All-Star Sports Week Showcases Local High School Talent
MONTGOMERY– The 2022 All-Star Sports Week is now in the history books. The annual Alabama High School Athletic Association high school athletic competition in several sports and part of the AHSAA’s Summer Conference showed a final tally of the North collecting 11 series wins while the South took three wins for the week.
The North won girls golf, boys golf, girls basketball, boys basketball, girls cross country, girls tennis, softball, girls soccer, boys soccer and volleyball. The South won the honors in baseball, boys cross country and boys tennis.
The entire competition was held in Montgomery and dates back as far back as 1953. Athletes from local schools who are rising seniors featured four from Sparkman, three from Bob Jones and two from James Clemens.
Sparkman’s Cassie Reasner went 4-for-4 while playing three different positions to help lead the North to a 6-3, 10-5 sweep of the South in the 26th annual softball doubleheader at Lagoon Park.
“I just wanted to play, and the experience was super fun,” said the 5-foot-10 Reasner, who plays shortstop for the Lady Senators.
In game one where she played second and third base in the field, Reasner was 2-2 with one RBI in the 6-3 victory. In the second game, the Kentucky Wildcats commit again went 2-2 with an RBI and scored two runs in the 10-5 win. She played second base and centerfield.
“I thought my hits in game two were better as I felt very comfortable at the plate,” said Reasner who has a 3.9 grade point average, is an All-State volleyball player for Sparkman and wants to study physical therapy once she attends Kentucky with a softball scholarship. “It was great to get back to playing as I missed the post-season play at the end of last season due to my suffering a right knee injury when sliding into second base, which required 20 stitches on the final regular season game.”
The sweep gives the North a 29-23-3 edge in the softball series which was first played in 1997.
Both Sam Mitchell of Bob Jones and Jack Buening of Sparkman were starters for the North squad in the baseball doubleheader played at Riverwalk Stadium. The South won the competition with a 5-0 victory in game one and rallied for a 2-2 tie in game two to earn the 2022 matchup on the diamond, though the North still holds a 23-16-3 series lead in the games first played in 1997.
Four South pitchers combined to hurl a three-hitter in the shutout opening game win. Those going down to the elite pitchers included Buening and Mitchell, both of whom were hitless. Buening played left field and was a designated hitter as he normally catches for Sparkman while Mitchell took his turn at first base though he also pitches. In the second game, the North scored early only to see the South score two runs in the fourth inning to tie the score. Again, both Buening and Mitchell were hitless at the plate. Mitchell did take to the mound as starting pitcher as the 6-foot-6 strong armed thrower tossed two innings giving up just two hits and no runs with two strikeouts.
The North improved its overall series record to 15-9 over the South in the volleyball competition, but it wasn’t easy as the squad, which featured Sparkman’s Ariel Fuqua, won the battle 3-2 in what many describe as the best clash in the history of the event.
The North won the first two games by scores of 25-20 and 25-18, but the South fought back to claim games three and four 25-21 and 25-23 respectively. In the final game of the five-game set, the North returned to its aggressive style of play seen in the first two games and closed out the match with two big points to win 15-11.
Sparkman setter Fuqua totaled 31 assists and six digs in the victory. The 5-foot-7 rising senior led the North with 65 total attempts and her statistics included two kills and five spikes.
The North All-Stars used an intense pressure defense to force 26 South turnovers in route to a 75-52 win in the 24th annual girls basketball contest. Kennedy Langham (G, 5-8) of Sparkman scored four points coming off the bench for the North. She also had two rebounds and steals each in her 12 minutes of on-court playing time. The North exploded in the second half outscoring the South 42-19.
The North continues to dominate the South leading the series 22-3.
In the boy’s game, the North All-Stars posted a historic victory in the 79th playing of the game with a 101-91 victory. The win was the North’s 50th in the series first played in 1953 and owns a 50-29 edge in the AHSAA’s oldest cage classic.
The two local players were winners in their individual play, but their North teams split the final team results in the third annual tennis series as part All-Star Sports Week. The North girls downed the South 6-3 to improve to 3-0 in the series while the South boys posted a 6-3 win to give their squad its first win in the series first played in 2019.
In the boys, Hunter Johnston of Bob Jones teamed up with Albertville’s Curtis Richey to win the No. 3 doubles match defeating Lanier Bankston (Auburn) and Park Hart (McGill-Toolen) 7-5, 6-3. In the girls action, Panavvi Mandadpu of James Clemens scored an impressive 6-1, 6-3 win over Anna Warren of Enterprise to win the No. 6 singles match held at Lagoon Park.
Both the North boys and girls swept the South at Arrowhead Golf Club to increase its overall series lead of 3-0 in boys and 2-1 in girls golf competition. The North girls won the match-play golf match 47-25 sweeping three matches and tying one while the North boys won 62.5-27.5 with a 5-0 sweep in its five matches.
The boys match results included Will Gaddy of Bob Jones and Tristan Wisener of Hartselle posting the closest match of the competition 9.5-8.5 over Henry Lanham of St. Paul’s and Braxton Bonner of UMS-Wright. In the girls, Gracee Prince of James Clemens teamed up with Huntsville’s Ava Schwartz and fought to a 9-9 tie against the South’s two-player team of Yvette Gorden of Pike Road and Daphne’s Eza Velazquez.
The North All-Stars swept the South in the soccer competition winning the girls 5-0 and the boys 6-3. The North girls improved to 17-3-1 and the boys 14-4-1 in the series.
A split occurred in the final results of the cross country competition as the North girls defeated the South 19-38 while the South boys edged the North 22-33. The North remains the overall series leader in both divisions with 3-2 series records.