The third day of regional championship action at Wallace State saw Belgreen advance to the state semi-finals for the first time since 1994.
The Bulldogs defeated the Pickens County Tornadoes 73-58 Thursday, clinching the team’s first final four appearance in more than 25 years.
The team finished with a 61.2 field goal percentage and shot 50% from behind the arc. Scout Bragwell hit six of the team’s seven 3-pointers -- he finished with 24 points.
Will Bonner and Collin Bonner contributed 20 and 17 point performances, respectively.
Pickens County was unable to keep up with the Bulldogs’ pace, managing to get just about 37% of their shots to fall.
Javion Belle-McCrary led the Tornadoes with 23 points on 9-16 shooting.
Ending a long-standing drought, head coach Marty Cooper said he’s very proud of his guy and is excited for the community.
“Being 1A, we’re a small school, but we’re really a small school -- kinda out in the middle of nowhere,” Cooper said. “I’m really happy. I mean I’ve coached for 30 years, I’m happy for our community, I’m happy for our kids.”
The team is slated to take on Notasulga on Mar. 2 at Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham.
Earlier in the day, Austin’s final four hopes were crushed by Hoover.
It was almost immediately clear that Bucs had the advantage, opening the game on a 16-2 run. The team would record 14 steals, leading to 30 fastbreak points. Aniya Hubbard led Hoover with 25 points.
The Bucs defense forced 27 turnovers and held Austin to five total points in the second half, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
A dismal day of 3-point shooting (1-17) and a Hoover team with only one loss on its record proved to be too much to overcome for the Black Bears.
After the game, Austin head coach Bruce Hamilton said his team is going to learn from this loss.
“Hoover is very physical, very fast, they defend well, they rotate well and you can’t, you know you can’t be uncertain with what you’re doing,” Hamilton said. “I think we learned a lot in this game and I think it’s definitely something we can take forward in the future, for sure.”