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Woodie Jackson named Coach of the Year in Marengo County

Linden High School Patriots head boys basketball coach Woodie Jackson began the 2017-2018 season with just one returning starter, but by the end of the year, the Patriots were making a deep run into the playoffs and Jackson was awarded the Marengo County Coach of the Year by The West Alabama Watchman.

“From the previous season, we only had one starter that came back and we ended up winning the area, sub-region and advancing to the region tournament down in Dothan,” Jackson said.

The year started slowly for the Patriots, but the team was able to win the right games down the stretch to give them a home court advantage in the area tournament.

Linden was 5-1 in area play with regular season sweeps of Sweet Water High School and Marengo High School and a split with A.L. Johnson.

The Patriots met Sweet Water and Marengo again in the area tournament, and beat both 54-45 and 52-37 respectively to win the area tournament championship.

The team advanced to the regionals and defeated Brantley High School 62-52 and J.F. Shields High 42-34 to make it to the regional championship against Georgiana High School.

The Patriots were just a game away from making it to the Final Four, but lost 72-44 to Georgiana.

Given where the team started, Jackson was proud that his young team overcame their lack of experience to make a deep run into the Class 1A playoffs.

Jackson had two players earn all-county selections. Graderius Brown, a junior, made first-team all-county and senior Isaiah Scott made the second-team roster.

Linden is known for its strength on the football field, but Jackson was able to get his players to bring their best to the court as well.

“They really bought in to what we were doing as a young team,” Jackson said. “As the year progressed, they could see themselves getting better.”

Jackson, who resigned from his post as the head boys basketball coach for Selma High in 2016, is one of the winningest high school basketball coaches in state history.

His 745 wins makes him the ninth winningest high school basketball coach in the Alabama history. He’s won six state titles in 11 appearances, and was the head coach for the 2008 McDonald’s All-American Game which featured future NBA players like Kemba Walker, Tyreke Evans, Al-Farouq Aminu and Tyler Zeller.

Jackson was inducted into the Alabama High School Hall of Fame in 2010.

“Through my whole career, I’ve been blessed,” he said. “It was great to see those young men at Linden advance further.”