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Jacksonville soars to 4A basketball title

Brant Berry | PrepsNet

Class 4A Boys’ State Championship
Jacksonville (28-5) 85, Escambia County (27-5) 49

By Josh  Bean | For the AHSAA

Birmingham, AL– If they can’t score, they can’t win.

Those seven words essentially summed up how Jacksonville won its first state boys’ basketball state championship Friday at the AHSAA 100th State Basketball Championships being held at the BJCC Legacy Arena.

Anchored by 6-foot-9 junior Cade Phillips and three other starters standing 6-4 or taller, the Golden Eagles (28-5) rode their  trapping, full-court pressure to an 85-49 victory over Escambia County (27-5) in the Class 4A finals.

“We felt like we had a mismatch at a lot of positions,” Phillips said.

Jacksonville, directed by first-year head coach Shane Morrow, flirted with setting the record for the largest margin of victory in an AHSAA boys’ championship game. Hayes set the record by beating Anniston 78-37 – a 41-point margin of victory – in the 4A title game in 1974.

The Golden Eagles led by 41 points at 81-40 in the fourth quarter but settled for 36-point victory. John Broom finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, Phillips added 19 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, Caden Johnson scored 15 points, and Devin Barksdale added 11 points and three assists.

The defense shined from the opening tip, as the Golden Eagles cut off the passing lanes and preventing Escambia County’s guards from getting the ball consistently to 6-foot-7 sophomore Stephen Williams and his brother, 6- -8 senior Sheldon William.

The Blue Devils (27-5) scored just 13 points in the first half, committed 19 turnovers and made just 1-of-10 from 3-point range for the game.

“All their guards are 6-3, 6-4, 6-5,” Escambia County first-year head coach Layton Knight said. “That was very effective, and they deflected a lot of passes and kept us from feeding the ball to Sheldon.”

Jacksonville took home its first Blue Map in boys basketball after finishing as runner-up twice, falling to Abbeville in the 4A final in 1996 and losing to Scottsboro in 1934.

“This was our day today,” Morrow said, “and I’m proud of them. They played lights-out.”

The 100th AHSAA State Finals concludes at the Legacy Arena Saturday with title games in Classes 5A, 6A and 7A. The 5A Girls’ championship game featuring Guntersville (29-5) vs. Lee-Huntsville (26-6) tips off at 9 a.m., followed by Ramsay (25-9) and defending state champion Lee-Huntsville (25-6) at 10:45 a.m. 6AA finals are at 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., with Class 7A closing out the 2022 state tourney with finals at 4 and 5:45.

CLASS 4A BOYS’ STATE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Cade Phillips, Jacksonville (MVP); Joe Aldridge, Haleyville; Sheldon Williams, Escambia County; Caden Johnson and John Broom, Jacksonville. 

Classes 5A, 6A and 7A will play title games Saturday starting with the Class 5A girls’ state championship game featuring at 9 a.m.

AHSAA 2022 State Basketball Championships
Birmingham Legacy Arena, Feb. 28-March 5

FRIDAY, MARCH 4 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
CLASS 2A

2A GIRLS’ FINALS
Pisgah (33-3) 74, St. Luke’s Episcopal (21-9) 54
2A BOYS’ FINALS
Section (28-9) 77, Mars Hill Bible (15-16) 61

CLASS 3A
3A GIRLS’ FINALS

Prattville Christian (36-1) 72, Susan Moore (30-5) 69 (OT)
3A BOYS’ FINALS

Plainview (31-6) 77, Winfield (31-6) 60

CLASS 4A
4A GIRLS’ FINALS
Deshler (34-1) 74, Saint James (25-7) 42
4A BOYS’ FINALS
Jacksonville (28-5) 85, Escambia County (27-5) 49

SATURDAY, MARCH 5 SCHEDULE
CLASS 5A
5A GIRLS’ FINALS
Guntersville (29-5) vs. Lee-Huntsville (26-6), March 5, 9 a.m.
5A BOYS’ FINALS
Ramsay (25-9) vs. Lee-Huntsville (25-6), March 5, 10:45 a.m.

CLASS 6A
6A GIRLS’ FINALS
Oxford (27-4) vs. Hazel Green (34-0), March 5, 12:30 p.m.
6A BOYS’ FINALS
Huffman (29-5) vs. Cullman (28-3), March 5, 2:15 p.m.

CLASS 7A
7A GIRLS’ FINALS
Vestavia Hills (33-2) vs. Hoover (31-3), Mar. 5, 4 p.m.
7A BOYS’ FINALS
Enterprise (24-6) vs. James Clemens ((21-9), Mar. 5, 5:45 p.m.

THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
CLASS 1A

1A GIRLS’ FINALS
Marion County (29-7) 72, Skyline (28-9) 55
1A BOYS’ FINALS

Covenant Christian (29-6) 49, Decatur Heritage (21-8) 37