Mountain Brook has one back-to-back AHSAA Class 7A State Championships, and they’ll return with another stacked lineup led by star senior Trendon Watford. The Spartans return four starters and added some outside talent, making the Bucky McMillan led squad the heavy favorite to pick up their third straight state title. Mountain Brook will have a tough schedule out of the gate, including matchups against Mississippi powerhouse Olive Branch and defending Georgia state champion Meadowcreek.
Watford is the do-it-all star for Mountain Brook, and the 6-foot-8 swingman has a chance to complete one of the best overall high school careers in Alabama state history. Watford is a top-30 recruit across the board and is choosing between the likes of Alabama, Memphis, and Indiana. Watford averaged 23.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.2 blocks in 38 games last season, and there is zero reason to believe that he won’t improve those numbers across the board. His presence on the floor gives Mountain Brook a realistic chance of competing against anyone in the country.
Three impact players and one transfer make up the majority of Watford’s supporting cast. 6-foot-4 senior forward Lior Berman returns after putting up modest averages of 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds as a junior, and he’ll take on more production responsibility in his final season. 6-foot-1 junior Paulie Stramaglia returns and should be the best underclassmen on the roster. Stramaglia averaged a team-high 5.8 assists per game, using the 2017-18 season to prove he’s the best playmaker in the Mountain Brook backcourt. Senior guard Alex Washington also returns from last season and will look to improve on averages of 5.2 points and 2.1 assists. Junior guard Colby Jones transferred in from Pinson Valley, and the 6-foot-5 swingman should provide a nice complement to Watford on the wing. Junior Holy Bashinsky played limited minutes in 2018 but is expected to receive substantial minutes off the bench.
Mountain Brook will compete in the City of Palms Classic, which will likely be a make-or-break tournament for their season-long ranking. We expect them to get through their early season schedule with relative ease, but they will need to gel quickly in order to have a good showing in South Florida. Regardless of how they compete at the national level, Watford and company enter the 2018-19 as the heavy favorites to pick up their third straight state title.
“It would be something that no one has ever done,” Watford said about winning another state championship. “To win three in a row at the highest classification would leave a legacy for a long time, that’s what I wanted to achieve while being here. I’ve always wanted to leave a legacy for my high school career.”