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PCHS, RBHS, BHS claim championships in junior high tourney

By Bart Moss  for the FCT


9th Grade Boys

Champion: Phil Campbell Bobcats



There were only two teams in the 9th grade boys division of the Franklin County Tournament this year, allowing Phil Campbell and East Franklin to make it to the finals by default. Neither team had played in some time. That, by no means, lessened the enthusiasm and intensity of Saturday’s contest between the two inter-community rivals and coaches who grew up together. After trailing early in the game, the Phil Campbell Bobcats were able to emerge victorious and claim a county championship for their school, defeating the East Franklin Rebels 34-29.

“We were very rusty, and we made a lot of mistakes,” said Phil Campbell Coach Kelly Kiser. “That’s what happens when you have a long layoff. We were able to hit some shots down the stretch, but we almost played our way out of the game. We don’t know when to slow down and play with control, and it almost got us beat.”

Phil Campbell led East Franklin 5-4 after the first quarter of play. The Rebels stormed ahead in the second quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 16-10 to take a 20-15 halftime lead. Phil Campbell cut East Franklin’s lead to one in the third quarter, outscoring the Rebels 7-3 to make the score 23-22 going into the final period of play. The Bobcats doubled up the Rebels 12-6 in the fourth quarter to get the win.

Trenton McCulloch led the Bobcats with 12 points. Matthew Chaffin added seven for Phil Campbell. Austin Jeane had six points and Eli Jackson had three points. Ryan Nelson, Hunter Saint, and Eli Campbell had two points each.

Julian Jiminez led East Franklin with 14 points. Easton Cummings added nine points, Taylor Cochran had four points and Tyler Weeks two points.


9th Grade Girls

Champions: Belgreen Bulldogs


The Belgreen Bulldogs used a steady offensive performance to propel them to a Franklin County championship Saturday, defeating the Red Bay Tigers 46-35. The Tigers hit a three-point shot with just under a minute to play in the game to make it a three-point game, but the Bulldogs’ athleticism and free throw shooting ability helped them seal the win late in the game.

“We played a solid game today,” said Belgreen Coach Chad Green. “We were really on at the free throw line today, and that helped us get the win.”

Belgreen made 13-of-16 free throws in the game to lead them to the win. “Free throws are so important in the game of basketball,” said Green. “You have to be able to make them to win, and today we did.”

Belgreen jumped out to a 12-6 first quarter. Red Bay cut into the Bulldogs’ lead in the second quarter, outscoring Belgreen 13-10 to make the score 22-19 at halftime in favor of the Bulldogs. Belgreen extended their lead in the third quarter to 34-28.

Belgreen had three players in double figures. Gracie Dempsey led the Bulldogs with 14 points, Autumn Bragwell had 13 points, and Ansley Tate added 12 points. Emmie Scott chipped in seven points.

Macy Faulkner led Red Bay with 18 points. Destiny McCollister added nine points. Lila Blackburn had three points, Makenzie Hester and Madison Hester had two points each, and Cassidy Kuykendall added a point to the scoring column.


7th/8th Grade Boys

Champions: Red Bay Tigers


The Red Bay Tigers capped off a fitting end to their season as Franklin County Tournament champions, defeating the Belgreen Bulldogs 49-20. With a good mix of size and athleticism, the Tigers have rarely been challenged this season. In fact, the core of this Red Bay team has a record of 43-3 over the past two years.

“This is really good group of athletes,” said Red Bay Coach Kevin Morrow. “They play well together, and they’ve played together for a long time. They hustle, they are aggressive, and they want to win.”

Red Bay led Belgreen just 8-4 at the end of the first quarter before they began to steadily pull away. The Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 17-11 in the second quarter to take a 25-15 halftime lead. Red Bay effectively put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring Belgreen 10-1 to take a 35-16 lead into the final period of play. The Tigers added to their lead in the fourth quarter, outpacing the Bulldogs 14-4 to get the win and championship.

Alex Kennedy, Jalen Vinson and Braden Ray had 11 points each to lead Red Bay to the championship win. Lane Shewbart had four points; Gage Bays and Cam McKinney scored three points each; and Kyser Jackson, Hunter Bays, and Dawson Wright added two points each.

Scout Bragwell led Belgreen with seven points. Isac Willingham and Will Donohoe scored five points each. A.J. Montgomery finished with three points.


7th/8th Grade Girls

Champion: Phil Campbell Bobcats


The Phil Campbell Bobcats held Vina to just one point in the first quarter to pave the way to a Franklin County championship in the 7th/8th grade girls division on Saturday.

“I am real proud of these girls and the effort they gave all year,” said Phil Campbell Coach Tracy Garrison, whose teams finished the season 10-4. “They have worked hard and played great as a team. It is a rewarding end to our season.”

Phil Campbell opened up a 12-1 first quarter lead over the Vina Red Devils and led 20-8 by halftime. The Bobcats extended their lead to 29-11 by the end of the third quarter and held on the win and championship.

Mackenzie Scott led Phil Campbell with 12 points. Faith Cook and Autumn Roberson scored six points each. Brittney Roberson had five points, and Jade Roberson finished with four points.

Rayleigh Guinn led Vina with 14 points. Destiny Miller had three points, Megan Dill had two points, and Hailey Cantrell one point.


Thursday Semi-Final Games

9th Grade Girls

The Red Bay Tigers and Phil Campbell Bobcats were locked in a battle to advance to the finals of the Franklin County Tournament Thursday before the Tigers pulled away for the 32-25 win. Macy Faulkner led Red Bay with 11 points. Caitlyn Mill led Phil Campbell with 10 points.

The Belgreen Bulldogs defeated the Tharptown Wildcats 36-23 to advance to the finals of the Franklin County Tournament to take on Red Bay. Autumn Bragwell led Belgreen with 15 points. She was followed by Ansley Tate with ten points. Brooke Daily led Tharptown with 18 of the team’s 23 points.

7th/8th Grade Boys

The Belgreen Bulldogs used a big first quarter and solid defense to defeat the Phil Campbell Bobcats 35-16 and advance to the finals of the Franklin County Tournament on Saturday to play Red Bay. Will Donohoe led Belgreen with 17 points. Luke Garrison led the Bobcats with seven points.

The Red Bay Tigers dominated the Vina Red Devils 66-19 to advance to the finals of the Franklin County Tournament on Saturday to play Belgreen. Alex Kennedy led Red Bay with 17 points, followed by Lane Shewbart with 14 points. Dawson Miller led Vina with seven points.