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Part I: Local sports before COVID-19

This is the first part of a series detailing the sports year in review in Chambers County.

Jan. 8

Lanett head coach Richard Carter reaches 700 wins with 74-33 road win

Richard Carter celebrated his 700th win in an area win against Loachapoka. Carter had been on the sideline for nearly 50 years before retiring at the end of the 2019-20 basketball season.

Jan. 16

Lanett QB Story becomes first chambers county player to win mr. football

The Lanett quarterback had already finished his high school football career with a state championship and had committed to Alabama. He made history as the first player from 1A and the first player from Chambers County to win the Alabama Sports Writers Association Mr. Football award, which is given to the best football player in the state.

LaFayette hires new football coach, AD

At the monthly school board meeting, Chambers County School District Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge announced the hire of Juan Williams as LaFayette’s new head football coach and athletic director.

Jan. 17

Springwood boys upsets Chambers

After finishing winless a year ago, Springwood boys basketball had their first marquee win in the Lisa Sampson era, as it defeated ranked Chambers Academy 48-46 in a tight game that went down to the wire.

Jan. 18

LaFayette boys sweep lanett

For the first time in nearly a decade, the LaFayette boys basketball team swept Lanett. The Bulldogs held off a late run to blow out the Panthers on the road. Senior Tae Burton finished with 30 points in the win.

Lanett girls hit buzzer-beater, beat LaFayette 39-37

With less than four seconds remaining, Lanett’s Alyse Madden grabbed an offensive rebound and flipped up a shot that fell when the final horn sounded. The Panthers avoided the sweep with the win.

Jan. 27

Beulah girls win regular-season area title

Beulah won the regular-season area title with a dominant win against Dadeville. The Bobcats built a double-digit lead in the first half and controlled the game in the second half with tight defense.

Feb. 1

Valley boys

upset Lanett 68-60 in overtime on

senior night

The Valley boys basketball team upset Lanett in an emotional senior night that had a couple of fans escorted out by the police and a last-second shot. Valley controlled the game in overtime and didn’t allow the Panthers to get looks at the 3-point line in overtime.

Feb. 6

Walker signs with UTC

LaFayette star safety Jordan Walker signed his official letter of intent to play football at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Walker will be playing for UTC when they start playing in the spring.

Hamlin joins Lions on Signing Day

Valley defensive lineman  Jaden “JD” Hamlin signed his official letter of intent with East Mississippi Community College. In his senior year at Valley, Hamlin finished with 91 tackles.

Brooks signs with Faulkner

Chambers Academy center Gabe Brooks signed his letter of intent with Faulkner University. He became the first of three members of the Rebels senior class to sign with the university.

Whitlow transfers

After leading Auburn with 763 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns his redshirt sophomore season, LaFayette native JaTarvious Whitlow entered the transfer portal. He later announced that he would attend Western Illinois.

Feb. 8

LaFayette claims 2A, area 9

championship

LaFayette boys basketball dominated Ranburne to win the area championship. The Bulldogs scored more points in the opening quarter (22) than they allowed the entire game (20).

Feb. 15

Chambers boys lose in state title game

The Chambers Academy boys lost 50-40 to Evangel in the state championship game for the second consecutive year. The Rebels struggled in the fourth quarter to score, which ultimately led to their downfall.

Chambers girls lose in

championship

The Chambers Academy girls lost to Southern in the state championship game. The Rebels struggled to score in the first quarter, building a large deficit they could never overcome.

Feb. 18

Valley girls lose in regional

The Valley girls basketball team lost in its first game in Montgomery, losing to Sylacauga 41-34. The Rams struggled early in the game to score.

The first-quarter deficit that Sylacauga built held up the entire game.

Feb. 21

Barber, Daniel named to AISA

All-Star team

Springwood’s McKayla Barber and Chambers Academy’s Raphe Daniel were selected to the Alabama Independent School Association 2020 All-Star teams.

Barber finished averaging 11.1 points a game and 4.8 assists a game. Daniel averaged a double-double for the Rebels, finishing with 10.5 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Feb. 22

Rebels named to AISA All-

Tournament team

Four players from Chambers Academy were named to the AISA All-Tournament team.

Shelly Keebler and junior center Britten Stephens were selected to the girls’ team, while Raphe Daniel and junior Payton Allen were selected for the boys’ team.

Feb. 25

LaFayette loses to Barbour co. in State semifinal

The LaFayette boys basketball team lost in the state semifinal game to Barbour County. It was the team’s first loss of the season. The Bulldogs allowed a late shot in the game that cost them the win.

Feb. 28

Lanett falls to Pickens 57-55 in 1A State title game

The Lanett Panthers lost to Pickens County in the 1A State Championship game. The Panthers had a chance to win the game at the end but could not make the final shot. It was also Richard Carter’s final game as a head coach, stepping away from more than 50 years of basketball.

March 14

Spring sports go on hold because of coronavirus

The first COVID-19 case in the state of Alabama was confirmed on March 13. Because of the first positive test, the AHSAA initially shut down spring sports for two and a half weeks.