January 27, 2023

Win Miller scored 31 points Tuesday night as Vestavia Hills defeated Hoover 56-48 in a battle between the state’s top two Class 7A teams.

The Bucs, who saw their 17-game winning streak ended, entered the game as the No. 1 team in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s latest 7A poll. The Rebels were No. 2. The Hoover girls beat Vestavia 49-45 earlier in the night in another top-tier matchup.

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“Just one of those nights, I guess. I felt good in the first quarter and that continued throughout the game,” said Miller, a 6-foot-3 Belmont commit. “I was just getting my seats and the ball went in early for me.”

The win at Vestavia Hills avenged a 64-61 loss at Hoover on January 10th.

Miller scored the first 6 points of the game on his way to 14 in the opening quarter. He hit three 3-pointers in the game.

“That’s our type. There’s a good chance this will be the last time he plays in this building. We had to win now to force something else,” said Patrick Davis, Vestavia Hills coach. “This guy has thrown the ball in the bucket at this gym so many times. He’s just a damn good player.”

The Rebels won every quarter except the fourth Tuesday night. They built a 12-point lead in the final stanza before Hoover started to break away. However, the rebels remained calm and played team basketball to salvage the win.

“Home advantage is a big issue for us. Our students are the best,” Miller said. “We filled half the stands with students. We just fed off that energy and played better defense than the last time we played them.”

Vestavia improved to 20-4 overall with the win and plays at Thompson on Friday. Hoover (23-3) hosts Tuscaloosa County on Friday.

Girls: Hoover 49, Vestavia Hills 45 (OT)

North Carolina’s Reniya Kelly scored 19 points as Class 7A No. 1 Hoover defeated rival Vestavia Hills in overtime.

The Bucs improved to 26-1 overall and will face Bartlett, Tenn. in a non-regional matchup on Saturday before taking Class 6A No. Align 1 Hazel Green. Vestavia Hills fell to 23-3 and will play at Thompson on Friday.

“It was a tough game,” Kelly said. “They came out to play. You have a very good defense. Very competent team. They ran in a straight movement (attack) so it was hard to keep up with them. It was a hard-fought victory. I value my teammates.”

Hoover led most of the game, but Vestavia’s Sarah Gordon downed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to force overtime before the Bucs put it away in overtime.

Ariana Peagler scored 8 points for Hoover in the fourth quarter and overtime. The junior was also solid on defense throughout the game.

“She’s the underdog on the team,” Kelly said of Peagler. “A lot of people don’t scout them, but they need to start scouting them. She hit a lot of hard shots in the game, a lot of important shots during the run.

Peagler is coming off a season when she tore her cruciate ligament.

“We think she’s improved a lot,” said Hoover coach Krystle Johnson. “She missed a free throw, then came back and threw the next ones down. That’s huge for their confidence. We were very proud of her and her contribution tonight.”

Senior Rebels forward Anna Towry hit three 3-pointers on her way to a team-high 18 points. Tuesday’s game was a much closer match than the teams’ first meeting – won by Hoover on January 10, 56-36.

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