BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT/AHSAA) – Huffman High School’s Vikings fell behind Bessemer City by 11 points midway through second quarter Saturday afternoon in the 98th AHSAA State Basketball Championships Class 6A boys’ semifinals at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
The Vikings (32-3) clawed back, however, in the final 20 minutes to outscore the Tigers 29-10 and captured the school’s first state championship with a 56-48 win.
Huffman, coached by Steve Ward, not only won the Vikings’ first boys’ state title, but it was the first 6A crown in 20 years. Woodlawn won the 6A title in 2000.
Junior guard Dequarrin Ezell had 15 points to lead Huffman’s comeback effort. He was 4-of-7 from the field and 7-of-10 at the foul line. Senior guard James Burgess had 11 points – chiefly on a 3-of-4 shooting performance from beyond the 3-point arc. Jamal Mott had seven points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals, Jamon Reed totaled eight points and seven rebounds and Jonathan Murray had seven points.
Bessemer City (18-15), which lost a regular-season tournament game to Huffman by 40 points before Christmas, was led by Thaddeus Williams’ 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists. He didn’t play in the earlier game. Coach Thad Fitzpatrick, who took over the Tigers’ basketball program in August, also got a big game from Jaquan Rollins, seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds. He also had three blocked shots. Calvin Townes chipped in eight points and six boards.
Birmingham City Schools dominated the championship from 1969-1982 winning 4A (now 6A) nine state titles in 14 years from 1979-1982. West End won back-to-back 6A championships in 1996 and 1997 after the AHSAA expanded from 4A to 6A and Woodlawn clinched the 6A championship in 2000.
Bessemer City was playing in its first boys’ state final in school history.