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The Hoover High School boys basketball team beat Vestavia Hills on Saturday night to capture the Class 7A, Area 5 championship.
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The Hoover High School girls basketball team won the Class 7A, Area 5 tournament on Saturday night with its 67-57 victory over Tuscaloosa County.
HOOVER -- A halftime adjustment made all the difference.
The Hoover High School boys basketball team secured a 61-37 victory in Saturday night's Class 7A, Area 5 tournament final by outscoring Vestavia Hills 33-11 in the second half.
The host Bucs led by only two at the half, 28-26, before running away with the title.
"For whatever reason we were slow to cover some of their key guys, and they hurt us the first half," Hoover head coach Charles Burkett said. "But we got it together second half. That was one great defensive effort."
Hoover started the third quarter on a 12-0 run. The Bucs held a 46-32 lead with one frame to play. Ellis Conwell knocked down two of his three 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Tavian Roundtree added another.
Vestavia Hills sputtered as Hoover splashed. The long-range shots the Rebels converted in the first half disappeared.
Vestavia's Mitchell Langley, who finished with a team-high nine points, swished three NBA-range 3-pointers in the second quarter. Every Rebel came up empty from distance in the second half.
"We had some defensive breakdowns, and we corrected them early," Burkett said. "We know who their shooters are. We know what spots they like to get to."
Hoover's Justin Rumph scored eight of his team's first 12 points in the fourth quarter. Up 58-34 with 3:58 remaining, Burkett sent in his reserves.
Saturday's triumph marked the Bucs' third victory this season over Vestavia. Previously, they won 76-69 and 72-50.
Jamari Blackmon paced Hoover with 17 points, 15 of which came in the first half. Rumph (12), Conwell (11) and Marion Humphrey (10) also reached double figures.
Blackmon and Humphrey were recognized after the game as co-MVPs of the area tournament.
"They're one of the top two tandems in this state, hands down," Burkett said. "Jamari is a scorer, and he does so many other things. Marion just does everything."
With the win, the Bucs secured one of the top seeds in the 7A Northwest Regional. They will face Sparkman on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. Tipoff is slated for 10:30 a.m.
Vestavia's win against Thompson in the first round of the area tournament sealed its spot in Hanceville. The Rebels will face Bob Jones Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
"Since day one, we're preparing to play hard as if it's win or go home, so we've been consistently playing the same way," Burkett said. "Nothing's going to change for us."
Lady Bucs prevail
Range wasn't a problem.
The Hoover High School girls basketball team sank nine 3-pointers on Saturday night to down Tuscaloosa County, 67-57, in the 7A, Area 5 tournament final at Hoover.
Joiya Maddox knocked down five of the Lady Bucs' triples and finished with a game-high 21 points. She was named the area tournament MVP after the game.
"Joiya stepped up when she needed to, and she knocked down shots," Hoover head coach Krystle Johnson said. "She was able to make some 3s, and when she didn't shoot a 3, she would go to the basket. Her play was huge tonight."
A third of Maddox's points came during a pivotal 15-0 first-half run that gave Hoover a lead it never relinquished. Multiple turnovers and cold shooting ailed the Lady Bucs early in the contest. They fell behind 14-6 in the first quarter.
The sharpshooting sophomore drilled a 3 from the right corner to jumpstart Hoover's run, which put the team up 21-14 midway through the second quarter. But County countered with a 10-3 stretch of its own. Once the dust settled, Hoover possessed a 32-28 advantage at the half.
Three Lady Bucs' 3-pointers in the third quarter helped create extra breathing room. Maddox sank a 3 from the the top of key, and Kelci Marable connected twice. Hoover led by 11, 51-40, with one quarter to play.
Maddox added eight points in the final frame. Six of those points resulted from a pair of 3s that helped ice the game.
Johnson said her team's ability to fire from long range should help it down the stretch.
"I think it's going to be huge considering most teams feel like we can't shoot," Johnson said. "Most people think if you just guard the paint, you can beat Hoover. I think being able to open up the court like that will open up people like Angela [Grant] and Eboni [Williams] and Jennifer [Andrew] and get them some easier looks."
Miya Kimber scored 12 points and Grant added 10 to join Maddox in double figures. Morgan McShan paced County with 13 points.
Saturday's triumph marked the Lady Bucs' third victory this season over County. Previously, Hoover prevailed 54-41 and 53-43.
"It was a storm. I think we weathered it," Johnson said of the back-and-forth affair. "It's something good for them to see being how young they are, but I mean, we've got a lot of stuff we've got to work on going into regionals."
The win secured the Lady Bucs one of the top seeds in the 7A Northwest Regional. They will play Bob Jones on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Wallace State. Tipoff is slated for 9 a.m.