SHANNON FAGAN: County softball, baseball tournaments set for March 23-25
The spring sports season is now in full swing, meaning the Cherokee County baseball and softball tournaments are fast approaching.
Sand Rock will be the host to both events this year, scheduled for March 23-25. Admission is $5 per day.
The softball tournament begins with Gaylesville taking on two-time defending county champion Spring Garden at 4:30 p.m. on March 23, followed by Cedar Bluff and Sand Rock at 6 p.m.
The winner of the Gaylesville-Spring Garden game advances to face Cherokee County on March 24 at 4 p.m. The winner of that game takes on the winner of Cedar Bluff-Sand Rock on March 24 at 7 p.m. The tournament championship is scheduled for March 25 at 2 p.m. An if-necessary game will be played at 4 p.m.
The county baseball tournament begins on March 24. Spring Garden battles two-time defending county champion Cherokee County at 7 p.m. The action picks back up on March 25 at noon with Sand Rock taking on Gaylesville at noon. Cedar Bluff takes on the winner of the Spring Garden-Cherokee County game at 2 p.m. on March 25. The county championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. that evening.
Former Sand Rock football coach Russell Jacoway will be formally inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame on March 20 at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa at 6:30 p.m. He is one of 12 new members joining the hall of fame in the Class of 2017.
Joining Jacoway in this year’s class is fellow football coaches Peter Braasch (Vestavia Hills), Wayne Grant (Pike County), Danny Horn (Clay County and Benjamin Russell) and Dwight Sanderson (Notasulga).
Basketball coaches include Wayne Bowling (Danville), Richard Carter (Bullock County, Valley and Lanett) and Bob Harpe (Austin and Arab).
Volleyball and softball coach Rebecca Lee (East Lawrence and Hatton), softball coach Tony Scarbrough (Baker), tennis coach David Bethea (Montgomery Academy) and coach/administrator Lorenzo Jackson (Decatur and Austin) round out the Class of 2017.
Jackson, now deceased, was selected in the “old-timer” division.
Jacoway coached at Sand Rock for 32 seasons. His first team in 1983 went 0-10, but he built from that squad a Class 1A state champion that went 15-0 in just his third season in 1985. That season was capped off with a 14-6 victory over Repton.
In his career, Jacoway’s teams claimed 12 area/region championships with 25 playoff appearances. On Oct. 29, 2009, he earned his 200th victory with a 30-0 thumping of Spring Garden.
Jacoway was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and retired from coaching on February 12, 2015 with a record of 228-132.
The Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association recently selected the boys and girls basketball teams to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball games on Friday. The games will be played at Dunn-Oliver Acadome on the campus at Alabama State University.
Headlining the boys’ squad are eight players who competed in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state basketball tournament. Among them are 6-foot-7 guard/forward Herbert Jones of Class 4A state champion Hale County, 6-4 guard Shy’im Cunningham of 3A state champ Midfield, guards D.J. Heath and Kevion Nolan of 1A state champ Sacred Heart Catholic. Jones has already signed with Alabama.
Others on the squad who have already signed Division I scholarships are 6-10 center Garrison Brooks of Auburn High School (Mississippi State), 6-5 Fairhope guard Tevia Brown (Murray State) and 6-9 Pelham forward Alex Reese (Alabama) and 6-4 Spain Park guard Jamal Johnson (Memphis University). Brooks led Auburn to the 7A state finals.
Other all-stars include 6-7 guard/forward Javan Johnson of Austin, 6-4 Midfield guard Shy’im Cunningham, 6-6 forward DeAndre Robinson of Monroe County and 6-7 forward Myles Parker of Madison Academy. Rounding out the team is guard Malik Burnett of Lee-Huntsville.
The Alabama girls’ roster features four players that participated in the AHSAA state tournament and three who have already signed to Division 1 schools, including 5-11 Brewbaker Tech guard Bianca Jackson and 5-10 Gadsden City guard Haley Troup. Both have signed with South Carolina.
Unique Thompson of Faith Academy, a 6-3 forward, has also signed with Auburn.
Other girls’ all-stars include Deshler guard Nicole Shirley, Tanner forward Kirsten Brown, Wenonah forward Alexus Dye and point guard Jayla Morrow. Dye and Morrow helped the Lady Dragons win four state titles and Shirley helped Deshler win 68 straight games with the streak being broken in this year’s Class 4A finals.
The girls’ game will tip off at 5 p.m., followed by the boys’ game at 7 p.m. Both games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network and will be broadcast over the AHSAA Radio Network.