Huntsville City Classic

Posted On: 12/30/18 3:00 PM

The third and final day of the Huntsville City Classic featured Columbia and Mae Jemison battling it out for the John Pruett Championship Trophy. Mae Jemison ended up taking home the trophy after defeating Columbia 75-65. Sparkman defeated Lee-Huntsville 57-49 to take home the third-place trophy and Decatur Heritage defeated Riverdale 55-47 to claim fifth place.

5th/6th Place Game: Decatur Heritage 55 | Riverdale 47

Giancarlo ValdezThis game did not get much attention since it was played in the auxiliary gym, but it was probably the best game of the day. It took overtime for Decatur Heritage to top Riverdale by 8 points. At the half, Decatur Heritage led Riverdale 27-22. Riverdale won the third quarter by 3 and the fourth quarter by 2 to force overtime. Decatur Heritage took care of business in overtime, outscoring Riverdale 10-2, allowing them to take home the fifth-place trophy. Elijah Cobb had 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists for Riverdale. Giancarlo Valdez had 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals to help give Decatur Heritage the victory over Riverdale. 

Player of the Game: Giancarlo Valdez

Honorable Mentions: Elijah Cobb (Riverdale), Brayden Siren (Riverdale), Noah Boler (DH)

3rd/4th Place Game: Sparkman 57 | Lee-Huntsville 49

Malik TysonSparkman and Lee played a tight first half, going to the locker room with Lee leading 30-26. Sparkman gained the lead in the third quarter, winning the quarter by 7 points. They continued to press the gas in the fourth quarter, outscoring Lee by 5. Sparkman attempted significantly more 3’s than Lee, shooting a total of 22 compared to Lee’s 9. Sparkman was able to knock down 10 their 22 three-point attempts (45%), while Lee only made 3 of their 9 three-point attempts (33%). The absence of Kobe Brown for Lee was definitely noticeable during the game, which played a big factor in their loss. Strong shooting by Sparkman helped give them the 57-49 victory over Lee and allowed them to take home the third-place trophy. Zyan Green had 21 points and 6 rebounds for Lee-Huntsville. Malik Tyson had 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals to help give Sparkman the victory.

Player of the Game: Malik Tyson

Honorable Mentions: Zyan Green (L-H), Alonte Harvey (Sparkman)

Championship Game: Mae Jemison 75 | Columbia 65

Toney TonyA dominant first quarter for Mae Jemison was the story for the Championship game. Mae Jemison outscored Columbia 13-4 and maintained a fairly solid lead for the rest of the game. Columbia tried to make a push in the fourth quarter, getting the lead down to single digits, but they were unable to complete the comeback, only outscoring Mae Jemison by 3 points. Despite shooting 0-9 on their three-point attempts in the first half, Mae Jemison dominated Columbia during the first two quarters and took care of business to bring home the John Pruett Championship Trophy at the 36th Annual Huntsville City Classic. Cameron Turner had 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists for Columbia. Toney Tony had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks to help Mae Jemison win first place in the Huntsville City Classic. 

Player of the Game: Toney Tony

Honorable Mentions: Jamiah Holloway (Columbia), Cameron Turner (Columbia), Brandon Nicholas (MJ), Nate Jones (MJ)

There were some really good teams in the Huntsville City Classic that made for some fantastic matchups. All of the games allowed me to learn something about each team and player. Here are a couple of observations that I made from my three days at the Huntsville City Classic. 

Brandon Nicholas is a Scorer

Nicholas had a very impressive showing in the Huntsville City Classic with 94 points over four games. Not only did Nicholas help lead Mae Jemison to a first-place trophy in the tournament, but he was also listed as an All-Tournament Player and named the Huntsville City Classic Most Valuable Player. He didn’t shine too much in his first outing against Athens, scoring only 6 points. However, in Mae Jemison’s second game, he scored 38 points, shooting 53% from the three-point line, knocking down 7 three-pointers. He was also fairly impressive in the third game against Sparkman, putting up 25 points. He only scored 12 points in the Championship game, but it was enough to help give Mae Jemison the win over Columbia.

Columbia Excells Late in the Game

After a fairly slow start to the first half in every game for Columbia during the tournament, in the second half, they always put on the gas. In three of Columbia’s four games, they won the second half. In the other game, they tied. Columbia outscored opponents in the second half 148-112 during the Huntsville City Classic. Their largest second-half run came in their first-round game against Hazel Green, in which they outscored Hazel Green 36-18. If Columbia can overcome their lackadaisical first-half performance, they could easily be a top 5 team in 6A. 

Huntsville is Not as Bad as They Seem

Despite a 7-12 overall record and a 70-41 blowout loss to Mae Jemison in Round 2 of the Huntsville City Classic, Huntsville is not a bad team. Nathan Moore shined for Huntsville in their first-round matchup against Crestview (FL). Moore lead Huntsville with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. Huntsville played with a lot of intensity in their first game, leading to a 20-7 first quarter in their favor. However, despite good starts, they struggle to finish games. In their first game, Huntsville lead Crestview 37-19 at halftime, but only ended up winning by 3 points. In their second game against Mae Jemison (eventual Huntsville City Classic Champions), Huntsville outscored Mae Jemison in the first quarter by 2 and went into halftime down by 5 points. Huntsville ended up losing the game by 31 points. Huntsville has to find more than one player to play through in the second half and they have to fix their average of 22.5 turnovers per game that they had in the Huntsville City Classic. If Huntsville can learn to take care of the ball and not fall apart in the second half of the game, they could really turn some heads.

Tyrell Stanley has a Hot Hand

During Mae Jemison’s first-round game against Athens, Stanley went off in the second half, shooting 6-7 from three-point land. Stanley only played just over 7 minutes during the game and went on a hot streak during that time, hitting three after three. Everyone in the gym held their breath when he got the ball, waiting to see if he could knock down yet another three-point shot. Unfortunately, he only took a total of 4 shots in the last three games for Mae Jemison, so he never truly had a chance to find his rhythm in any of those games. Stanley helped Mae Jemison cruise past Athens, which eventually lead them to a first-place trophy in the Huntsville City Classic.

The Huntsville City Classic is the self-proclaimed “premier high school holiday basketball tournament in the southeast,” and I must say that I agree! The tournament did not disappoint and I was able to see some quality teams and players perform, and truly enjoyed my time at the tournament.