Area schools, players excelled in 2013Published 5:41pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Numerous teams and athletes in the Selma-Dallas County area had fantastic years in 2013. Below are the top ten sports stories from the year:
1. Lady Bears, Panthers reach championship games
Several local basketball teams soared in 2013, as many local teams spent time ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association polls, but none shined like Keith’s Lady Bears and Southside’s Panthers.
Keith’s Lady Bears basketball team reached the state championship game in 2013 where they lost to the Brantley Lady Bulldogs. Despite leading 18-13 at halftime, Keith was defeated 53-42.
“My first year with them, we only won three games, and like I was trying to explain to them in the locker room, don’t hold your head down. Out of 79 teams in the state in 1A, we’re one of the last two teams playing,” Keith head coach Cecil Williams said following the game.
The Southside Panthers boys basketball team also reached the state championship game, falling to Madison Academy 54-47. The Panthers led 27-14 at halftime, but were unable to hold off a comeback by the Mustangs.
“This group of guys has been phenomenal,” Southside head coach Cedric Brown said following the game. “Once we started preseason lifting weights, running, we already knew what the goal was. The goal was to get to Birmingham and win a state championship. To get here and to be right there at it is even more special. To get here with these guys is even more special.”
2. Donations help Concordia football get back on field
Concordia College Alabama’s football team overcame a bus fire on Sept. 21 that left the program without enough football equipment to take the field for its game against Miles that night.
Nike and Rawlings were among companies that donated shoulder pads and cleats, but the help didn’t end there. Because the teams wear the same colors, the Green Bay Packers sent the Hornets’ boxes full of their NFL practice pants. Local schools and organizations tried to help as well, including Morgan Academy and Dallas County High School.
The donations were a big help, because the Hornets were able to get back onto the field for their next scheduled game against West Alabama Sept. 28.
3. Dallas County’s Lee signs with UAB
Dallas County basketball star William Lee, touted as one of the best basketball players in the state of Alabama, signed to become a UAB Blazer in November.
The 6-9 small forward still has unfinished business at the high school level though, as his Hornets fell to Dora in the Central Regional last year.
Dallas County was ranked No. 1 in the state for a large portion of the season and Lee was named the Class 4A player of the year.
The Hornets are ranked No. 1 in the final ASWA poll of 2013 are poised to compete for a state championship.
4. Peavy changes Sox, wins World Series
When the Red Sox traded for area resident Jake Peavy on July 31, they did it so they would have a big game pitcher that could make the difference for a team that seemed to have all of the pieces in place to win a World Series in 2013.
Mission accomplished. Peavy went 4-1 with the Red Sox and started game three of the World Series for Boston. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series in six games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
5. Miller walks on at Alabama
Former Selma High School star and professional baseball player Jai Miller enrolled at the University of Alabama and walked on to play football for the Crimson Tide.
Miller played professional baseball for ten years, spending parts of three seasons at the Major League level with Florida, Kansas City and Oakland. Miller played quarterback at Selma High School and graduated in 2004. He originally signed with Stanford out of high school but chose to play professional baseball and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins.
6. Selma’s football team has best year since 1994
The Selma High School Saints football team finished the 2013 season with a 7-4 record, the school’s best win total since 1994.
All of Selma’s four defeats came to playoff opponents and the final loss was at the hands of state champion Spanish Fort, who won Class 5A for the second consecutive season.
7. Dallas County junior varsity, Martin Middle go undefeated
The Dallas County junior varsity football team finished the 2013 season 7-0, winning five of their seven games by one score or less. Martin Middle School completed its first undefeated season and did not allow a point all season long. The Bulldogs outscored opponents 102-0 in 2013.
8. Selma hosts state AHSAA track championships
Selma’s Memorial Stadium hosted the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A-3A state track championships in May. Thousands of people flocked to Selma for the track meet, filling local hotels. The state track meet had not been held at Selma in the last 20 years.
9. Morgan boys, girls tennis teams finish as AISA runner-ups
Morgan Academy’s boys and girls tennis teams finished as runner-ups in the Alabama Independent School Association state tennis tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery. Morgan senior Caroline Sherrer captured the doubles title with her sister, Emily.
Caroline finished her career with five singles championships and four doubles championships and signed with the University of North Carolina Asheville to continue her tennis career.
10. Selma hosts bass tournament
Selma hosted an Alabama Bass Federation tournament at the Selma Marina in May. In total 64 anglers took part with Mobile’s Bobby Robinson winning the crown.