It was that time of year again when some of Alabama’s finest high school basketball coaches came together before official practices began primarily to raise funds for Midfield High School’s boys basketball program, but also to prove they can still ball… Lonzo.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to refer to the guest team as Thomas’ Tribe, since Midfield’s Charles Thomas has been the captain of the visiting squad since the inception of the Coaches vs. Coaches event. The home team will be referred to as Barber’s Bunch, since Darrell Barber is not only team captain but Midfield’s head boys coach and the mastermind behind the fundraiser.
In 2015, it was a battle of point guards between Barber and Minor’s Derrick Williams, but the x-factor would be Hoover’s Charles Burkett. Click link for recap of 2015 game http://wp.me/p4cFCW-iV
Despite the loss, Barber was still thrilled to put on a successful fundraiser and looked forward to the following year.
Although Williams didn’t play in the 2016 game, Burkett put the Tribe on his back, and with the help of teammates like Woodlawn’s Chuck Winters, carried the team to back-to-back victories. Click link for recap of 2016 game http://wp.me/p4cFCW-r5
After two tough losses, Barber and the Bunch were determined to enter the win column in 2017. With a Winters trade from the Tribe to the Bunch and no Williams or Burkett on the Tribe’s roster, a win for Barber and the gang seemed to be in the palm of their hands… enter new Tribe member, Pinson Valley’s Jeremy Bogus; he would be a new burden for the Bunch.
What would’ve been a 16-14 lead for the Bunch at the end of the first quarter was squashed by a three-pointer at the buzzer by Bogus, lifting the Tribe to a 17-16 lead. Then, the Tribe opened the second period on a 6-0 run led by Bogus to take a 23-16 lead. In spite of the Bunch being plagued by turnovers, Huffman’s Steve Ward was a strong presence on the offensive boards creating second-chance points, cutting the deficit to 30-27 at the half.
The second half became a display of three-point shooting for both teams: Winters and Midfield’s Jones had the hot hand for the Bunch while Sacred Heart’s Coach Graves let if fly for the Tribe. But a combination of turnovers by the Bunch, Graves’ efficient stroke from the perimeter and Bogus dominating the offensive boards and playing “above the rim” like Thomas Sheppard was enough to push the Tribe to a 52-40 advantage entering the fourth period.
However, the Bunch wasn’t going away without a fight, applying a full-court press on the Tribe creating turnovers that led to transition buckets. Picking up where he left off in the first half, Ward continued his relentless efforts on the offensive boards for the Bunch and even knocked down a clutch three-pointer during the Bunch’s 16-4 run; Winters, Jones and Ward carried the scoring load for the Bunch in the fourth. Midfield’s Frazier, who had been quiet for most of the day, drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 56 with 2:55 left to play. At this point, the momentum favored the Bunch… at least that’s what everyone thought.
The Tribe would finish the game on a 9-0 run of its own led by none other than Bogus. He put the dagger in the Bunch with a final dunk in the same fashion Burkett did in 2015, and Thomas’ Tribe completed the trifecta with a final score of 65-56. Maybe next year Barber’s Bunch will have what it takes to stop the Tribe’s quest of completing a 4-peat. The 4th annual Coaches vs. Coaches event will be held in October 2018 at Midfield High School.