By Lee Davis
For years, the Homewood boys basketball team came close to winning state championships, only to fall a little short at the end.
All of that changed in 2015-16, as the Patriots rolled to a 30-6 record climaxed by an exciting 54-51 win over Muscle Shoals to claim the school’s first boys Class 6A championship.
There was plenty of local action in Class 7A as well. Spain Park and Hoover earned Final Four berths and Mountain Brook and Oak Mountain both produced impressive seasons. The Spartans went 24-7 and reached the regional finals. The Eagles won a school record 30 games before falling to Hoover one game shy of the Final Four.
That dominance was reflected in the 2015-16 All-Over the Mountain boys basketball team, as Homewood and Spain Park each placed three players on the team. Mountain Brook and Oak Mountain each added two players. Homewood guard Luke Toulitatos, the MVP of the Class 6A Final Four, and Mountain Brook’s Trendon Watford were named Co-Players of the Year.
Oak Mountain’s Chris Love was named Over the Mountain Coach of the Year.
Toulitatos, a junior, averaged 15 points, three rebounds and two assists for the Patriots in 2015-16. He connected from the three-point arc at a 38 percent clip.
Toulitatos was at his best when the stakes were highest. He scored 31 points in Homewood’s 64-51 rout of Huffman in the state Class 6A semi-finals, bagging 11 points in the game’s final two minutes. Toulitatos scored 13 points with six rebounds in the Patriots’ win over Muscle Shoals in the final.
“Luke is the kind of player who excels in pressure situations,” Homewood coach Tim Shepler said. “We may not have won the state championship without him.”
Toulitatos also was the Most Valuable Player of the prestigious Steel City Tournament and the Class 6A Central Regionals.
Watford, a freshman, was a scoring machine for the Spartans. He averaged 24 points, 12 rebounds and two assists per contest from the forward position. Watford broke the 1,000-point career barrier in just his second year of varsity play. He also scored 618 points in 2015-16 to break Mountain Brook’s single season scoring record.
Love coached Oak Mountain to a 30-11 record, taking the Eagles to the Class 7A Regional Finals.
“It’s an honor to be named Coach of the Year by my peers, but it’s really a testimony to what our kids accomplished,” Love said. “Any success we enjoyed was due to their willingness to work together to accomplish our team goals.”
Other Patriots joining Toulitatos on the All-Over the Mountain team are Trey Jemison and Austin Peterson. Jack Kline also represents Mountain Brook on the team.
Other members include Thomas Collier, Briarwood; Christian Wilson-Poole, John Carroll Catholic; Jamari Blackmon, Hoover; Wyatt Armstrong and Payton Youngblood, Oak Mountain; Justin Brown, Jamal Johnson and Austin Wiley, Spain Park; and Will Macoy, Vestavia Hills.
Follow this link for the 2015-16 All-OTM Girls Basketball Team.