Jason Bowen

The Jackson County Basketball Tournament once again delivered plenty of entertainment and excitement.

Pisgah’s girls won their sixth straight title while North Sand Mountain’s boys won their first championship since 2009.

Here are some interesting notes from the 2020 the tournament:

› NSM head coach Cole Hicks joined Skyline head coach Ronnie McCarver as the only head coaches to win county titles at two different schools. Hicks led the North Jackson boys to championships in 2015 and 2016 before leading his alma mater to the 2020 crown. McCarver, who has won nine titles, has won six titles at Section and three at Skyline.

› Pisgah has won 23 of the 44 Jackson County Tournament’s varsity girls division championships.

› NSM junior point guard Luke Maples was the 2020 Jackson County Tournament’s varsity boys division’s Most Valuable Player. His mother, Danielle (Spears) Maples, was the 1995 Jackson County Tournament’s varsity girls division’s MVP after helping NSM to the crown that season.

› The Section boys basketball had its streak of straight county championship game appearances snapped at 12. The Lions have won six of the last 13 county titles.

› Pisgah girls coach Carey Ellison has led Pisgah to 14 county championships — most by a coaching in any division — during his 24 years at the helm.

› Hicks now has three varsity boys county titles, tying him with Wallace Tinker (Pisgah) and Z.C. Sparks (Section) for eighth for most county titles by coaches. Hicks’ father, Glen (NSM), is tied with Paul Cooley (Pisgah) for second with eight. Ronnie McCarver has the most with nine. Carl Bain (Stevenson) is fourth after winning seven, C.B. “Red” Strickland (Section) fifth with five and Q.K. “Dusty” Carter (Scottsboro) and Woody Beard (Pisgah) are tied for sixth with four each.

› Despite being a very competitive tournament with down-to-the wire games, only one varsity game was decided by single digits (North Jackson boys 63-57 win over Pisgah).

› Skyline’s Bailee Usrey and Pisgah’s Molly Heard were named to the varsity girls all-county tournament team for a third straight season while Section’s Haley Smart made it two consecutive seasons. Skyline’s Collin Lockard and Dawson Wynn, NSM’s Russ Marr and Section’s Logan Patterson were selected to the varsity boys all-county tournament team for a second straight season.

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