Photo by Barry Stephenson, Time Capsule Images.
Austin Cherry prepares to pass the ball. Photo by Barry Stephenson Time Capsule Images.
The Hoover High boys basketball team moved back into the ASWA poll at No. 8 in mid-January as the Bucs finally started to mesh with holdovers and newcomers.
The Bucs (16-6) rolled off five straight wins, starting with their final game in the Steel City Invitational, topping Shelby County 67-38. Tough games lay ahead later in the month, with showdowns with No. 1 Mountain Brook and area rival Tuscaloosa County before a Border Wars game Jan. 31 at home against Christ Presbyterian of Tennessee. Border Wars is a three-game event that will also include Mountain Brook.
Among those five wins was a non-area win over Wenonah. Hoover was able to hold off a late Dragons’ rally to pull out a 69-61. Dylan Smith had 20 points for Hoover. Leonard Wood chipped in 16 points and six rebounds and Austin Cherry added 15 points and six rebounds.
Earlier, Hoover escaped a Thompson comeback to pull out a 63-55 area victory. After leading 20-9 in the first quarter, Thompson took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter. Hoover was led Dylan Smith with 21 points and four assists. Austin Cherry had 16 points and eight boards and Leonard Wood added 12 and five.
Hoover picked off a big area road win, topping then-No. 7 Tuscaloosa County 58-51. Dylan Smith scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half. Austin Cherry added 12 points while Maurice Brown had nine.
Following the Border War game, Hoover closes the regular season on Feb. 2 at Spain Park. Tip is at 7:30.
Area tournaments run Feb. 6-9 with regionals Feb. 16-21. The first seven-class state tournament, christened the State Basketball Finals, will take place Feb. 24-28 at Legacy Arena at the BJCC. Fifty-six boys and girls teams will compete, since four teams from the two new classes are added to the field from the old Final 48 tournament.