AHSAA Class 4A Boys Basketball Championship
Jacksonville Earns 2nd Straight 4A state title with 51-37 win over Westminster Christian
By Josh Bean | AHSAA
Birmingham, AL – New coach, but same result for the Jacksonville Golden Eagles.
Jacksonville (29-6), led by first-year coach Tres Buzan, won a second straight state championship Friday night at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena with a 51-37 victory over Westminster Christian.
“Back-to-back for them, first time for me,” Buzan said. “I’m just blessed and lucky to have great players. Great players make great coaches, not the other way around.”
The Golden Eagles’ win closed out Friday’s championship day where state champions were crowned for girls and boys in Class 2A, 3A, and 4A. The 2203 AHSAA State Basketball Championships close out Saturday for Classes 5A, 6A, and 7A. The 5A girls’ finals tip off the final day of the state tourney at 9 a.m.
Jacksonville senior John Broom took home the tournament MVP award after finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and three steals. He also provided the exclamation point with a riveting dunk at the buzzer.
Broom also embraced the role of primary defender against Westminster’s leading scorer Chase McCarty, helping limit the 6-foot-6 junior to 5-of-14 shooting.
“I wanted to guard Chase,” said Broom, who signed with South Alabama. “D-1 on D-1 is what everyone wanted to see. I wanted to give the crowd what they wanted to see.”
The game, which drew a very large crowd to the Legacy Arena, was a low-scoring, defensive slugfest from the opening whistle. Jacksonville bult a 32-27 lead after three quarters. The Golden Eagles pulled away by making 13-of-14 free throws in fourth quarter.
Westminster (29-4), which was trying to win its first state title since 2016, made just 14-of-41 shots and 1-of-12 from 3-point range.
“When you get to the final two, you’re doing something right,” Westminster coach Ronnie Stapler said. “We’re not going to hang our head. It’ll hurt for a little while, but they’ll get back and realize what a great year they had.”
While Buzan was coaching his first season at Jacksonville, Stapler, a member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, has been coaching for more than 50 years.
Jacksonville’s Cade Johnson added 13 points and four rebounds, Devin Barksdale added 12 points.
McCarty led the Wildcats with 14 points, and Kaden Rickard added nine points and seven rebounds. Jackson Hammond had seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Broom headlined the Class 4A All State Tournament Team. Joining him were teammates Barksdale and Johnson, and Westminster’s McCarty, Hammond, and Rickard.
For the first time in the state tournament’s long history, all championship games are being televised 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.
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
Prattville Christian (34-3) 76, Priceville (23-10) 59
CLASS 4A Boys’ Finals
Jacksonville (29-6) 51, Westminster Christian (29-4) 37
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.