Hoover’s Dewayne Brown leads Bucs past Central-Phenix City in AHSAA Class 7A Boys Semifinals

Bucs keep dream of repeating as state champ alive

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

BIRMINGHAM – Hoover High School junior center Dewayne Brown scored 28 points and the Bucs (29-3) used a late 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 57-49 victory over Central-Phenix City in Thursday’s State Basketball Championships Class 7A semifinals at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.

In a rematch of the 2023 Class 7A state finals, Central (27-7) built a seven-point lead in the second quarter lead by five at halftime. Hoover (29-3) then limited the Red Devils to only five points in the third quarter and took control with the late 9-0 spurt.

“At halftime, we talked about how we missed a lot of bunnies in the first half,” Hoover coach Scott Ware said. “We had to be tougher. I thought Central was the tougher team in the first half, and I think we were the tougher team in the second half.”

Hoover, the defending Class 7A champion, advances to play in Saturday’s championship game. Tip-off is set for 5:45 p.m.

Salim London added 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists for Hoover, and his breakaway dunk with 1:03 to play essentially sealed the victory.

The game was tied at 45-all midway through the fourth quarter, but London rebounded his own miss and put the Bucs ahead for good with his putback with 4:42 to go. Seneca Robinson then added back-to-back buckets, and Austin Dudley’s three-point play pushed the lead to 54-45 with 3:38 to go.

“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Central coach Charles Burkett said. “Overall, we played well, but we made a few critical mistakes down the stretch that would have given us a better chance to win. … Defensively, we played well enough to win the game. Offensively, we didn’t.”

Central-Phenix City guard Jacoby Hill drives inside for a basket in the Class 7A semifinals. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

Jacoby Hill led the Red Devils with 15 points six rebounds and five assists, and Dezmond Williams had 12 points and two assists.

Brown, a 6-foot-9 junior, finished 10-for-16 from the field, made both of his 3-point attempts and grabbed eight rebounds for the Bucs. Robinson finished with seven points, four assists, three rebounds and four steals.

The Hoover girls’ basketball team also won its state semifinal on Saturday, giving the Bucs an opportunity to sweep the 7A basketball titles for the second straight season.

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

Play continues Thursday with Class 7A semifinal games for boys and girls, and championship games 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.

The 7A  semifinal games are being broadcast live over the Alabama Public Television Network and live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform. All 14 state championship games will also be aired live over APT and live streamed over the NFHS Network.

Cover Photo: Hoover junior Dewayne Brown seals Bucs’ 7A state basketball tournament semifinal win this resounding dunk at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

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