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Hooper JV avenges finale loss to win AISA JV State Championship

Story by Griffin Pritchard

Photos Courtesy of Hooper Academy Basketball

CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – Often playing their games as the crowd is coming in, the junior varsity basketballers were thrust into the spotlight over the weekend at Lowndes Academy as the AISA hosted their annual Junior Varsity Basketball State Tournament. The one-day affair featured teams from all three classifications. The Girls tournament ended with Glenwood (AAA), Hooper (AA) and Evangel Montgomery (A) bringing trophies back to their respective campuses.

“This team showed so much determination all day,” said Jessi Hayes, coach of the Hooper JV Lady Colts. “We struggled to get our shots to fall early, but they stepped it up defensively to give us a chance.”

Led by tournament MVP Ashbee Norman and All-Tournament Team selections Kaylee Mikdiff and Raylee Midkiff – the Lady Colts avenged last season’s finale loss to Sparta, eliminating the Warriors 30-24 to advance to the finale against the host Lady Rebels.

Hooper made short work of Lowndes, winning the tournament and the championship 31-14.

Norman finished the day with 14 points and 10 assists and six rebounds and steals. Kaylee Midkiff was the workhorse, scoring a total 23 points while grabbing 24 boards with three rebounds. In the championship game, Midkiff banked a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Raylee Midkiff embraced her role as the sixth woman and came off the bench in both games intent on creating chaos. She ended the day with 10 rebounds, eight points and a steal.

Hayes: “Ashbee is such a smart player and we are looking for big things from her in the future at the varsity level. Kaylee is a special player and didn’t start out the day well, but she stepped up and made some big plays to help us advance and be successful in the final. Raylee is a game changer for us. She came off the bench and gave us the spark we needed in the game against Sparta.”

But it wasn’t just those three keeping the Lady Colts in stride. Grace Seale (eight rebounds, six steals, six points and three blocks), K.G. Taylor (10 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists) and Sydney Brown (three rebounds and two steals) had their moments throughout the two wins.

Hayes: “After losing in the championship game last year, my team came out this season with one goal in mind: to get back to state and show everyone they were the best. Their love for the game and each other is obvious. They are one of the most coachable groups I have ever been a part of and they have so much fight in them. Every single one of them have so much pride in their school and it showed (Saturday). Saying I’m proud of this group is an understatement. We are looking for big things from them in the future and I am looking forward to the next few years with them. The future looks bright! I also want to thank all of the parents, students, teachers and fans that came out to support us.”

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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