Basketball season for Belgreen Bulldogs – Class 1A, Area 14
For Marty Cooper and the Belgreen Bulldogs, it will be hard to top this past year’s success story. The Bulldogs swept through the Northwest Regionals, beating Covenant Christian and Holy Spirit to earn a trip to the Final Four in Birmingham. In the Class 1A semifinals, the Bulldogs easily defeated Notasulga before losing a heartbreaker to Autaugaville in the finals, 38-34.
“Each year is a new year,” said Cooper. “We have to start over with the same goals we had last year. We will have a target on our back in this area, and we will have to play at a high level to replicate last year.”
One reason for optimism is the return of the one-two punch of brothers Will and Collin Bonner. Will Bonner was a dominant player for much of the regular season and run through the playoffs because of his ability to get to the goal and to the free–throw line. Collin Bonner, the lefty, would likely have been the state finals MVP if the Belgreen could have gotten the win.
“Will and Collin are super competitors,” said Cooper. “They can give opposing team fits if they are playing at the level they are capable of.”
Cooper will need the Bonners and the rest of his team to mesh and play at that high level if they want to duplicate a 26-3 record or better.
“Are we still hungry?” asked Cooper. “That is the question. How bad do we want it?”
The Belgreen girls team, led by longtime coach Chad Green, will lean heavily on three experienced returning starters in the 2021-22 season.
“We have a solid core of starters returning,” said Green. “They are capable of doing well if they work hard and play hard every game.”
Green has 16 years of head coaching experience at Tharptown and Belgreen. He has been at Belgreen for the past six years. This past season he led his team to an area championship but was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
“I think we are capable of winning again and having a shot to advance further if we gel together and get better each night,” said Green, whose team went 16-12 last year.
Green returns three key starters from this past year’s team in Noelle Willingham, Bryn Scott and Dacota Green. Willingham was the team’s assist leader and is the top returning rebounder. Scott is Belgreen’s leading three-point shooter, and Green is the team’s leading returning scorer.
BHS BOYS ROSTER
1– Will Bonner, Senior
2– Cole King, Senior
3– Collin Bonner, Senior
5– Carson Cox, Senior
12– Canaan Stough, Senior
22– Hadden Taylor, Senior
23– Alex Jarnigan, Senior
24– Jordan Wright, Junior
32– Brent Sykes, Sophomore
34– Austin James, Senior
33– Adrian Reaves, Senior
BHS GIRLS ROSTER
3– Noelle Willingham
4– Jacqueline Alban
5– Sydney west
10– Isabella Tate
12– Bryn Scott
14– Makenna Fisher
32– Alayna Tate
33– Dacota Green
42– Carson Hovater