BIRMINGHAM, AL -- The Barbour County Boys Basketball Team has been a staple at the Final 48 since the school's inception 14 years ago. On Thursday night, the Jaguars experience on a big stage showed through once again.
Emanuel Thompson Jr. hit two free throws in the final minute, and the Jaguars held on in the final seconds to beat Madison Academy 43-40 in the Class 3A Semifinals. With the win, the Jaguars advanced to the Class 3A State Championship Game on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Midfield.
Barbour County won a back and forth game on Thursday, trailing after the first quarter, but leading by two points at halftime. The Jaguars built a four-point lead heading to the fourth quarter, then held on for the 43-40 win.
Thompson finished with a team-high 14 points for Barbour County, while James Grubbs added 12 points. The Jaguars (22-11) will be appearing in their sixth state title game in the past seven years and their seventh overall. Barbour County is 3-3 in previous championship game appearances.
Naquan Cothron led Madison Academy (21-14) with 13 points. The Mustangs played without sophomore star Joshua Langford, who sat out with a broken hand.