Fairfield Earns Comeback Win Over Defending State Champion Valley in Class 5A Boys Semifinals

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

BIRMINGHAM – Fairfield High School’s Josiah Jones sparked Fairfield’s fourth-quarter comeback with two quick layups – one on a drive and the second after a steal – and the Tigers (28-2) earned a 56-50 victory over defending champ Valley in Wednesday’s Class 5A state semifinals at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.

Valley (23-2), coached by Marshon Harper, led 48-41 on Cam Dooley’s tip-in with 5:31 to go, but the Rams didn’t score again until 27 seconds remained. By then, Fairfield had gone on a 12-0 run, thanks to Jones’ back-to-back layups.

“We kept our composure and just kept playing and kept playing,” Fairfield coach Maurice Ford said. “We turned our defense up a notch in that fourth quarter.”

Fairfield advances to Saturday’s championship game, with tip-off set for 10:45 a.m. Fairfield is trying to win its first state title since 2020.

Josiah Jones led Fairfield with 18 points and three steals, and Milton Jones added 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Jamaria Hamilton and Demarcus Williams scored 10 points apiece.

Dooley, a Kentucky football signee, led Valley with 15 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots, but he didn’t score in the final five minutes. Brandon Thomas added 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

Once Fairfield got the lead, the Tigers, who made just 11 of 22 free throws in the game, went to a four corners offense and essentially played keep-away to run out the clock. The plan worked, as the Tigers finished the game with a 15-2 run making just enough free throws to seal the win.

Valley senior Cam Dooley paces the defending 5A state champion Rams with 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds in the 2024 semifinal setback to Fairfield. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

“We just fell off,” Harper said of his team’s fourth-quarter performance. “We did stuff we don’t normally do. We turned the ball over. The pressure got to us. Hat’s off to Fairfield They did a great job.”

Valley went 56-2 over the last two seasons, winning last year’s state title with a 33-0 record and returning the state tournament this season. “It’s been a great run,” Harper said.

Click here to check out schedules and scores from the 2024 AHSAA State Basketball Finals. 

Play continues Wednesday with Class 5A girls’ and boys’ semifinals. Class 7A plays its semifinal games Thursday.

Championship games will begin Thursday in Class 1A. Finals for Classes 2A, 3A and 4A will be Friday, and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A close out the 2024 state tourney on Saturday.

All semifinal games are being live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform and live on the AHSAA TV Network. All 14 state championship games will be aired live over the Alabama Public Television Network and live streamed over the NFHS Network.

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