The goals were lower, and the players were much smaller. Yet, Jason Bell put his heart and soul into making those little guys better but also showing how much fun it could be.

It was six years ago, and Luke Patterson and Bryce Bell were two of the players on a team that learned to hustle and play hard.

Fast forward a few years, and Bell has another team that is hustling and playing hard. These guys are much bigger with much more on the line.

Bell took over as head basketball coach at Scottsboro High School this season. And what a season it has been. On Monday, Scottsboro will enter the Final Four for the first time since 1967.

Jackson County is beyond well represented in Birmingham this year with Scottsboro in Class 6A, Pisgah girls in Class 2A and Skyline girls in Class 1A.

For Pisgah Coach Carey Ellison, it’s the same road taken as his girls go for a fourth consecutive state championship. A win will give Ellison seven titles in his storied career. And it’s another case of underestimation. Why in the world you would underestimate these girls is beyond imagination.

Skyline Coach Ronnie McCarver, who also has a storied career, can make a little history himself next week. In 2003, McCarver led the Section boys to a state title. Now, he has a chance to lead the Skyline girls to one, too.

It’s an exciting time in the county. Three teams with realistic chances to win a state championship next week.

Good luck to all.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of The Sentinel. He can be reached by email to 

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