Published on February 1st, 2020 | by The Local Staff0
2020 Wiregrass Hoops Classic
One of the better events put on at the end of each year in the Wiregrass is the Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic. The Hoops Classic is a high school basketball tournament that runs each year from December 26th-31st featuring teams from the Wiregrass. The 2019 edition looked very familiar to the 2018 edition with the Eufaula Tigers winning the event for the third time in four years. In those four years the Tigers have a record of 15-1 at the Dothan Civic Center. The one loss over the stretch was a 65-55 defeat to the Abbeville Yellow Jackets in the 2017 Championship Game.
In the 2019 event the Eufaula Tigers used a suffocating defense and up-tempo offense to a dominating four game run. The Tigers held their opponents to just 29.5 points per game and held them to 30% shooting throughout the tournament. The point total for the opponents were 21, 29, 34, and 34 again in the championship game against the Enterprise Wildcats. The Tigers defense controlled the championship game with great defense in the 59-34 victory. In the first three rounds the Tigers defeated Dale County, Providence Christian and Carroll High School.
Enterprise came into the final game with a lot of confidence after defeating the very talented Barbour County Jaguars 74-67 with a big night from three-point land. The Wildcats were 10 for 23 (44%) from three in the semifinal match-up and were led by senior forward Dallas Howell. Howell went four for six from distance and had 22 points in the game. The Wildcats were not able to replicate that performance against Eufaula. Enterprise shot 28% overall and 21% (4/19) from three. The game was a defensive struggle for both teams with Eufaula having their worst offensive performance of the tournament. The Tigers hit just 43% of their shots and the only held a 40-31 lead going into the final quarter. Eufaula outscored Enterprise 19-3 in the fourth to create distance on the scoreboard to take the 2019 Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic Championship.
Eufaula had balanced scoring throughout the tournament with different players stepping up each night. The leading scorer for the Tigers was senior guard Jadarious Blackshire with 14.3 points per game and he saved his best for the championship with 18 points. Not far behind was senior forward EIszeric Thomas averaging 13.3 points per contest. For Thomas his best performance was in the second round with 26 points in a 65-29 victory over Providence Christian.
There were several other highlights during the 2019 Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic starting on the very first night. The Dothan Wolves made an early exit after a 57-56 defeat to the Carroll Eagles on a buzzer beater. At halftime of that game the legendary Coach Johnny Oppert was honored by having the court named after him. The best game of the tournament took place on day two with a double overtime thriller between Rehobeth and Abbeville that saw the Rebels win 80-71. Carroll continued their momentum of defeating the Wolves and finished with third place by defeating Barbour County 85-68 in the consolation game. Lastly, the Eufaula Tigers were not the only ones to repeat. Headland sophomore guard Patrick Burke was able to win the three-point contest for the second consecutive year.
First Round – Day One
Daleville 66, Ashford 40
Eufaula 65, Dale County 21
Carroll 57, Dothan 56
Providence Christian 56, Houston County 48
First Round – Day Two
Rehobeth 80, Abbeville 71 (2OT)
Geneva 62, Wicksburg 59
Barbour County 54, Houston Academy 31
Enterprise 67, Headland 55
Second Round – Day Three
Carroll 60, Daleville 54
Eufaula 65, Providence 29
Barbour County 76, Rehobeth 70
Enterprise 73, Geneva 42
Semi-Finals – Day Four
Eufaula 70, Carroll 34
Enterprise 74, Barbour County 67
Carroll 85, Barbour County 68
Eufaula 59, Enterprise 34
Jadarious Blackshire (Eufaula), Eiszeric Thomas (Eufaula), Caleb Paige (Eufaula), Dallas Howard (Enterprise), Jalen Cunningham (Enterprise), Damarion Holt (Enterprise), Daniel Pruitt (Carroll), Elijah Terry (Carroll), Bryson Dawkins (Carroll), Jaborius Bennett (Barbour County), Willie Screws (Barbour County), Ralpheal Williams (Barbour County), and Parker Turner (Rehobeth)
TOP Sportsmanship Award
Patrick Burke, Headland
Adam Deese 6th Man Award
Jared Smith, Enterprise