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Twenty-seven schools participated in the first tournament held in the Magic City
of Birmingham from February 23-25, 1921. The games were held at and was
sponsored by the Birmingham Athletic Club the first two seasons. In 1923 the
AHSAA was formed and took control of the tournament bringing it to Montgomery
until the spring of 1927 when it was moved to the University of Alabama in
Central High School of Birmingham won the first tournament and would later
change their name to Phillips after being split into several new schools. Barton
Academy was on the losing end of a close game and ironically would later become
Murphy High School in 1927. Central defeated Springville 22-20 in the
semi-finals while Barton Academy beat Alliance of Birmingham 24-20 in two
closely competitive games. It was only Alliance's second defeat in four years.
At nine o'clock in the Saturday night finale, the house was packed and the stage
was set for what was called at the time 'Alabama's Greatest Tournament'. A
fitting climax was the contest between Barton Academy and Central. The Crimson
played well in the first half and led 14-6. In the second half Barton rallied
and actually led for a while before Anderson for Central took control of the
game with his dribbling and shooting to ensure the win for Central. Anderson
along with Bill McKinney, W. McKinney and Walsh for Barton were selected to the
All State team following the game. It was Barton's first defeat of the season.
The second year of the tournament saw forty-one teams show up in Birmingham in
the Spring of 1922. Chambers County, later LaFayette, waltzed through the
competition to win the championship and lay claim to a state title.
Barton Academy yearbook photo with the second place trophy.
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Great Moments in Alabama High School Basketball History
The only forfeit in tournament play was in 1999 when Courtland forfeited their win over Madison Academy in the Class 1A finals.