Mars Hill Bible School Clinches Their First Boys’ Basketball State Title

Birmingham, AL – The Mars Hill Bible School Panthers clinched their first-ever boys’ basketball state championship with an impressive victory over the Highland Home Flying Squadron in the AHSAA Class 2A title game. The Panthers, led by coach Jeremy Pounders and showcasing a formidable defensive performance, triumphed with a final score of 56-42 in Birmingham’s Legacy Arena.

Coach Pounders expressed his pride in the team’s accomplishments, stating, “I’m excited to see their hard work pay off and bring home the Blue Map for the boys, which has never been done.” Mars Hill had previously been in contention for the title, placing as runner-up in 2022 and reaching the state semifinals in the previous year.

The defending 2A state champion Mars Hill girls fell to the Ider Lady Hornets 64-58 earlier on Thursday morning. 

Their momentous win also marked a historical milestone for the school, adding to their extensive collection of girls’ basketball championships, yet representing the first in boys’ basketball.

The contest began with Mars Hill asserting their dominance early by shutting out Highland Home in the first quarter, leaping to a 16-0 lead that set the tone for the rest of the game. Highland Home struggled to find their rhythm, with Brice McKenzie breaking the drought with a 3-pointer well into the second quarter.

Taylor Caudle (5) moves in for a lay-up as Highland Home’s Jakala Faulk (15) defends.
(AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

Carson Thrasher emerged as a pivotal force for the Panthers. His impeccable shooting from beyond the arc led him to score 16 points, contributing significantly to the victory and earning Class 2A state tournament MVP honors. J.O. Owens, Eli Pounders, and Sam Sweatt also put commendable numbers on the scoreboard, rounding out a balanced attack that overwhelmed Highland Home.

Highland Home’s effort, significant in its own right, was led by Auburn University football commit Jakaleb Faulk who tallied 16 points along with his contributions on defense. Coach Chase Lewis of Highland Home reflected on their loss saying, “It wasn’t our day today. That hot start hurt us a little bit.”

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

This historic triumph for Mars Hill Bible School was complemented by all-tourney team honors awarded to several of their players, including MVP Carson Thrasher, Cannon Pigg, and Eli Pounders; Highland Home’s notable players Brice McKenzie and Jakaleb Faulk were also recognized for their skillful plays during the tournament.

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