Mountain Brook survived a 47-44 win over Clay-Chalkville to advance to Friday's finals. The Spartans will face Lee-Huntsville, which advanced with a 71-62 win over Huffman earlier in the day. Tipoff is set for 10:45 a.m. at Jacksonville State.
Clay-Chalkville trailed by eight at 43-35 before scoring nine straight for a one-point lead. Marcus Baldwin capped the comeback with a layup after a steal by Hasan Abdullah. That put Clay up 44-43 with 57 seconds to go.
But Mountain Brook's Griff Cooper -- who made the turnover to set up Clay's go-ahead basket -- took the ball out of bounds and immediately tossed down court to teammate Malek Grant, who made a layup to put the Spartans ahead for good.
"That was the biggest play of the game," Mountain Brook coach Bucky McMillan said. "Griff Cooper without hesitation threw the ball deep to Malek. ... The players didn't stop and say, 'Hey, we're down one. We should tippy-toe it up court.'"
After Clay missed a shot, Cooper was there again to get the rebound and pass to Grant, who drew a foul. His two free throws with 10 seconds left gave Mountain Brook a 47-44 lead. Then Cooper blocked Clay's last-gasp 3-point shot at the end.
Grant led Mountain Brook (27-6) with 20 points and nine rebounds. For Clay-Chalkville (26-7), Cory Judkins had 14 points and six rebounds.
Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @MarkSportsStar.