Buckhorn wins first state title since 1995

AHSAA Class 6A Boys Basketball Championship

Freshman Caleb Holt Leads Buckhorn to First State Championship Since 1995

By Josh Bean | AHSAA

Birmingham, AL – Buckhorn coach Patrick Harding said his team “peaked at the right time.” So did 6-foot-5 freshman Caleb Holt.

Holt tallied 32 points, 18 rebounds and four assists to lead the Bucks (28-7) to a 65-56 victory over Mountain Brook (26-8) in Saturday’s AHSAA State Basketball Class 6A championship game at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. He earned MVP honors and Buckhorn captured its first state title since 1995.

“He’s a generational talent,” Mountain Brook coach Tyler Davis said as he took his first look at the post-game stat sheet. “What do you want me to say? That’s a Lebron James, Michael Jordan performance.”

Holt scored Buckhorn’s first nine points of the third quarter and made 12-of-18 shots and 5-of-9 free throws. When he missed a dunk late in the fourth quarter, he corralled the loose ball and immediately scored a layup.

Holt’s 32-point performance came just three days after he scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the state semifinal victory over McGill-Toolen.

How did Holt evaluate his own performance? “I think I played pretty good,” he said. “I missed a lot of free throws. I’ve got to get back in the gym and practice free throws.”

Buckhorn’s Caleb Holt (3) goes high for two of his game-high 32 points to earn 6A State Tourney MVP as the Bucks won 65-57. (David Holtsford | AHSAA)

Terrence Robinson added 10 points for Buckhorn, and Kyler Douglass hit four key free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with six points and three assists.

Ty Davis led Mountain Brook with 18 points, while Kyle Layton came off the bench to score 15 points, making 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Julius Clark added 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Buckhorn won its first state championship since 1995 – in Harding’s first season after coaching 24 years at Albertville.

“At Christmas, we weren’t very good. I’m not even sure we liked each other,” Harding said. “I’m a notoriously slow learner. It took me a while to figure out our roster and our rotation. … Our kids played lights-out (in the final).”

Robinson, Ty Davis and Clark joined Holt on the All-Tournament, along with McGill’s Bennett Russ and Paul W. Bryant’s Adrian Wooley.

Mountain Brook guard Ty Davis dribbles up court as Caleb Holt of Buckhorn guards him. Davis led the Spartans with 18 points. (David Holtsford | AHSAA)

Championship games in Classes 7A continue Saturday and close out the 2023 state tourney at Legacy Arena. 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 games are available to NFHS Network subscribers through their On Demand link.  The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting all games over its network.

AHSAA 2023 State Basketball Championships
BJCC Legacy Arena

CLASS 5A Girls’ Finals

Pleasant Grove (29-6) 53, Arab (22-13) 36
CLASS 5A Boys’ Finals

Valley (33-0) 54, Charles Henderson (25-6) 50
CLASS 6A Girls’ Finals

Hazel Green (35-1) vs. Huffman (27-4), 12:30 p.m.
CLASS 6A Boys’ Finals
Buckhorn (29-7) 65, Mountain Brook (26-7), 56
CLASS 7A Girls’ Finals

Hoover (35-1) 55, Sparkman (26-9) 44
CLASS 7A Boys’ Finals
Hoover (30-4) vs. Central-Phenix City (24-9), 5:45 p.m.

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

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