HUNTSVILLE — Albertville varsity boys basketball coach Patrick Harding’s words proved to be prophetic following a loss to No. 8 Oxford on Feb. 7 in the Class 6A, Area 13 tournament finals.
“I believe in these kids,” Harding said. “We didn’t play our best tonight and Oxford is a tough matchup for us, but I believe we can beat just about any team in the state when we play well.”
Tuesday night, that any team in the state was second-ranked Mae Jemison of Huntsville. The 10th-ranked Aggies stunned the Jaguars 48-40 in the 6A subregional playoffs to grab a berth in the Northeast Regional semifinals at Jacksonville State’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Albertville (24-5) meets No. 3 Huffman on Friday at 10:30 a.m. The winner battles either defending state champion Pinson Valley or Oxford in the finals Feb. 18 at 2:15 p.m.
The Aggies led 6-3 after a quarter and 17-13 at halftime against Mae Jemison.
Ben Allen scored all eight of his points in the third period, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help AHS extend its margin to 33-23 at the final rest stop.
Albertville went up 41-27 with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, but the Jaguars rallied, slicing it to 45-40 with less than a minute to play.
The Aggies struggled from the free-throw line, hitting only 10-of-21 attempts, which prevented them from sealing their victory sooner.
“I thought we played with great toughness throughout the game,” Harding said. “Our guys didn’t get rattled against their pressure.
“We had several guys step up and knock down shots. The kids’ confidence grew as the game went. I can’t tell you how proud I am of them.
“Going to regionals was a goal, and we will be ready to compete Friday. The other three teams are formidable opponents for sure, but we belong in that group.”
Dane Harding paced AHS with 13 points. He also contributed 10 rebounds and five assists.
Chi Jordan scored nine, and Trinity Bell had seven points, 10
boards and three blocks. Elijah Moss collected seven points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
Drake Bearden closed with three points and three rebounds. Givenchy Dorival scored one, and Allen added three rebounds.
Albertville is making its sixth regional appearance during Harding’s coaching tenure, joining his 2003, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2018 squads. Overall for the Aggies, it’s their 10th berth.
Pinson Valley beat Huffman in the 2019 Northeast Regional finals.