Ronnie Stapler

Former Guntersville head coach Ronnie Stapler recently picked up his 800th career win.

MONTGOMERY – Westminster Christian Academy boys’ basketball coach Ronnie Stapler reached a major milestone for coaches in the AHSAA Thursday night as the Wildcats (9-2) downed St. John Paul II Catholic 59-40.
The victory was the No. 800 for Stapler, who has been a head coach for 45 years in the AHSAA, propelled the long-time Huntsville area coach to the AHSAA Boys’ Basketball Spotlight – the first spotlight od 2021. He also joins a short list of just six boys’ basketball coaches in the AHSAA to reach that milestone.
Legendary coaches Eugene Mason (R.C. Hatch), Cap Brown (Parker) and Willie Scoggins (Ramsay) head the list with 919, 890 and 964 wins respectively. All three are now deceased.
Also reaching that achievement are Jack Doss, who came out of retirement to take over the Grissom program this season, and Woodie Jackson, who also came out of retirement three years ago and returned to Francis Marion, had 812 and 810 wins, respectively, heading into this season. Francis Marion, however, has cancelled its season due to COVID concerns.
Long-time Barbour County Coach Raymond White retired after a short stint at Carroll of Ozark with 794 career wins. Mobile legend LeVaughn Hanks retired in 1977 with a 794-301 record. Rounding out the all-time Top 10 in the AHSAA are Auburn’s Frank Tolbert (769-401), J.B. McClendon and Richard Robertson of Andalusia. Robertson was 749-357 in 50 seasons at Andalusia and Woodson (of Andalusia), and McClendon compiled a 749-401 record at Fayette County, Dothan, Hackleburg, Winfield, Hamilton and his own alma mater Scottsboro.
Stapler, 800-472 after Thursday’s win, led Grissom to Class 6A state titles in 1988 and 1999 and directed Westminster to the Class 4A crown in 2016. He also led a third team, Guntersville, to the AHSAA Class 4A state semifinals in 2008. His 1999 Grissom squad finished the season with 31 wins en route to the state title. He also coach girls’ basketball at Huntsville’s Randolph School for four years.
His coaching milestone edged out a record-setting performance by Tharptown Winston Nolen, a clutch effort by Montgomery Academy’s Britton Kohn and what has become a typical performance for Calhoun senior J.D. Davison.
Tharptown’s Nolen, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard, scored a school-record 47 points to lead the Class 2A Wildcats to a 71-61 win in the Bracy Invitational at Deshler High School last week. He scored 31 points in the first half and after the Flame took the lead 51-50 in the third quarter, 
Kohn, a 6-2 senior guard for Montgomery Academy, sank a 0-foot jumper with 20 seconds left in regulation to tie the Eagles’ game with Georgiana 43-43 to force overtime, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game again early in extra period and then canned the game-winning 3 pointer in the final seconds to give Montgomery Academy a 52-51 OT victory at the Elba Holiday Classic. The clutch standout finished with 14 points, 10 in the second half and OT, and also handed out five assists in the win.
Davison, who signed in November with the University of Alabama, had 37 points to lead defending Class 2A state champion Calhoun (7-6) past Class 5A Greenville 83-80 last weekend. He finished the game 12-of-18 at the foul line, had three treys, 16 rebounds, five assists, three steals and four blocked shots. He opened the season in early November with 57 points in a win over Wilcox Central and is currently averaging 44 points a game, according to MaxPreps.
Other outstanding performances reported include:

BRODY DALTON, FYFFE: Just a few weeks after leading the Red Devils to the Class 3A state football title and playing in the Alabama All-Stars’ 19-7 win over Mississippi in Alabama-Mississippi Football Classic, Dalton, a tight end who signed with UAB, had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Fyffe to a 74-65 win over Arab in the Don Webb Invitational Tournament at Scottsboro. He also had 10 rebounds and eight points in a 69-42 win over West Point.
BRODY PEEBLES, HARTSELLE: Sparked the Tigers (13-2) to the Homewood Metro Tourney title over Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa with 49 points in the 77-76 win. He averaged 41.3 ppg in three tourney wins. He scored 19 in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth period to seal the one-point championship game win. He had 40 versus Woodlawn and 35 in a win over Leeds.
JOSH BALLEW, PLEASANT VALLEY: Went over the 1,000-point mark of his prep career in a big way scoring 37 points as the Raiders downed Gaston 95-57. The senior needed just 21 points to reach the career milestone. He sank eight 3-pointers and the Raiders had 13 on the night. He is the first boys’ player at Pleasant Valley to reach 1,000 points since Clint Roper in 2006.
ERIK MATTHEWS, OPP: Had 27 points and 21 rebounds as the Bobcats (8-0) beat defending Class 3A state champion Pike County 53-43 in a key Class 3A, Area 4 game. He also had three assists and three blocked shots.
BARRY DUNNING, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Was 8-of-8 at the foul line and finished with 32 points to pace the Jackets past Saraland 84-77.
ROBERT WOODYARD, WILLIAMSON: Had 23 points, 11 rebounds and two steals to lead the Lions (15-2) to a 60-56 win over arch-rival LeFlore.
DRESEAN KNIGHT, MINOR: Dominated the boards with 10 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots in a 64-38 win over Fultondale and had 14 rebounds, seven blocked shots and 12 points as Minor (10-6) beat Haleyville 65-43. Teammate Jaylin Dorsey also had a triple double in the Tigers’ 65-44 win over Leeds with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
D.J. FAIRLEY, HOOVER: Led the Bucs to the Big Orange Classic tournament championship with 51 total points in three wins. He had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists in the Bucs’ 66-49 win over Mountain Brook in the finals. He also had 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 70-49 victory over Class 2A Clarke County and had 10 points, five rebounds and six assists in a 74-58 semifinal win over Central-Tuscaloosa. Teammate Chip Culpepper had 30 points in the Central win.
ANTONIO KITE, ANNISTON: Had 25 points and sank four key free throws in the final 40 seconds to lead the Bulldogs (12-1) to a 58-52 win to clinch the Class 4A, Area 9 title. He finished 9-of-14 at the foul line for the game and sank four treys.
TREY WALLACE, PIKE ROAD: Had 31 points in the finals as Pike Road won its own tourney beating Wetumpka. Wallace, who missed the first two games of the tourney because he was participating in the North-South All-Star football game at Mobile, also had 22 points in his first game back – a win over Chilton County.
RODARIOUS THOMAS, EUFAULA: Had 23 points as the Tigers (13-3) beat Class 7A Central-Phenix City 87-57. The 6A team improved to 8-0 against Class 7A competition this season with the win.
RA'TAVIOUS HICKS, GADSDEN CITY: Earned MVP honors in Gadsden’s Christmas Classic tourney with 19 points in a 69-44 semifinal win over Southside-Gadsden and 17 points in the finals as the Titans beat Etowah 98-60.
CADE PHILLIPS, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: The sophomore forward totaled 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in a win over Hokes Bluff, 17 points, 24 rebounds and four blocks in a loss to Etowah and 19 points in a win against Southside to help Westbrook finish third in the Gadsden Christmas Classic.
KESHAWN MURPHY, RAMSAY: Had 51 points, 29 rebounds and nine blocked shots in three big wins for the Rams (10-4). He had 20 points, five boards and two blocks in a 79-53 victory over city rival Wenonah and 19 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and four assists as Ramsay beat Lausanne Collegiate School of Memphis in the Big Orange Classic tourney. Ramsay only played two games in that tourney. He added 12 points and 13 rebounds in a 62-50 win over Decatur in the Be Elite Showcase at James Clemens.
JAMARKUS ALEXANDER, MIDFIELD: Delivered 28 points, 11 rebounds And five steals in an 87-53 win over Fultondale and totaled 21 points, 12 rebounds and five steals as Midfield (10-5) beat Columbia 69-50.
COLBY McALLISTER, SPANISH FORT: Scored 24 points as the Toros (13-3) downed Jackson 65-38.
COLLIN HESTER, BAYSHORE CHRISTIAN: Nailed six 3-pointers to finish with 30 points in a 62-50 Eagles’ win over Elberta.
JACOB WHEELER, WHITE PLAINS: Sank six treys for 18 points and the Wildcats had 14 3-pointers overall to beat Pell City 76-52. The Panthers nailed seven treys to give both teams a combined 21 in the contest.
WESLEY KIRK, SPRING GARDEN: Scored 18 points in the second half to finish with 26 as the Panthers downed Cleburne County 62-49. 
KESHAUN MARTIN, DALE COUNTY: Had 36 points in a 66-57 loss to Charles Henderson at the Round Robin Invitational at Ozark Civic Center. He also had 26 points in a 79-65 win over Ashford.
L.A. SHIDER, CARROLL: Had 15 points and 16 rebounds as the Eagles nipped G.W. Long 62-57. Avery Roberts had 27 for the Rebels.

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