Kenny Hill received a memorable gift for his 42nd birthday.
The Scottsboro varsity boys basketball team outscored Saint John Paul II 20-3 in the fourth quarter to post a season-opening 65-43 victory Thursday night in Huntsville.
The win was the 100th for Hill as the head coach at his alma mater.
“That’s just a testament to I’ve had a good staff that has stuck in there with me and we’ve had good players,” Hill said. “That’s a testament to them and the work they’ve done. I’m just really proud of everything that’s been done with the program.”
Hill is now 100-83 with two area championships and three Northeast Regional appearances — the only three in SHS history — as he begins his seventh season leading the Wildcats. His career record, including his two seasons as Enterprise’s head coach, is 138-104.
Scottsboro (1-0) showed the depth of its team in the win as three players scored in double figures and two more scored at least six despite the team missing three key players. Last year’s leading scorer Butler Bell is out with an injury and Jordan Davis and Noah Linville are still with the Scottsboro football team.
Sophomore Jacob Cooper had double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats while freshman Parker Bell sank four 3-pointers and closed with 16 points and four rebounds. Junior point guard B.J. Harris, back after missing most of the 2018-19 season because of an injury, scored 15 points — he had 12 points during Scottsboro’s decisive scoring run in the fourth quarter — to go with two steals and four deflections. Javaris Branford pitched in eight points and four rebounds and Dylan Fairbanks had six points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
Nick Bonifay led SJPII (0-1) with 13 points while Thomas Howald netted 11 and James Shores added 10.
The Falcons, who have lost six straight to the Wildcats, took an early 4-0 lead before Scottsboro held leads of 18-17, 33-27 and 45-40 at the quarter breaks. SJPII cut Scottsboro’s lead to two on Howald’s 3-pointer with 7:03 remaining, but the Wildcats held SJPII scoreless the rest of the way.
“We just challenged them do better defensively,” Hill said. “We got a group in there that was fighting and playing hard. That’s what we want to do, defend and get multiple stops in a row and push a lead out. It flipped the game.”