By JOSH FRYE
JaDaniel Nettles scored almost half his team’s points as J.U. Blacksher knocked off Leroy 43-36 to claim the school’s second consecutive AHSAA Class 2A Area 2 championship.
According to Principal Donald Baggett, the last time a Blacksher team captured back-to-back area championships was in 1967 and 1968.
“We are extremely proud of our kids,” Baggett said. “To be successful in both football and basketball in the same year is an amazing thing for us. Our Lady Bulldogs basketball team went from losing every area game last year to winning almost every one this year. With their success thrown into the guys, it has been a great ride, and we are soaking it all in.”
Standout K.D. Rabb was pressured all night, drawing double and triple coverage, and had one of his few single-digit games of the season, scoring only 8 points.
Earlier this season, Rabb expressed that his goal was not to lead the team in scoring, but to help the team win.
Despite coverage being stacked on Rabb, the school’s all-time leading scorer found ways to make solid passes and defensive plays to help guide his team to victory.
Late in the game, Rabb had a scary moment, injuring his knee, after becoming tangled up with a Bears player.
Rabb hobbled to the bench but returned a few plays later with a knee brace.
Dorian Quarles suffered a major injury during the contest. Quarles lost a battle with the gymnasium doors as he lost his footing during a play and fell through the portals at a high rate of speed.
The gym fell silent during the scary episode, and Quarles was ultimately transported to the hospital by his parents. According to Bulldogs coaching staff, it was feared that Quarles suffered a broken or fractured wrist. No other details had been given by Tuesday’s press deadline on the extent of the injury.
J.T. Tucker, the Faulkner University commit, added nine points during Friday’s game, while Deon Hill scored three points and Jackson Reid added two.
“Leroy played a tough physical game,” JUB head coach Wes Sims said. “They stacked coverage on Rabb and he could barely reach the basket. Despite the factors that were against us, the guys played a great game and stepped up where we needed it the most. I’m proud of them and ready for the next step.”
Tucker said the repeat championship was sweet.
“It feels good to win an area championship two times in a row,” Tucker said. “We are ready to continue on and go for a state championship.”
JUB’s Josh Peavy also agreed.
“It feels really good,” Peavy said. “I play with an amazing group of guys, and it’s nice to be able to get a win despite the physical game.”
Blacksher was scheduled to host Cottage Hill in the Class 2A sub-regional on Tuesday, February 11, at 7 p.m. Due to press deadlines, a full story from that contest will be available in next week’s edition of Atmore News.
If the Bulldogs are successful against Cottage Hill, JUB will move on to the regional tournament in Montgomery.
If the Bulldogs are successful during the regional, they will then advance to the Final Four, to be played in Birmingham.