BIRMINGHAM. Ala. (WIAT/AHSAA) – Spain Park High School emerged in the battle of Hoover’s two high schools Saturday night to win the AHSAA 2020 Class 7A girls’ state basketball championship besting Hoover High School 47-44 at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
The game was a classic with the Jaguars (32-4) dominating the first half to take s 31-19 lead into the fourth quarter. Coach Mike Chase’s team, playing without sophomore guard Camille Chase, who was injured in the semifinals, rode the strong play of senior Sarah Ashlee Barker into the fourth period.
The defending Class 7A state champion Bucs (31-3) began its battle back in the third period and turned up the pressure in the final quarter and started trimming the Jags’ lead quickly. By the time Hoover’s Mackenzie Culpepper scored on a short jumper and drew Barker’s fifth foul, Spain Park was holding a shaky 40-35 lead. Barker, who finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two blocked shots and two steals to earn Class 7A State Tourney MVP honors, and Hoover turned up the pressure even more.
Chase turned to junior guard Avery Masdon, and freshman forward Haley Russell. Russell made a layup and two free throws and Masdon sank a free throw with five seconds left to seal the win. Masdon had 12 points, three assists and finished 4-of-6 at the foul line. She also sank two 3-pointers. Katie Flannery had seven points and Russell finished with six points and five rebounds.
Reniya Kelly, who closed the gap to two points with a layup and free throw with 43 seconds remaining, finished with a game-high 23 points for Coach Krystle Johnson’s Bucs. She was 9-of-11 at the foul line, had five steals and seven rebounds. Madison Adamson ‘s jumper with seven seconds left drew Hoover to 46-44 to set up Masdon’s clutch free throw. Adamson finished with seven points and six steals. Jada Knight added eight points.
Hoover and Spain Park have each won two Class 7A state championships in the last four years. The Bucs won in 2017 and 2019 and Spain Park won in 2018 and 2020. Hoover beat Spain Park 51-47 in overtime to win the 2017 title.
The AHSAA State Finals conclude Saturday night with defending Class 7A state champion Mountain Brook (32-2) vs. Lee-Montgomery (32-1) in the 14th state championship game at the Legacy Arena since Thursday.