The celebration hasn’t ended since Faith Christian beat Jacksonville Christian in the Class 1A, Area 12 semifinals, which clinched a spot in the sub-regional round.
Faith Christian, which lost in the Area 12 finals, will travel to Skyline this week in the Lions’ first sub-regional game since 2006.
“We’re tickled to death. I had to have a talk with them (Monday) at practice about having to calm down and get focused,” Lions coach Bradley Dawson said. “We still have a basketball game this week that we need to go out and play. But it’s been really exciting around the school.”
Faith Christian sits at 11-13, but the record has come against a tough schedule. More than half the Lions’ opponents have been larger than Class 1A.
Dawson said he challenged his players this year to get a girls’ banner in the gym. That will happen if they can beat a very good Skyline and advance to the Northeast Regional.
“They shoot the ball extremely well and want to play fast,” Dawson said. “They’re almost in an agreement to give you a 2-pointer as long as they can shoot a 3. They’re not really deep, but they can all shoot.”
STATE WRESTLING: Twenty-seven Calhoun County wrestlers will compete in the state tourament this week, including several who visited the big stage a year ago.
Oxford’s Hunter Lee won the 152-pound weight class last year for the Yellow Jackets, while Matt King, now an eighth-grader at Oxford, was a runner-up in Class 1A-4A for Wellborn. Oxford also has Hayden Carpenter, Josh Sewell and Jacob Shake returning to the state tournament for the second straight year.
Weaver has two wrestlers returning to the state tournament in the Class 1A-4A division: Wil Mizic and Jacob Howard. Saks’ Stephen Snyder is also returning to the state tournament.
Past that, the other 21 wrestlers are new on the scene in the Von Braun Center.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: Numerous players were recognized over the weekend through Monday for their play in the local area tournaments.
In the Class 3A, Area 10 boys tournament, Piedmont’s Denard Spears made the all-tournament team and was joined by White Plains’ Eli Hightower and Weaver’s Brandon Smith, Timothy Hawkins and Chris English. Area tournament champion Saks landed Monty Young, Daniel Heard and Roc Green on the team. Green was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
For the 3A, Area 10 girls, White Plains’ Amber Greenwood headlined the list as the tournament MVP.
Taylor Snellgrove and Sophie Taylor also made the team for the tournament-winning Wildcats. Saks had Daja Johnson, Ailyah Simmons and Maiya Northard, while Weaver’s Keara Scott and Piedmont’s Bre Green made the team, as well.
The Jacksonville girls won the 4A, Area 11 tournament while having Dasia Kirksey, Angel Kid and Virginia Poe make the all-tournament team. Alexandria’s Ariel Tuck and Cherokee County’s Autumn Aloi also made the squad. Hokes Bluff’s Kendall Johnson, Hannah Evans and Carlie Shields each made the cut for the runner-up Eagles. An MVP was not selected.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.