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SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2007
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Allen takes Madison Co. to title

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

BIRMINGHAM — Two former Austin High boys basketball coaches stood locked in an embrace at the end of the Madison County Tigers bench Friday night after the Class 4A boys state championship game. After 26 years of coaching, former Austin head man Stuart Allen had just won his first state championship, guiding the Tigers to a 54-51 win over Douglas at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, and former Austin coach Bob Harpe was one of the first to congratulate him.

Others from Allen's days in the River City followed: Former Athens coach Randy White congratulated Allen's wife, Rosaline, who was taking pictures courtside. Former Decatur coach Wallace Sanders was also on the baseline near the celebration, and retired Red Raiders' coach Earl Morris introduced Allen and his Madison County players at the championship press conference. Allen appreciates his Decatur ties, saying he also enjoyed seeing his former Austin Black Bears play Jeff Davis on Thursday.

"I had some of my former players from Austin that came down, and friends and family," Allen said.

"And they seemed happy."

They were definitely happy for Allen, and were a little more obvious about it than Allen himself, who said he was overjoyed on the inside despite his calm demeanor minutes after the win.

"My nature, I'm kind of reserved, even though you wouldn't think that by watching me coach," Allen said.

"But on the inside, there's no way I could have a better feeling."

Allen, guided Madison County to the Final Four for the first time since the state began using the format in 1995. But he'd been there before, as an assistant on Austin's 1993 state championship team and the '96 Black Bears Final Four squad, before leading Austin to the Final Four as head coach in 2002.

"I've felt like this before and we ended up losing, but I had a feeling this year that we were going to win a state championship," Allen said.

The Tigers battled through a game that was tied three times in the final period.

Madison County trailed 13-12 after the first quarter before building a 27-20 lead at the half, and were behind again 39-36 heading into the final eight minutes before mounting a fourth-quarter comeback.

Bedwell shines: Priceville's Josh Bedwell advanced to Saturday's finals of the Alabama Power 3-Point Shoot-Out on Friday.

In the girls preliminaries, Athens' Courtney Medlen competed but did not advance.

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