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Area youth basketball team rises above hundreds to place second in state

The Monrovia 8-under All-Star recreation basketball team with its second-place trophy after falling to Anniston in the state championship game. Front row, from left: Bryce Curtis, Myles Hammonds, John David Gossett, Lawson Collier, Amaree Jabbar, Jayden Bell, TJ Carter, Jackson Lange. Matt Curtis, head coach, is pictured in the white shirt. David Gossett, assistant coach, is pictured back right with Jaylen Ruffin and Peyton Miller to his right. (Contributed)
The Monrovia 8-under All-Star recreation basketball team with its second-place trophy after falling to Anniston in the state championship game. Front row, from left: Bryce Curtis, Myles Hammonds, John David Gossett, Lawson Collier, Amaree Jabbar, Jayden Bell, TJ Carter, Jackson Lange. Matt Curtis, head coach, is pictured in the white shirt. David Gossett, assistant coach, is pictured back right with Jaylen Ruffin and Peyton Miller to his right. (Contributed)

By Nick Sellers | Staff Writer

MADISON COUNTY – A local 8-under All-Star recreation basketball team with Madison City and County ties is relishing a deep run in the state tournament that concluded March 14 in Hoover.

One of the two All-Star squads that is gleaned from the teams in the Monrovia Parks and Recreation’s recreation league, coached by Madison realtor Matt Curtis, had a Cinderella-like season by winning one of the seven districts in the state and qualifying for the All-Star state tournament.

Seventy teams qualified for district tournaments, and Curtis’ team was one of 14 across Alabama to qualify for the state tournament.

“Last year, Monrovia’s All Star team lost in the first round of district, so no one in the state was expecting our team to accomplish what it did,” Curtis said. “They even seeded us the worst seed No. 10 at the district tournament.”

The boys’ good fortune continued, as they throttled their first opponent in the state tournament by 35 points and blew out their second opponent, as well, by 22 points.

The semi-final game against a Montgomery team was a little closer. The Monrovia boys had a comfortable 10-point lead in the second half and nearly gave it away, but held on to win by one point to earn a trip to the state championship game against Anniston.

Though Monrovia held leads throughout the game, Anniston proved too much and won by five points.

“I’m just really proud of the kids because these are kids used to being the top players on the team,” Curtis said. “What we were able to do was bring a bunch of really good players together, and they learned their role very quickly.”

Curtis is also the K–6 basketball coordinator at Madison Academy. The Monrovia All-Stars combined kids from Madison Academy, Westminster Christian and Monrovia Elementary, as well as home-schooled children.

“This team was unselfish and was willing to do whatever it took to win,” Curtis said.

 

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