Parrish cruises to Northwest Regional title
by W. Brian Hale
Feb 22, 2014 | 2072 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parrish players hoist the regional championship trophy after the Tornadoes defeated Belgreen 62-37 for the Class 1A boys regional title Friday night at Wallace State-Hanceville’s Tom Drake Coliseum. Parrish takes on Sunshine at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Final Four. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Parrish players hoist the regional championship trophy after the Tornadoes defeated Belgreen 62-37 for the Class 1A boys regional title Friday night at Wallace State-Hanceville’s Tom Drake Coliseum. Parrish takes on Sunshine at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Final Four. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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HANCEVILLE — The third-ranked Parrish Tornadoes’ goal of earning a trip to the AHSAA Final Four Tournament in Birmingham successfully culminated on Friday with a dominating 62-37 victory over the Belgreen Bulldogs and the program’s first Northwest Regional Championship  at Wallace State-Hanceville.

Parrish’s formula for victory — which has propelled the team to a 27-2 record, as well as county and area championships — prevailed at Wallace State’s Tom Drake Coliseum: a high-tempo, pressure defense that forces turnovers and leads to transition baskets on offense.

Against the Bulldogs’ impressive 3-point shooting offense, the Tornadoes proved relentless — allowing only 6-of-33 shots from outside of the perimeter, including just one 3-point basket in the second half.

Offensively, Parrish was just as effective, with Denzell Daley, Barry Hill and Jermichael Harris all scoring in double digits. Hill recorded a double-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, while Harris finished with a double-double of his own — 13 points and 11 rebounds. Daley led the Tornadoes with 16 points.

Daley was named the All-Tournament Team, along with Hill — who was named the Tournament MVP. Demonte Hobbs of Sumiton Christian also was named to the team.

“Our gameplan was to come out and contest shots — particularly Belgreen’s 3-point shots. They have two incredibly good 3-point guys, in Chase Landers and Dustin Smith, who can hurt you. We were able to shut down Landers, and though Smith hit some shots that were contested, I thought our guys did a good job of getting through their screens, boxing out and winning the battle of the boards,” Parrish coach Heath Burns said. “Reginald Harris did a tremendous job of guarding Landers — holding him to four points was a big key to the game. Overall, this the best defensive performance we’ve had this year — it was an all-around team effort.”

Landers, who scored 32 against Sumiton Christian on Tuesday in the semi-finals, said the Tornadoes’ length and speed presented a daunting challenge.

“It was hard to get anything established offensively,” Landers said. “With their speed, they cover virtually the entire court. We like to play fast ball, but not that fast.”

Hill, who vividly recalled the outcome of last season’s region championship loss to Marion County, said that the team was motivated to ensure a different result in this year’s title match.

“How everything ended last year left a bad taste in our mouth — we hated that a great season came to an end like that,” Hill said. “This year, we made the decision that we were going to play hard. Win or lose, that was our focus — we came out and did that by executing and playing good defense.”

Belgreen’s only lead of the game came on a basket early in the first period.

Parrish responded with an 11-6 run to take the 11-8 advantage.

The Tornadoes asserted firm control in the second period — with Hill, Daley and Jermichael Harris adding 12 of the team’s 21 points to the lead, with Parrish on top, 32-21, at halftime.

The third-period scoring battle went to the Tornadoes after an 18-10 run that extended the lead to 50-31.

Parrish closed the game with a 12-6 run in the fourth period to secure the 62-37 title-winning victory.

The Tornadoes will open the state tournament against the No. 2 Sunshine Tigers (25-2) on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The Tigers beat the Brantley Bulldogs, 82-80, to win the South Region Championship on Friday.