Posted On: 01/5/19 12:00 PM
It’s rare that a 1A team is invited to the Huntsville City Classic since the competition is usually 4A-7A schools, but exceptions are made. This year, the exception was made for Decatur Heritage, a very impressive 1A team from Decatur, AL. Decatur Heritage is ranked #1 in the state in 1A and has a very impressive 18-3 record, defeating Westminster Christian, Athens High School, and Bob Jones High School, among others, so far during the regular season, and knocking out Grissom High School in the first round of consolation games in the Huntsville City Classic. If Decatur Heritage is beating 4A and 7A schools, it’s no surprise that they are completely dominating in 1A and were invited to the 36th Annual Huntsville City Classic.
In their first-round matchup, Decatur Heritage was matched up against a well-coached James Clemens team. Longtime coach and participant of the Huntsville City Classic, Danny Petty, had his team ready for the game and took care of Decatur Heritage, beating them 67-48. Despite the loss, Giancarlo Valdez had 16 points for Decatur Heritage and Noah Boler had 7 points and 9 rebounds, which would just be the start of a fantastic tournament for these young men.
With the first game nerves out of the way, Decatur Heritage was matched up against a Hazel Green team that is caught in a rebuilding year. Coach Jason Marshall, from Decatur Heritage, took full advantage of this matchup to get his team some confidence. A strong first quarter gave DHCA an 18-8 lead, which was enough to lead them to an eventual 65-61 victory against a 6A school. Giancarlo Valdez led the way again for DHCA, putting up 22 points and 9 rebounds. Noah Boler also helped the team putting up 12 points and 10 rebounds.
This setup DHCA to move onto the semifinals of the consolation bracket, where they squared off against Grissom High School. After a close first half, DHCA routed Grissom in the second half, giving them a 63-42 win. Noah Boler led the way with an impressive 13 points, 18 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 blocks. Giancarlo Valdez also tacked on 13 points and 7 rebounds. To me, this was DHCA’s most impressive win, since Grissom defeated James Clemens by 4 points earlier this season.
In the final game of the consolation bracket, DHCA faced off against Riverdale High School (TN). Riverdale led DHCA by 2 points at the end of the first quarter, but DHCA fought back and took a 27-22 lead into halftime. Riverdale won the second half and brought the game into OT. DHCA took care of Riverdale in OT, outscoring them 10-2. Giancarlo Valdez had 33 points and 8 rebounds along with Noah Boler’s 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists to give DHCA a 55-47 win and help them take home 5th place in the Huntsville City Classic.
One of the most impressive aspects of DHCA’s team is their two standout players, Noah Boler (Senior) and Giancarlo Valdez (Junior). Boler is a 6’8 forward, who is committed to Lee University and is ranked #18 by Prep Hoops for the class of 2019. Valdez is a 6’4 small forward and is ranked #21 by Prep Hoops for the class of 2020. This duo combined for 127 of DHCA’s 231 points during the tournament, which is about 55% of their total points! These upperclassmen are a big reason that Decatur Heritage has found great success not only in 1A but also in 2A-7A.
Decatur Heritage gets back in action this week with some area games against Lynn and Meek, to try and extend their area game record to 5-0. Decatur Heritage has had a really good first half of the season, so it will be interesting to see how the second half of their season plays out. I expect to see DHCA make a deep run in the state tournament this year and possibly win it all.