Marengo Academy boys, girls play today in AISA quarterfinals


Experience might be an advantage for the Marengo Academy girls basketball team, but the Marengo Academy boys made it to Montgomery on a wave of youthful enthusiasm.

Both teams play today in the Class A quarterfinal round of the AISA Tournament. The Marengo Academy boys, coached by Larry Huckabee, face Lakeside from Eufaula. The Lady Longhorns, coached by Danny Stenz, play Edgewood Academy from Elmore.

The Class AA Pickens Academy girls, coached by Wade Goodman, play Thursday, taking on Northside Methodist of Dothan.

Huckabee said his 12-13 team, which includes two of his sons, has two sophomores, five freshmen and one eighth-grader. In the region tournament at Monroeville, the Longhorns beat Jackson Academy and Sparta Academy and finished second to Meadowview Christian.

Cason Cook, a 6-foot-1 freshman center, and freshman guard Andrew Martin were named to the all-tournament team.

"I think we’ll be a little nervous," Huckabee said. "I tried to tell them (Monday) that it’s going to be a lot of fun. We had a real good junior high team last year that went undefeated. They were undefeated this year. We’re sort of building to the point when these guys are going to be juniors and seniors.

"I’m tickled to death to get there. Lakeside has a real good team, but I think we match up with them pretty well. I think there’s a chance for us to get to the final four."

Along with Martin and Cook, the probable starters are sophomore forward Shade Pritchett, sophomore guard Carson Huckabee and freshman point guard Hayden Huckabee.

Coach Huckabee said Pritchett is the leading scorer because of his ability to drive to the basket.

"These guys love to play defense," coach Huckabee said. "They might be too young to be scared, and I know they’re going to try very, very hard."

The Marengo Academy girls (23-2) earned the top seed in Region 2 by beating Sparta Academy 47-41. Junior point guard Chandler Stenz was chosen the most valuable player. Junior forward Brooke Smyly and sophomore forward Andrea Edmonds made the all-aournament team.

Smyly had 15 points and 14 rebounds in the championship game. Edmonds added 12 points.

"Experience is definitely a factor in our favor this year," Danny Stenz said. "We’ve made it to state the last two years. Going in, we’ve probably got a more balanced scoring team than we’ve had in the past. We’re not relying quite so much on one or two players. Andrea is pretty good inside and outside, and Brooke is, too."

Chandler Stenz averages 14 points per game, Smyly 12.8, Katie Tucker 8.2 and Edmonds 7.8. Tucker has to wear a brace on her injured knee, Coach Stenz said Tucker is determined to tough it out because it’s her senior season.

Anna Michael Crocker, a sophomore guard and forward, averages 3.7 points per game and leads the team in assists. She ranks second in steals and fourth in rebounding.

"It doesn’t matter to them who scores as long as we’ve got more points than the other team," Danny Stenz said.

Carolyne Baker, Conner Etheridge and Dudley Long provide depth. Danny Stenz said Long is a first-year player as a senior.

 

Senior forward Marion Colvin was named the most valuable player after Pickens Academy (19-3) beat Lowndes Academy 46-28 in the Region 2 final. Colvin had 11 points and nine rebounds. Senior Elisabeth Hankins and eighth-grader Kacy Noland made the All-Tournament team.

Noland had 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Senior guard Katie McKinzey, senior guard Marianna Pratt, senior forward Whitney Lowe and Hankins were on the 2010 team that won the Class AA title.

"We got beat in the (semifinals) last year," Goodman said. "It helps to have experience. I think having senior leadership is very key to being able to play well in a tournament. Kacy amazes all of us. At times she plays like an eighth-grader. Sometimes she plays like a senior. She has a knack for making things happen. She’s not scared at all.

"What makes us go is our defense. The 2010 team shot the ball really well but didn’t play very good defense. This team doesn’t shoot very well, but the defense carries us."

Goodman said Hankins and Covin average about 13 points per game each.

"We try to use our athletic ability," Goodman said. "All five can score on the block if they have to."

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.

 

AISA TOURNAMENT

Elite Eight

Huntingdon College, Montgomery

Today

Class A Boys

Marengo Academy

vs. Lakeside, 1:30 p.m.

Class A Girls

Marengo Academy

vs. Edgewood Academy, 3 p.m.

Thursday

Class AA Girls

Pickens Academy

vs. Northside Methodist, 3 p.m.