Piedmont Boys (3A), Jacksonville Girls (4A) Fall In Title Games
Class 3A Boys Finals
Madison Academy 75, Piedmont 51
Madison Academy (19-12) placed four players in double figures as the Mustangs captured the AHSAA Class 3A boys state basketball championship with a 75-51 win over Piedmont in at the BJCC Legacy Arena Fridaynight.
Junior Josh Langford, a 6-foot-6 forward, had 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to earn Class 3A state tournament MVP honors for Coach Andy Blackston’s team. He was 6-of-7 from the foul line and also blocked two shots. Teammate Myles Parker added 12 points, Will Acuff and Cole Tomlinson chipped in 11 points each.
Piedmont (22-12), coached by Tommy Lewis, was led by Darnell Jackson’s 17 points. Taylor Hayes had 12.
The state titles was Madison Academy’s fifth since 2006 and the fourth with Blackston as head coach. The Mustangs won titles in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013.
Class 3A Boys All-Tournament Team
Josh Langford, Madison Academy (MVP); Will Acuff, Madison Academy; Darnell Jackson, Piedmont; Taylor Hayes, Piedmont; Josh Thomas, Montgomery Academy; Christian Gross, Excel.
*Highlights in featured video
Class 4A Girls Finals
Deshler 70, Jacksonville 57
Deshler raced to a 43-18 halftime lead, then weathered two strong Jacksonville rallies in the second half to capture the Class 4A girls state basketball championship with a 70-57 win Friday night at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
Lauren Cantrell scored 20 points, had five rebounds and five steals to lead the Tigers (34-2). It was clutch free-throw shooting, 12-of-13 for the game, that helped Coach Jana Killen’s team survive the Golden Eagles.
Jacksonville (29-5), coached by Ryan Chambless, cut the Deshler lead to 10 in the third quarter outscoring the Tigers 16-3 in the first five minutes after intermission. Deshler stretched back to a 15-ppoint lead and to 16 by the end of the period. The Eagles clawed back 12 with 3:02 remaining but four straight free throws, two by Cantrell and two by Nicole Shirley, opened the game again.
Shirley scored 17 for the Tigers hitting 7-of-12 free throws, and Karleigh Sledge had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Deshler was 28-of-39 at the foul line for the game.
Jacksonville’s comeback effort was sparked by Virginia Poe. The senior guard had a game-high 26 points sinking five treys. Angel Kidd added 10 points with one 3-pointer and 7-of-8 free throws. Dasia Kirksey also had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The state championship was the sixth for Killen’s Tigers but the first since Deshler won three in a row in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Killen (628-126) also recorded the 600th win over her coaching career earlier in the 2014-15 season.
Class 4A Girls All-Tournament Team
Lauren Cantrell, Deshler (MVP); Karleigh Sledge, Deshler; Nicole Shirley, Deshler; Virginia Poe, Jacksonville; Angel Kidd, Jacksonville; Queen Ford, Sipsey Valley; McKenzie Courtney, UMS-Wright.