Vincent leads pack of 5 ranked teams from county

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Coming off an Elite-Eight season, the Vincent Yellow Jackets entered the 2019-20 basketball season hungry for more. One heartbreaking game away from advancing to the Final Four, the Yellow Jackets returned four starters to this year’s roster ready to make some noise, and so far, they have.

Off to a 7-1 start to the season, Vincent earned one of its best rankings in school history on Wednesday, Dec. 12, when the Yellow Jackets came in as the No. 2 ranked team in the first Class 2A basketball poll of the year.

So far, they have beaten Childersburg, TC Central (twice), Winterboro (twice), Ashville and Shelby County, while their only loss has been to Ragland by one point (71-70).

A big reason for that success has been the trio of Malik Hamilton, Jackson McGinnis and Ryshod Keith. Those three players are averaging double figures with Keith posting 16.1 points per game to lead the way, while Hamilton is averaging 15.6 points per game and McGinnis 13.6.

Hamilton is leading the team in rebounding with nine per game, but he’s one of four players averaging at least 4.3 rebounds per game. Keith is averaging six per game, Tae McGregor 5.1 per game and McGinnis 4.3 per game.

Keith is also leading the team with 4.9 assists per game so far this season, while six players are averaging at least one steal per game. McGregor and K.J. Youngblood have also been big this season in multiple facets of the game, while several others help round out what is shaping up to be another strong playoff team early in the season.

In addition to the Yellow Jackets, Thompson’s boys were ranked seventh in Class 7A, while Briarwood came in as the No. 8 team in Class 5A.

The Warriors got off to a 0-2 start to the season with a four-point loss to Class 5A No. 1 Woodlawn and an 81-68 loss to Class 7A No. 1 Mountain Brook.

Thompson followed that up with 10 straight wins to improve to 10-2 on the season, before dropping a road game to Spain Park by a final score of 63-46 on Dec. 10 to snap that winning streak.

Briarwood remains the only unbeaten boys or girls team in Shelby County with a current record of 8-0. The Lions have beaten Trinity Presbyterian, Moody, Winfield, Tharptown, Locust Fork, Benjamin Russell and Altamont (twice) so far this season.

The schedule will get tougher moving forward for the Lions ahead of Christmas. Then, at the start of the new year, they’ll be set to compete in an area with No. 1 Woodlawn and No. 6 Ramsay.

In the girls’ rankings, Spain Park was the big highlight, coming in as the third best team in the 7A classification.

The Jaguars are replacing a good chunk of talent for the second year in a row. While Sarah Ashlee Barker returns as one of the best players in the state, she’s surrounded by a lot of young talent, which has led to some growing pains at time.

Right now, having faced a difficult schedule, Spain Park is 10-2 overall with losses to Class 5A No. 5 Madison Academy by four points and Class 7A No. 1 Hoover by 24 points.

The Jags redeemed that loss to Madison Academy with a recent 60-56 victory, but the loss against Hoover is one they can take some lessons away from to learn what it will take to be a championship team this season.

The Shelby County Wildcats were the only other ranked team on the girls’ side of the standings, coming in at No. 9 in the Class 5A rankings. With almost everybody back on their roster this season, the Wildcats have played a difficult schedule this season with their only two losses coming to Class 4A No. 2 Anniston and Class 6A No. 7 McAdory.

Beyond that, Chelsea and Pelham were nominated for a spot in the 6A standings after impressive starts. The Hornets are off to an 11-2 start to the season, while the Panthers currently sit at 8-2.

Chelsea has won seven games in a row with its only two losses of the season coming to Class 7A Vestavia Hills (9-3) and Class 6A No. 10 Homewood (13-1). Having redeemed that loss to Homewood already with a 67-57 win, the Hornets are close to earning a spot inside the top 10 if they continue to win over the next week.

Pelham has lost to those same two teams, dropping a 52-22 game to Vestavia Hills in the Panthers’ worst showing of the season and a 59-48 game to Homewood. But outside of those two games, they’ve been on a roll so far this season still having a relatively young roster.

Complete list of rankings below:

GIRLS

CLASS 7A

  1. Hoover (10-1)
  2. McGill-Toolen (12-1)
  3. Spain Park (10-2)
  4. Theodore (12-2)
  5. Auburn (8-1)
  6. Hewitt-Trussville (8-2)
  7. Sparkman (9-5)
  8. Austin (8-2)
  9. Foley (11-1)
  10. Grissom (4-4)

Others nominated: Davidson (8-4), Gadsden City (10-3), Vestavia Hills (9-3).

CLASS 6A

  1. Hazel Green (11-0)
  2. Eufaula (10-1)
  3. Athens (9-2)
  4. Lee-Huntsville (12-2)
  5. Carver-Birmingham (9-2)
  6. Opelika (9-3)
  7. McAdory (10-2)
  8. Carver-Montgomery (7-2)
  9. Mae Jemison (7-3)
  10. Homewood (13-1)

Others nominated: Albertville (6-0), Chelsea (11-2), Dothan (6-1), Hartselle (7-5), Muscle Shoals (4-4), Park Crossing (7-1), Pelham (8-2).

CLASS 5A

  1. Ramsay (10-0)
  2. Charles Henderson (9-0)
  3. Central-Tuscaloosa (8-3)
  4. Pleasant Grove (3-2)
  5. East Limestone (8-0)
  6. Madison Academy (8-2)
  7. Faith Academy (8-5)
  8. LeFlore (9-3)
  9. Shelby County (7-2)
  10. West Point (10-4)

Others nominated: Brewer (7-6), Briarwood Christian (5-1), Carroll (9-3), Jackson (9-3), Mortimer Jordan (6-5), St. Paul’s (8-3).

CLASS 4A

  1. Rogers (8-1)
  2. Anniston (3-2)
  3. Childersburg (8-1)
  4. Sipsey Valley (10-3)
  5. Greensboro (5-1)
  6. Jacksonville (4-0)
  7. Handley (6-2)
  8. Fairview (7-2)
  9. Priceville (5-4)
  10. Deshler (4-2)

Others nominated: DAR (5-4), Headland (6-1), Montgomery Catholic (7-1).

CLASS 3A

  1. Pisgah (9-0)
  2. Midfield (7-1)
  3. T.R. Miller (5-0)
  4. Susan Moore (9-1)
  5. Montgomery Academy (6-1)
  6. Glencoe (6-3)
  7. Phil Campbell (2-3)
  8. Prattville Christian (10-1)
  9. Lauderdale County (5-2)
  10. Pike Road (7-2)

Others nominated: Lexington (5-2).

CLASS 2A

  1. Cold Springs (8-2)
  2. Geneva County (10-1)
  3. Sacred Heart (9-3)
  4. Collinsville (7-0)
  5. Central-Hayneville (8-1)
  6. G.W. Long (6-2)
  7. Ider (9-2)
  8. Fyffe (6-2)
  9. Sand Rock (5-2)
  10. Cedar Bluff (3-4)

Others nominated: Addison (4-0), Hatton (8-1), Horseshoe Bend (6-3), Tanner (4-2).

CLASS 1A

  1. Spring Garden (7-1)
  2. Skyline (11-0)
  3. St. Luke’s (10-2)
  4. Mars Hill Bible (4-1)
  5. Loachapoka (10-5)
  6. Decatur Heritage (6-3)
  7. Pleasant Home (6-1)
  8. Belgreen (6-1)
  9. Phillips (2-5)
  10. Marion County (9-3)

Others nominated: Brantley (2-3), Coosa Christian (7-4), Covenant Christian (4-1), Elba (4-2), Falkville (6-4), Georgiana (3-3), Kinston (4-3), Notasulga (3-1), Vina (7-2).

AISA

  1. Lee-Scott (6-1)
  2. Glenwood (5-2)
  3. Southern Academy (4-0)
  4. Macon-East (5-3)
  5. Patrician Academy (NA)
  6. Clarke Prep (5-3)
  7. Tuscaloosa Academy (NA)
  8. Northside Methodist (8-3)
  9. Fort Dale Academy (4-1)
  10. Pike Liberal Arts (4-6)

Others nominated: None.

BOYS

CLASS 7A

  1. Mountain Brook (9-1)
  2. Hoover (9-3)
  3. Lee-Montgomery (8-0)
  4. McGill-Toolen (8-4)
  5. Austin (8-3)
  6. Bob Jones (11-2)
  7. Thompson (10-3)
  8. Tuscaloosa Co. (9-3)
  9. Sparkman (6-6)
  10. Fairhope (7-1)

Others nominated: Baker (8-3), Enterprise (6-4), Florence (5-2), Gadsden City (9-5).

CLASS 6A

  1. Jemison-Huntsville (10-0)
  2. Buckhorn (10-2)
  3. Huffman (8-2)
  4. Pinson Valley (8-1)
  5. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (8-2)
  6. Oxford (6-1)
  7. Hartselle (9-3)
  8. Northridge (10-3)
  9. Homewood (8-4)
  10. Carver-Montgomery (7-5)

Others nominated: Albertville (7-0), B.C. Rain (7-2), Clay-Chalkville (6-3), Cullman (8-3), Eufaula (4-4), Hazel Green (5-3), Muscle Shoals (4-1), Pelham (6-3).

CLASS 5A

  1. Woodlawn (7-4)
  2. Wenonah (7-4)
  3. East Limestone (8-3)
  4. Fairfield (8-2)
  5. Parker (7-4)
  6. Ramsay (7-3)
  7. Greenville (6-2)
  8. Briarwood (8-0)
  9. Tallassee (9-1)
  10. Scottsboro (8-2)

Others nominated: Brewbaker Tech (5-3), Carroll-Ozark (10-3), Lawrence Co. (8-1), Pleasant Grove (1-0), Satsuma (9-2).

CLASS 4A

  1. Williamson (8-2)
  2. Sumter Central (8-2)
  3. Anniston (6-3)
  4. Hillcrest-Evergreen (1-0)
  5. UMS-Wright (11-1)
  6. BTW-Tuskegee (8-1)
  7. Good Hope (9-0)
  8. Catholic-Montgomery (8-2)
  9. Sipsey Valley (9-3)
  10. White Plains (4-1)

Others nominated: Brooks (7-0), Danville (6-3), Deshler (4-3), Jacksonville (4-0), North Jackson (8-2).

CLASS 3A

  1. Plainview (7-2)
  2. Lauderdale Co. (5-2)
  3. Piedmont (0-0)
  4. Thomasville (3-0)
  5. New Hope (6-3)
  6. Slocomb (6-1)
  7. Pike Road (6-2)
  8. Dadeville (6-4)
  9. Mobile Christian (7-4)
  10. Opp (1-0)

Others nominated: None.

CLASS 2A

  1. LaFayette (5-0)
  2. Vincent (8-1)
  3. Tanner (4-0)
  4. Chickasaw (6-2)
  5. Fyffe (8-0)
  6. Calhoun (6-3)
  7. Sacred Heart (7-5)
  8. Asbury (10-0)
  9. Geneva Co. (9-2)
  10. Westbrook Christian (5-3)

Others nominated: Luverne (5-0), Section (7-4), Sheffield (8-2).

CLASS 1A

  1. Decatur Heritage (4-2)
  2. Lanett (0-1)
  3. Georgiana (3-1)
  4. Skyline (12-0)
  5. Cornerstone-Birmingham (7-4)
  6. Keith (7-1)
  7. Belgreen (8-2)
  8. Spring Garden (3-0)
  9. Lindsay Lane (6-2)
  10. Jacksonville Christian (8-2)

Others nominated: Brantley (2-0), Covenant Christian (4-1), Elba (1-0), Florala (6-2), Millry (3-2), Whitesburg Christian (7-2).

AISA

  1. Glenwood (7-2)
  2. Evangel Christian (10-1)
  3. Autauga Academy (2-0)
  4. Bessemer Academy (3-1)
  5. Tuscaloosa Academy (6-2)
  6. Morgan Academy (7-2)
  7. Southern Academy (4-0)
  8. Macon-East (6-4)
  9. Chambers Academy (1-0)
  10. Lee-Scott (6-3)

Others nominated: Edgewood (0-0), Fort Dale Academy (3-1), Lakeside (6-3).