Second annual Tony Stallworth Invitational

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The hardwood court at Brantley High School’s gymnasium came alive with intense competition during the second annual Tony Stallworth Invitational. The tournament, which took place Dec. 14-16, featured spirited matchups among all three county schools and visiting teams from neighboring areas. The participating teams included the Greenville Tigers, the J.F. Shields Panthers, the Calhoun Tigers, the Elba Tigers, the Central High School Lions and the Goshen Eagles. 

Seven standout Crenshaw County students earned the prestigious honor of being selected for the All-Tournament team and included Luverne’s Jadin Harris and Brantley players Daylan Davis, Janyies Tyson and Jayden Parks, along with Highland Home School students C.J May, J.J. Faulk and Tyler Chaney. Also on the All-Tournament team were Tyler Robertson and Brenterris Managan from Calhoun, Jalance Kimbrough from J.F. Shields and Eriyon Rudolph from Greenville. 

The tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) title went to Jayden Parks of Brantley High School, who demonstrated exceptional skills and leadership throughout the competition. In a pivotal match against J.F. Shields, Parks led his team to a commanding 70-55 victory, boasting an impressive 35 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. His teammate Dylan Davis also contributed significantly with 17 points and 14 rebounds in the same game.

“Being named MVP in Coach Stallworth’s tournament means a lot to me and was a humbling experience,” Parks said  “Anytime I get to represent my school and my teammates it is a privilege. I appreciate all the support from my community and I am thankful for this honor.”

The tournament featured thrilling encounters, including Highland Home’s dominant 67-36 win against Greenville and a closely contested battle where Calhoun secured a narrow 54-49 victory over Luverne.

Friday’s matchups intensified the competition, with Luverne facing J.F. Shields and Highland Home taking on Calhoun. J.F. Shields secured a 60-52 victory over Luverne, while Highland Home narrowly triumphed over Calhoun with a score of 63-62. The final game of the day witnessed a showdown between the Bulldogs and the Central Lions, with the Bulldogs emerging victorious with a final score of 51-35.

The last day of the tournament featured three matches for Crenshaw County players. Luverne faced Central, resulting in a 69-42 victory for the Tigers. Highland Home finished out the tournament with a 59-20 triumph over Elba, and Brantley closed the tournament on a high note by defeating Goshen with a score of 65-46.

Richard Dorsey, head basketball coach at Luverne High School, expressed the value of the tournament in preparing his players for the upcoming regular season area games. Dorsey noted that facing teams with different playing styles provided crucial insights for his team’s development.

Andre Parks, head coach for the boys varsity team at Brantley, expressed his satisfaction with the tournament’s success and growth. Parks acknowledged Coach Stallworth’s dedication and sacrifice for Brantley and the significance of honoring him through the annual tournament.

“I believe in giving people their flowers while they are still here and this tournament in Tony Stallworth’s honor is just a small gesture of appreciation for all the time, sacrifice, and dedication he gave to Brantley during his time here, and he is still dedicated to Brantley,” Parks said.

Justin Cope, coach for Highland Home, commended standout players JJ Faulk, CJ May, Tyler Chaney, TJ Washington, and Brice McKenzie, acknowledging the tournament’s role in identifying areas for improvement. 

“The Tony Stallworth  Invitational gave us a good look at what we need to focus on,” Cope said. “We played three good teams and each game taught us a lot and will make us a stronger team. I am proud of every one of our players and I can’t wait to see their improvement as the season goes on.”