By Lee Davis
Mountain Brook basketball fans never thought anything would get better than the 2012-13 season, when the Spartans won their first-ever Class 6A state championship.
They were wrong.
Incredibly, the season that followed was even better. Despite the loss of numerous key players from the first championship team, Mountain Brook rebounded with a 34-3 mark and clinched a second consecutive crown with a dramatic 60-57 win over Blount. Just call it–dare we say it again–Dunk Dynasty.
“It goes back to our saying–we find a way,” said Spartan coach Bucky McMillan after the championship game. “We find a way to get it done. There is a lot of heart in our players.”
The now-legendary heart of the Mountain Brook players was reflected in tangible ways, not only with a state championship but also with a dominating presence on the 2013-14 All-Over the Mountain Boys’ Basketball Team, which was selected by an exclusive poll of the head coaches of the eight schools that play in Class 6A or 5A.
All five Spartan starters–TaWarren Grant, Patrick Keim, Alex Peters, Ben Sherer and Jack Kline–earned spots on the unit. Grant and Keim were chosen as Co-Players of the Year, and McMillan was picked as Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“This is a fitting tribute to our team,” McMillan said. “It reflects the team concept that we have built over the last two seasons. This also speaks to the support we have received from the school, the administration, the student body, the parents and the Mountain Brook community overall.”
Keim, a senior point guard, averaged nine points and four assists a game, but his statistics did not speak to his full value to the Mountain Brook cause.
“Patrick is the greatest leader I’ve ever seen in sports,” McMillan said. “Everyone knew that he always had the team’s best interest at heart all the time. In so many ways, Patrick was the glue that held us together.”
Grant, a junior guard, averaged 13 points and five rebounds per contest. He scored 22 points in the championship final and was named Most Valuable Player of the state 6A tournament.
“This was the hardest working team I’ve ever seen,” Grant said. “This was not about any individual. Nobody cared who scored. It was all about working hard, playing defense and winning. That’s all.”
Other players on the All-Over the Mountain team include Justin Brown and Josh Laatsch, Briarwood; Devin Hill, John Carroll Catholic; Malik Cook and Owen Ferguson, Homewood; Q Hardy and Austin Cherry, Hoover; Pierce Clarke, Oak Mountain; John Segrest and Austin Wiley, Spain Park; and Landon Crowder and Michael Morton, Vestavia Hills.