Plainview’s Levi Brown hit 3-pointer with 2½ minutes to give the Bears a slim 35-31 lead, and Jonah Williams added two free throws with 22.6 seconds remaining to make it 38-35.
With his team having only two team fouls, Coker called timeout and made another key tactical decision. The Bears began committing fouls – getting whistled for four in about 15 seconds – in an effort to prevent Midfield from attempting a game-tying 3-pointer.
Shannon Jones finally got free for a 3-pointer at the top of the key, but missed. He rebounded it and scored a layup with 1.7 seconds to go to make it 38-37.
Williams then made two free throws with 1.1 seconds left after a quick Midfield foul. The Patriots had one final chance, but Shannon Jones’ 50-foot heave hit the backboard and bounced off the rim at the buzzer. Game officials indicated the shot would not have counted.
“Forty was enough today,” Plainview senior Luke Smith said.
Plainview trailed 20-16 at halftime, and Coker had a simple answer when asked what changed in the second half.
“We threw the ball to Luke Smith,” he said.
Smith, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 12 of his 18 points in the final two quarters, and he found Brown open for his pivotal 3-pointer. Brown, Landon White and Williams added seven points apiece. Smith was named MVP of the Class 3A state tourney.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group’s toughness,” Coker said. “They deserve to be champions.”
Added Smith, “No better feeling. We knew this was the goal all year. We were able to get the job done.”
De’Marreon Baldwin led Midfield with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Shannon Jones had 11 points.
Joining Luke Smith on the 3A All-Tourney team were: Johnathan Finch, Sumter Central; Robert Simpson, Hillcrest-Evergreen; De’Marreon Baldwin and Shannon Jones, Midfield; and Landon White, Plainview.
Championship games in Class 4A 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.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, MARCH 3
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
Trinity Presbyterian (32-2) 52, Clements (28-7) 48
CLASS 3A Boys’ Finals
Plainview (31-5) 50, Midfield (25-6) 37
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.
SATURDAY, MARCH 4
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.