PHOTO: In the last second of overtime play, the Plainview Bears pulled off a state championship victory, defeating the Hillcrest-Evergreen Jaguars, 78-75. (Kristy Gallagher | Southern Torch)
By Marla Jones, Sports Editor
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In a game that will go down in Alabama High School Athletic Association (ASHAA) history, the Plainview Bears defeated the Hillcrest-Evergreen Jaguars 78-75, in overtime play to win the Class 3A State Championship.
Junior, Caden Millican, who earned the Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament, took a feed from senior point guard Jeffery Armstrong as time was running out, and sank a perfect 3-pointer as the final buzzer sounded. Millican finished the game with 37 points, sinking 6-of 10 3-pointers and going 9-of-10 at the foul line. In overtime, he added two free throws to tie the game. Armstrong shot 6-for-13 and finished with 18 points, five assists, five steals and eight rebounds.
“I want to give my Savior, Jesus Christ praise for everything he’s done for us,” said Caden Millican, “I practice that shot all the time” (as he was getting choked up).
When asked about his team's accomplishments, Coach Robi Coker had only high praise regarding his team. “This is a resilient group that always believe in themselves. These guys are so dedicated, unbelievable to see their commitment to each other. It’s a special bond,” said Coach Coker. “We trust all these guys to shoot threes...when Caden misses it, we think its a shocker."
The Plainview Varsity Boys basketball team shattered the State AHSAA record and the National record for 3-point shots attempted and made this season. The team also set a state record for the number of players with 3’s in a game. Plainview went 34-2 for the season and was a perfect 6-0 in area play. During the season, Plainview defeated the Class 1A State Champion, Sacred Heart and the Class 4A State Champions, Cordova. The team won the Sand Mountain Tournament and the DeKalb County Tournament. The Bears have made back-to-back appearances in the Championship game and won the first basketball championship in Plainview school history. Before last year's appearance in the State Championship, it had been almost forty years since Plainview had made it to a State Championship.
Coach Coker was recently been named coach for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game alongside point guard Jeffery Armstrong, who was named one of the eight players to be on the team. Many have reflected that the score of the State Championship win 78-75, which was an honor made to the Plainview Basketball team of 1978.