Class 5A Jasper holds off Scottsboro to capture first State Girls’ Basketball Championship

Birmingham, AL – The Jasper Lady Vikings earned their first AHSAA state basketball championship in a nail-biting 48-44 victory over Scottsboro Saturday morning. The Class 5A title game, hosted at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena, saw pivotal fourth-quarter plays that clinched the Blue Map for the Vikings.

The game’s turning point came when Mia Hollingsworth, later named Tournament MVP, completed a crucial three-point play for Jasper, establishing a lead that Scottsboro couldn’t overcome. Sophomore sensation Missy Odom secured the win by sinking two free throws with just 14.1 seconds left on the clock.

Odom, embodying the spirit of the team, said, “Bringing a championship back to Jasper means everything.” With seconds ticking down, Jasper’s lead was a slim two points until Idaysia Mercer widened the gap slightly with a free throw. Scottsboro’s Bree Sexton attempted a last-gasp three-pointer that tantalizingly circled the rim before Odom claimed the rebound and the subsequent decisive free throws.

Scottsboro coach Brandon Childers, leading his team to their first-ever state title game, acknowledged the suspense of the final moments, saying, “Bree had a really good look. It bounced around and made us watch. Good decision there by the girls.”

The second half was a back-and-forth tussle with multiple lead changes. Hollingsworth and Scottsboro’s Caroline Dawson exchanged baskets before Hollingsworth’s pivotal three-point play emerged as the game-changer. “I think that kind of sealed the deal in my mind,” Hollingsworth reflected after the game.

David Holtsford | AHSAA

Jasper’s strategy in the closing stages involved controlling possession, a move that Jasper head coach Blake Laney described as simply putting the ball in the hands of his best free-throw shooters. Hollingsworth, Mercer, and Odom—who boasted about 75% accuracy from the charity stripe this season—kept Jasper in the driver’s seat as they efficiently closed out the game.

Hollingsworth and Odom each tallied 16 points and significantly contributed in rebounds and defensive stats, while Hallie Harrell added 12 points and seven rebounds to Jasper’s winning effort. For Scottsboro, Sexton’s 19 points and Dawson’s 15 were standout performances in their valiant effort.

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

Reflecting on the season’s climax, Childers praised his team’s determination, “It’s tough to lose any time, but I’m really proud of how we fought and battled. We had a shot to take the lead with about 10 seconds to go… I’m really proud of how we competed today.”

The Class 5A Girls’ All-Tourney Team included remarkable talents such as Hollingsworth (MVP), Odom, and Mercer from Jasper, alongside Sexton, Dawson, and Isabelle Nelson from Scottsboro. 

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