Brantley, FDA girls debut in Top 10

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2005

When the first high school basketball poll was released earlier this week, Brantley boys basketball coach Tony Stallworth didn't even cringe.

The Bulldogs, who were ranked No. 3 in the state by member of the Alabama Sports Writers Accociation, are used to being in the Class 1A limelight every year.

&#8220It just doesn't phase me or our kids anymore,” Stallworth said. &#8220They don't get caught up in (the rankings), and we look at it more or less as recognition of our program and what we have achieved over the past years.”

Brantley has jumped out to a 5-1 mark so far after cruising past McKenzie Friday night in the opening round of the Southeastern Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Bulldogs will play for the championship later tonight before traveling to Georgiana on Monday and McKenzie on Tuesday.

Reggie Mantooth also is accustomed to being a mainstay as a top 10 program among schools in the Alabama Independent School Association. His Lady Eagles are ranked No. 5.

Fort Dale faced No. 1 and defending Class AAA champion, Faith Academy, late Friday in the opening round of the Faith Academy Christmas Classic. The Lady Eagles lost previously to Faith in the championship round of the Fort Dale Thanksgiving Classic.

LeFlore of Mobile won 35 straight games last season and reached a No. 2 ranking nationally before losing to Auburn in the Class 6A state finals at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Complex.

The Rattlers, even more determined, are 8-0 out of the gate this season and are ranked first in the Class

6A boys state rankings released Wednesday by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. John Carroll Catholic (10-0), which won back-to-back state crowns in 2003 and 2004, are No. 2 in the first ASWA poll of the season. Sparkman (12-1) is third and road

warrior Huffman (7-4), which has traveled to Little Rock, Ark., and St. Louis for games already, is fourth.

Other boys leaders in the first poll include:

Butler (7-1) in Class 5A; Southside-Selma (5-0) in 4A; Sumter County (8-0) in 3A; Altamont (10-1) in 2A; defending state champ J.F. Shields (6-4) in 1A; and defending champ Cottage Hill Christian (8-0)

in the AISA.

On the girls side, Jeff Davis (11-1) is the leader in Class 6A, and in Class 5A, Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson (8-0) edged

out two-time defending state champ Ramsay (8-2) and red-hot Jess Lanier (12-0) for the top spot in 5A. Other leaders include: defending

champ Deshler (8-0) in 4A; defending champ Pisgah (9-0) in 3A; Samson (8-0) in 2A; defending champ Spring Garden (7-3)

in 1A; and defending champ Faith Academy (7-1) in the AISA.

The next ASWA state basketball poll will be released after the New Year’s break on Jan. 4. The poll is compiled by The

Birmingham News in conjunction with a panel of ASWA member sports writers who serve as contributors.