From the junior high divisions to junior varsity and varsity, Plainview made its mark on the 2023 DeKalb County Tournament by winning each division championship Saturday.
Lauren Jimmerson scored 16 points with five rebounds, Kami Sanders had 13 points and five rebounds and top-seeded Plainview held off No. 3-seeded Sylvania’s late push, winning 55-51 in the DCT varsity girls final at DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville.
“I was proud of the girls. We needed that [close game],” Plainview head coach Luke Griggs said. “A lot of our games haven’t been so close and that close game was good for us for learning time management down the stretch, being able to get the ball in bounds, things like that.”
Sylvania head coach Kyle Finch ran to the nearest official at midcourt and called timeout after Leianna Currie drained a 3-pointer with 18.7 seconds left in regulation, pulling the Rams (15-6) within 52-49.
Plainview (22-3) shot 50% from the foul line in the final seconds.
Currie drew a foul on a 3-point shot attempt with 11.4 seconds remaining, made the first two free throws and missed the third, bringing the Rams within 54-51.
Finch called his final timeout with 6.4 seconds to play and Plainview’s Ali Price drew a foul with 1 second left, splitting the ensuing free throws and wrapping the game.
The Rams trailed for the entire game but stayed within striking distance the whole way. After facing an early 7-0 deficit amid a series of quality shot attempts not falling, Lilley Frost assisted Kirby Wisner with a 3-pointer to allow Sylvania to close the first quarter trailing 17-7.
The Bears led by as many as 13 points in the second period. Jimmerson found Sawyer Kate Hulgan, who earned varsity girls tournament MVP, for a 3-pointer from the wing to extend the lead to 22-9 with 7 minutes left in the half. Jimmerson sank two free throws and Gracie Rowell hit a 3-pointer down the stretch.
Meanwhile, Sylvania’s Ambriel Stopyak produced a layup and two free throws, Anna Murdock converted a 3-point play and Frost drilled a 3-point basket to narrow the scoring gap to 27-22 at intermission.
“Sylvania has a well-coached team,” Griggs said. “They have good players and they played really hard. We knew it was going to be tough and it was. Proud of the way Sylvania competed today.”
In the third period, Currie produced a 3-point play and Frost swished a 3-pointer from the corner, while Hulgan sank a buzzer-beating 3 from the wing to give Plainview a 39-32 advantage.
The Rams cut the deficit to one point at two different times in the final frame, including when Currie made a pair of free throws to make it 41-40 with 4:55 remaining.
Saydi Jackson collected 12 rebounds and Price added six rebounds for the Bears.
Varsity girls all-tournament team:
Sawyer Kate Hulgan, Plainview (MVP); Lauren Jimmerson, Plainview; Kami Sanders, Plainview; Gracie Rowell, Plainview; Leianna Currie, Sylvania; Anna Murdock, Sylvania; Ambriel Stopyak, Sylvania; Kennzie Smith, Ider; Hallie Burns, Geraldine; Bella Lewis, Valley Head; Emma Twilley, Fyffe; Tyla Tatum, Collinsville
Plainview 72, Geraldine 55 —
Luke Smith was named varsity boys tournament MVP after tallying a game-high 28 points and eight rebounds, helping top-seeded Plainview capture its second straight DCT championship.
Jonah Williams poured in four 3-point baskets across a stretch of the second quarter and finished with 14 points for the Bears (21-4). Dylan Haymon scored 14 points with five assists, as the Bears made their ninth DCT finals appearance under head coach Robi Coker’s guidance. Plainview won tournament titles in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2022.
“Geraldine hit six 3s early and really got in a good rhythm and scored the ball at a high rate,” Coker said. “I thought our guys did a good job of managing the storm.”
Plainview banked on its depth to flex in the tournament’s biggest game, and the bench players delivered.
“Landon White got in a little foul trouble, Dylan Haymon got in some foul trouble, we had some guys off the bench who really grew up tonight and played some heavy minutes," Coker said. "Owen Wilborn and Ty Griggs were good, Sawyer Fraley showed some spurts as well. I just thought that it was another opportunity for our team to shine and our depth to be a factor. I’m really proud of all the guys and the way they responded.”
Jaxon Colvin finished with 19 points and Connor Johnson added 18 points for the No. 2-seeded Bulldogs (15-9), who took command early with a 21-18 advantage by the end of the first quarter. Colvin sank a jump shot and swished back-to-back 3-point baskets from the wing to expand the lead to 17-6 with 1:50 to play in the period.
White assisted Smith with a layup, before Haymon dished to Smith for another layup with a minute left. Smith added a putback layup and buzzer-beating, two-handed dunk.
With 2:32 left in the half, Levi Brown assisted Williams with a game-tying 3-pointer. Smith scored a putback layup to lift the Bears into the lead for good at 33-31 at the 2:10 mark, before Williams swished consecutive 3s off Geraldine turnovers and another 3 from the wing to extend the margin to 42-33.
Colvin dished to Johnson for a 3 with 10.5 seconds left to narrow the game to 42-36 at halftime.
“Geraldine did a great job of finding their shooters,” Coker said. “Colvin, Bryant, Johnson and Smith — they have guys who are obviously skilled on the floor. Those guys got good looks and they knocked them down.
“I thought we did a good job of creating some turnovers there in the second quarter to kind of get back in the game, and then we went on that run where Jonah got crazy hot there in the second quarter; our guys found him, set good screens, made good passes.
“…This group’s unselfishness is their strength and they continue to show it every night out.”
A Haymon layup put Plainview in front 50-40 with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter, and a Smith dunk at the 1:06 mark made it 61-46 and the Bears maintained a 61-49 advantage entering the fourth period.
Varsity boys all-tournament team:
Luke Smith, Plainview (MVP); Dylan Haymon, Plainview; Jonah Williams, Plainview; Landon White, Plainview; Connor Johnson, Geraldine; Jaxon Colvin, Geraldine; Redick Smith, Geraldine; Lucas Bryant, Geraldine; Eli Butts, Fyffe; Josh Scott, Sylvania; Colton Wills, Collinsville; Kaejuan Hatley, Crossville.