BIRMINGHAM – Valley High School won its first state basketball championship in the school’s final game.
The Rams (33-0), coached by Marshon Harper, earned a 54-50 victory over Charles Henderson in Saturday’s Class 5A championship, capping an undefeated season. Valley is the first AHSAA boys’ basketball team to finish undefeated since Autaugaville in 2020-21 and just 11th boys’ team in AHSAA history.
“We’re going to be talking about this forever,” Valley junior Brandon Thomas said.
Valley High will close this spring and merge with LaFayette as part of a consolidation plan in Chambers County. That’s one reason the championship was especially sweet for Harper, a 1992 Valley High graduate.
“I’ve been trying to do this for 24 years,” Harper said. “I had a lot of opportunities to do it at other places, but I wanted to do it in my home town.”
Charles Henderson (25-6), coached by Timothy Fayson, was also trying to win the school’s first boys basketball state title.
“I want to give credit to Valley for the job they did and the game they played,” Fayson said.
Cam’Ron Dooley led Valley with 19 points, all in the second half. He played just five first-half minutes because of foul trouble. He added nine rebounds and four steals.
“Coach Harper gave me a little speech at halftime and told me to get 20 in the second half,” Dooley said.
Ian Crim-Davis scored nine of his 13 points in the first half for the Rams, and Jamarious Martinadded 10 points and three assists. Thomas has six points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Jywon Boyd led Charles Henderson with 14 points, and Austin Cross added 13 points. Jayden Spearman contributed 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Charles Henderson also finished runner-up in football, giving them two Red Maps this season.
“It ain’t a good feeling to make it all the way and fall short, especially twice,” said Boyd, a standout receiver. “We know what it takes to get here.”
Harper said his junior class, which includes his son, Jay, told him when they were fourth graders that they planned to win a state basketball at championship for Valley.
“We completed the mission,” Marshon Harper said.
Cam Dooley was named the Class 5A State Tourney MVP for his efforts. Also named to the All-Tourney team were Jalen Jones of Ramsay, Tyson Sexton of Scottsboro, Boyd and Jayden Spearman, Charles Henderson, and Brandon Thomas of Valley.
Championship games in Classes 6A and 7A continue Saturday and close out the 2023 state tourney at Legacy Arena.
For the first time in the state tournament’s long history, all championship games will be televised live over the Alabama Public Television (APT) Network March 2-4.
All semifinal and championship games this week are also being live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform and shown live over the AHSAA TV Network.
The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting all games over its network.