NORTH JACKSON CHIEFS

› Coach: Tony Brown (second season)

› First game: Nov. 19 at Scottsboro

› Area: Class 4A Area 14

› Area opponents: DAR, Madison County, New Hope

› 2018-19 record/finish: 17-14, area champion, Class 4A Northeast Sub-regionals

› Roster: Seniors Hadley Burnette, Alexis Moore, Sarah Myers, Delana Pierce, Lily Smith, Summer Varnum; juniors  Brylie Evans, Arielle Haynes, Tyra Smith; sophomore Bailey Abernathy, Sarah Garner, Peyton Hill

› Returning starters: 4 — Hadley Burnette, Alexis Moore, Delana Pierce, Summer Varnum

› Storylines: North Jackson returns four starters from a team that won its third straight area tournament championship…Varnum and Moore were All-Jackson County Tournament selections last season…Brown is back for his second season of his second tenure as head coach after being hired just prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. 

› Quoting coach: “The leadership that the returning starters posses (is a strength). They work extremely hard to be better. We have some newcomers, so the team must come together and work together. The returners must show leadership and help the newcomers to adapt to the style of play. We must also have players to step up and replace the seniors that graduated last year. Sarah Morgan was a career 1,000-point scored, and that is hard to replace.”

› Area outlook: “The area is always tough. The addition of New Hope and Madison County makes it even tougher. We will have to up our game to be competitive in the area. It will be a challenge.”

 

NSM BISON

Coach: Jeremiah Haynes (second season)

› First game: Nov. 20 at Sylvania

› Area: Class 2A Area 15

› Area opponents: Pisgah, Section, Ider

› 2019-20 record/finish: 3-18; Class 2A Area 15 Tournament semifinals

› Roster: Seniors Madison Croft, Lexi Hartline, Vicky Hassell, Nady Poore, Jessi Weldon; juniors Lillian Hassell, Liz Hassell; sophomores Kolbie Bobo, Gracie Holland, Ashlyn Hurst, Rylee Reyes; freshman Caybree Dobbins

› Returning starters: 3 — Kolbie Bobo, Vicky Hassell, Jessi Weldon

› Storylines: NSM returns three starters and number of reserves from last year’s team after being an inexperienced team going into the 2019-20 campaign…Weldon was an all-county selection last season…NSM will play in an area with Jackson County rivals Pisgah and Section for the first time since the AHSAA expanded to six classifications in 1984. 

› Quoting coach: “This year’s team has some varsity experience returning and has created some team chemistry. Last year we only had two or three girls that played any significant minutes on varsity, hopefully that will pay off some this year. Staying healthy, that would be No. 1 I think on any team, but a couple other big keys for us to be successful will be making shots and not turning the ball over, two things we struggled with last year. We have put a huge emphasis on those two parts of the game this summer and fall so I am looking for our team to better in those two categories.” 

› Area outlook: “Obviously a tough area. Pisgah was the Class 3A state champion for three straight years and every year regardless of who they graduate they seem to never skip a beat. Ider won 23 games last year and only lost one senior. Section was a competitive team last year and won 12 games. I know they have a new coach this year, Jason Ford, but I am still looking for them to bring the same toughness to each and every game. We have our work cut out for us, but I think our girls trust in the work they have put in and are more confident and ready for the challenge.”

 

PISGAH EAGLES

› Coach: Carey Ellison (25th season)

› First game: Nov. 17 vs. Fyffe

› Area: Class 2A Area 15

› Area opponents: Geraldine, Plainview and Sylvania

› 2019-20 record/finish: 31-3, Class 3A state champion

› Roster: Seniors Kennedy Barron, Bella Bobo, Hannah Duncan, Emma Ellison; juniors Kinsey Dalton, Molly Heard, Karlee Holcomb, Kaitlyn Stephens, Lila Kate Wheeler, Briley Worley; sophomores Kallie Tinker, Amber Shrader, Ashley Shrader

› Returning starters: 2 — Molly Heard Kallie Tinker

› Storylines: Pisgah drops to Class 2A for the first time since 2004 after winning the last three 3A state championships…The Eagles will play in an area with Jackson County rivals NSM and Section for the first time since the AHSAA expanded to six classifications in 1984…Pisgah returns two starters, Tinker and Heard, a two-time all-state performer who was the 3A Player of the Year in 2019-20.

› Quoting coach: “Moving to 2A, at first, it seemed like a good move, then we saw the region and realized it was tougher than ever with Spring Garden, Sand Rock, Ider and Midfield all (bracketed for) the Northeast (Regional). We’ve got to fill some big shoes (in the lineup) and develop chemistry. We should be a great defensive team and rebounding team.”

› Area outlook: “Ider will be strong. NSM will be improved with a lot of experience. Section is the unknown with the coaching change.”

 

SCOTTSBORO WILDCATS

› Coach: Brandon Childers (third season)

› First game: Nov. 10 vs. St. John Paul II (Won 49-19)

› Area: Class 6A Area 15

› Area opponents: Arab, Buckhorn, Fort Payne

› 2019-20 record/finish: 13-16; Class 5A Area 15 runner-up, 5A sub-regionals

› Roster: Seniors Allie Scott, Kami Willis; juniors Lexie Bennett, Audrey Holland and Olivia Tubbs; sophomores Maggie Armstrong, Keira Culver, Jadaya Edmondson, Adair Holland, Alyssa Paschal, Alyssa Smart

› Returning starters: 4 — Lexie Bennett, Audrey Holland, Allie Scott, Olivia Tubbs (part-time)

› Storylines: Scottsboro must replace longtime starters Carley Bell, who is now at Auburn-Montgomery, and Madison Holland…Scottsboro returns four players who started at times last season to go with what Childers’ believes is a strong group of newcomers…The Wildcats move up to Class 6A this season and will compete with longtime rivals Arab and Fort Payne while adding Buckhorn to the area.

› Quoting coach: “I feel like our team is buying into toughness, and a desire to defend and rebound. We have unselfish attitudes and competitiveness. Must continue to improve as the season progresses and staying healthy.”

› Area outlook: “Fort Payne is coming off an Elite 8 season and I believe they return three starters, so they will have a really good team. Arab has a good post player coming back that has started for a couple years. Arab graduated a couple good guards last year so they will probably be playing some young kids at a few spots but I'm sure they will be tough because they typically play hard and rebound the ball so well. Buckhorn is new to our area and our schedule. We haven't played them in a while.. so I'm not really sure what to expect. I watched them on film a couple times last year and they looked pretty athletic.”

 

SECTION LIONS

› Coach: Jason Ford (first season)

› First game: Nov. 12 at DAR (Lost 61-44)

› Area: Class 2A Area 15

› Area opponents: North Sand Mountain, Pisgah, Ider

› 2019-20 record/finish: 12-16, area tournament semifinals

› Roster: Seniors Kaylee Laubinger, Jennifer Vega; juniors Madison Armstrong, Morgan Armstrong, Chloe Britt, Kenleigh Owens, Ali Sullins, Savannah White; sophomores Elizabeth Lemeuix, Kadence Pratt; freshmen Makenna Arndt, Molly Myers; eighth-graders Karlie Hancock, Stormie Little

› Returning starters: 3 — Madison Armstrong, Jennifer Vega, Savannah White

› Storylines: Ford takes over as head coach after Stormy Stevens left to join the varsity boys coaching staff at Fort Payne. Ford, a Cordova native, has previously held varsity girls and boys head-coaching positions at Pleasant Grove, Helena and Oak Grove high schools in the Birmingham metro area…Section lost all-county selection and leading scorer Haley Smart but return three starters. The varsity roster had just six players last season but has grown to include 14 this season…Section will play in an area with Jackson County rivals Pisgah and Section for the first time since the AHSAA expanded to six classifications in 1984.

› Quoting coach: “Our goal is to be solid defensively, and improve each game as the season progresses. Our players have been working extremely hard to learn how we want to play both defensively and offensively.  We have great kids who have great attitudes, they are all very coachable and excited to learn.”

› Area outlook: “Our area is really strong.  We will be tested in every game.  We look forward to meeting the challenges of a difficult area and hope to be competitive in each and every game.”

 

SKYLINE VIKINGS

› Coach: Ronnie McCarver (ninth season)

› First game: Nov. 13 at Brindlee Mountain (Won 69-34)

› Area: Class 1A Area 13

› Area opponents: Woodville, Cedar Bluff, Gaylesville and Valley Head

› 2017-18 record/finish: 27-4

› Roster: Aidan Bellomy, Audra Bellomy, Autumn Keeton, Kaina King, Kenzie Manning, Brinlee Potts, Gracie Rowell, Morgan Sanders, Blakely Stucky, Gracie Stucky, Lexie Stucky

› Returning starters: Aidan Bellomy, Morgan Sanders, Gracie Stucky

› Storylines: Skyline lost only two players from last year's roster, including Shorter signee Bailey Usrey...Former Geraldine varsity boys basketball head coach Joey Rowell has joined the Skyline girls and boys programs as an assistant coach. His daughter Gracie, a starter at Geraldine last season, joined him at Skyline....The Vikings enter the season having won three straight area  championships and having played in the Northeast Regional the past four seasons...Skyline's area now adds Cedar Bluff to go with Woodville, Gaylesville and Valley Head.

 

WOODVILLE PANTHERS

› Coach: Hannah Vann (first season)

› First game: Nov. 20 vs. Whitesburg Christian

› Area: Class 1A Area 13

› Area opponents: Skyline, Cedar Bluff, Gaylesville, Valley Head

› 2019-20 record/finish: 5-23; Class 1A Area 14 Tournament semifinals

› Roster: Seniors Laci Downey, Sheridan Powell; juniors Alexis Brown, Molly Gifford, Abigail Sharp; sophomores Karlee Hutchens, Jessica Sirten; freshmen Destiny Holt, Michaela Jones, Anna Robertson; seventh-graders Kallie Brown, Kaley Kennamer

› Returning starters: 1 — Jessica Sirten

› Storylines: Hannah Vann, the former Hannah Vest, takes over as head coach as spending last season as an assistant coach with the program…Vann was a standout player at North Sand Mountain before going on to play collegiate at Wallace State and Faulkner…The Panthers return one starter from a year ago and have only five combined seniors and juniors…Woodville will play in a five-team area with Skyline, Cedar Bluff, Gaylesville and Valley Head.

› Quoting coach: “The transition from assistant coach to head coach has been smooth. Having already developed relationships with the players made the transition easy. Going into the offseason I knew our strengths and weaknesses. The girls understand the expectations I have for them and this program. I am excited for the season to get underway. The strength of our team this year is going to be hustle and determination. My players come to practice each day wanting to learn and get better. If we keep this mentality, we can be a successful basketball team. I tell the girls regularly, get better every day. If the girls come to practice every day with the correct attitude and determination to be the best they can be, we will have a successful season.” 

› Area outlook: “Our area is going to be tough and competitive this year.  It’s going to take our best to finish towards the top of the area.”

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