New areas for basketball, baseball, softball

The new classifications and alignments released last month by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) meant quite a bit of change for Blount County’s high school football teams. The same can be said for other sports, as well.

Every school in the county gets an almost completely new area alignment for other sports, as well, and for some schools it’s a huge change. Basketball

Perhaps no school gets as big a change as Oneonta. For the last two years, the Redskins have been in a cozy 4A Area 10 with Good Hope, Locust Fork and J.B. Pennington – an area easy on travel and good for the gate with a pair of county rivals.

Well, say good-bye to some gas money, Redskin fans.

Oneonta will compete in the new 4A Area 9 with Ashville, Leeds and Childersburg. Oneonta and Ashville have been area opponents at various times but Leeds and Childersburg will be completely new area rivals – and very competitive on the court.

Hayden gets three new area foes for 2016-2018 in 5A Area 12, and all are familiar to Wildcat fans. Curry, Fairview and West Point should provide solid competition but nothing that Hayden hasn’t seen the last couple of years with Springville, Mortimer Jordan and Moody.

The new 3A Area 11 should be competitive and it is definitely loaded with Blount County talent. Locust Fork, J.B. Pennington and Susan Moore are joined by Holly Pond and the Broncos (and Lady Broncos) should be loaded. The Hornets and Broncos look to be the top two but don’t count out the Tigers and Bulldogs (and Lady Tigers and Lady Bulldogs).

Cleveland has been all over the place the last three or four times the state has reclassified and the Panthers are on the move again. The new 2A Area 11 has Cleveland with West End, Tarrant and Altamont. Nothing new for a Cleveland program that has tangled with loaded Tanner and Asbury over the last several years.

In Class 1A, Appalachian and Southeastern are part of the new Area 11 and that looks to be an improvement for both. Appalachian finally gets away from top-ranked Sacred Heart, a team that routinely knocks off 7A competition. Southeastern comes back down from 2A and will join Appalachian Coosa Christian and Ragland in what should be an evenly-matched Area 11.

Other sports

For the most part, the areas for basketball carry over to baseball, volleyball and softball.

There are some exceptions, however,

1A Area 11 has Appalachian, Coosa Christian and Southeastern as a three-team area for baseball, softball and volleyball. It’s a three-team area because Ragland goes to Area 7 with Talladega County Central and Victory Christian.

In 2A Area 11, Cleveland is joined by Altamont, Tarrant and West End for baseball but the softball area is just Cleveland, Tarrant and West End – Altamont does not have a softball team. The 2A Area 11 volleyball is just a three-team area, as well, except this group has Cleveland playing Westbrook Christian and West End. Altamont volleyball competes in Area 10 with Cold Springs and Tarrant.

All other areas involving Blount County schools will be the same for baseball, softball and volleyball.