Eagles claim first State Basketball Championship

Covenant Christian defeated Decatur Heritage for 1A Championship
Class 1A State Tourney MVP Haston Alexander (10) of Covenant Christian looks for an open...
Class 1A State Tourney MVP Haston Alexander (10) of Covenant Christian looks for an open teammate in while Decatur Heritage’s Brayden Kyle (24) defends in the AHSAA championship game at Legacy Arena(Marvin Gentry | AHSAA Photo / MARVIN GENTRY)
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 10:03 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Covenant Christian coach Bret Waldrep knows size matters in basketball. Trailing by two after Decatur Heritage hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer, Waldrep turned to a tried-and-true plan: Get the ball to 6-foot-10 senior center Haston Alexander. That plan worked to perfection as Covenant Christian downed Decatur Heritage 49-37 to claim the school’s first AHSAA state championship to close out Thursday’s action at the AHSAA 100th State Basketball Championships being held at the BJCC Legacy Arena.

“Let’s be stubborn about it and get it to our man,” Waldrep said of his second-half plan. “Haston did a fantastic job offensively and defensively. Alexander, who earned Class 1A state tourney MVP honors, delivered two momentum-stealing dunks in the third quarter and Covenant Christian (29-6) pulled away to seal the win. “Pretty good strategy, isn’t it?” Waldrep said. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.” Alexander finished with 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting and added 10 rebounds to set the pace in a final dominated by tenacious defense on both sides. Decatur Heritage (21-8), coached by Jason Marshall, didn’t score in the first quarter, as Covenant built a 9-0 lead.

However, the team rebounded Bryant Pitts’ 3-pointer just before halftime gave the Eagles their first lead at 17-15. Decatur Heritage never found any offensive rhythm, shooting 25 percent (12-for-48) from the field, including 7-for-34 from 3-point range. The team’s leading sorer all season, Brayden Kyle finished with only two points. “Somebody put a lid back on the rim,” said Decatur Heritage coach Jason Marshall, referring to the second half. “We didn’t knock down any shots.”

Bo Solley led Decatur Heritage with 11 points and three assists, and Pitts had nine points. Reed Trapp added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Covenant, which won its first state championship in school history. “I still can’t believe it,” Covenant guard Zeke Griffin told reporters after the game.

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