Final ASWA boys rankings features 4 teams

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

The final week of the regular season snuck up on us like it does with every sport and with it came the final ASWA basketball polls of the season. It has definitely been a strong season for Shelby County basketball teams as the rankings have featured four or more teams pretty much the entire season.

In the last boys’ poll of the year, it was no different as seven teams were featured in the rankings and four were in their classes respective top 10.

As has been the norm this year, Class 6A Area 8 has been the strongest division of basketball in the county and the state and in the final rankings that stayed the same. Pelham (18-8, 4-0) finished the season as the No. 1 team in 6A. The Panthers hit a skid midway through the season, but bounced back to be the No. 1 team for the past three weeks of the season after winning seven consecutive games and a regular season area championship.

Helena (22-6, 2-2) is one of two 20-win teams in the county right now and finished the season just behind Pelham at the No. 3 spot in 6A. They have had the best season in the school’s young history and two of their losses are by a combined eight points to the No. 1 Panthers.

Chelsea (19-10, 0-4) narrowly fell out of the final rankings after coming in at No. 10 the previous week. The Hornets got the wrong end of area play losing to both Pelham and Helena twice, but as their overall record suggests, they are a team to fear. They will face off against the Huskies in the first round of the Area 8 tournament with both teams season on the line. Chelsea is currently on the winning end of four consecutive games and are getting hot at the right time.

After a slow start to the season, the Calera Eagles (18-10, 5-1) finally got it going during the middle of December. They came in at No. 9 in the final 5A rankings and have proven they can compete in that division. That being said, the Eagles have hit a recent slump and will need to right the ship heading into their area tournament at Dallas County.

Perhaps the most consistent team this entire season has been the Montevallo Bulldogs who came in at No. 3 in Class 3A. The Bulldogs (20-4, 6-0) not only finished area play perfect and will host their area tournament, but they are the second of two 20-win teams in the county. Behind players like Da’Shaunte Smith, TreShawn Brown, Tavarus Hall and others all proving they can get double-digit points and rebounds, this team can make a push at a state title.

Spain Park (11-13, 4-2) and Vincent (19-10, 4-0) have also been in and out of the rankings all season long, but failed to get inside the last top 10. They did however both receive nomination spots heading into their area tournaments.

The Jags struggled the entire first half of the season with the toughest schedule in the state, but got hot in January upsetting No. 3 Huffman and No. 1 Mountain Brook at one point.

Vincent finished the season winning seven of nine and went 4-0 in area play. Head coach John Hadder has this team believing and they could make a run in the playoffs.