AHSAA Class 7A Girls Basketball Championship
Reniya Kelly Leads Hoover to 3-peat with Win over Sparkman in 7A Finals
By Josh Bean | AHSAA
Birmingham, AL – Hoover High School’s Lady Bucs did it again.
The Bucs (34-1), coached by Krystle Johnson, captured their third straight state title with Saturday’s 55-44 victory over Sparkman in the Class 7A championship game at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.
“We’ve never had a three-peat in school history, so this is big,” Johnson said. “That’s always the mission, always the standard at Hoover – to win state.”
Hoover also won its fourth state championship in the last five seasons and fifth in the last seven years.
Reniya Kelly, a senior who led Hoover with 25 points and six rebounds, has won four state championships. She was named tournament MVP.
“I’m on cloud-nine,” Kelly said. “This is my last ride.”
Hoover took control with a 9-0 run in the first quarter to build a double-digit lead before taking a 20-point lead, at 35-15, into halftime. The lead grew to 22 in the third quarter before Sparkman finally found its offensive rhythm.
The Senators (26-9), coached by Jarvis Wilson, cut the deficit to eight, at 51-43, with 1:32 to play, but got no closer.
“I’m proud of the fact we just kept fighting,” Sparkman junior Laryn Scott said.
Sparkman advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2018 and played in the title game for the first time since 2014. Sparkman last won a state championship in 2007.
“This program is resurrected,” Wilson said. “We’ll be back and we look forward to being back.”
Senior guard Layla Etchison added 20 points for Hoover and earned a spot on the 7A All-Tournament Team alongside Kelly and Alanah Pooler, who had four points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Nylaa Fuller led Sparkman with 12 points. Kennedy Langham added eight points. Both were named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Foley’s Jestiny Dixon.
“At the end of the day, we won the game,” Johnson said. “That’s all the matters.
The Class 7A boys championship game closes out the 2023 state tourney at Legacy Arena Saturday night.
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
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, MARCH 4
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.
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
THURSDAY, MARCH 2
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