Arab boys coach Justin Jonus was thrilled after his team defeated Scottsboro in a nail-biter in the 5A, Area 15 Tournament at Guntersville last week (Feb. 4). He knew the win, regardless of what happened in the area tournament final three days later, gave his team the opportunity to accomplish something incredibly rare, especially in this area.

The Knights lost to Guntersville in the area final but on Tuesday took advantage of the opportunity the win against Scottsboro afforded them. They beat Crossville to advance to play today in the Northeast Region at Jacksonville State.

The win was overwhelmingly sweet and meaninful to Jonus.

“We accomplished a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment Tuesday night,” Jonus said. “Three regional Sweet Sixteen appearances – maybe more depending on how (today) goes – for the first time ever in Arab boys basketball history!

“Very few schools around here, if any, have ever done that in boys basketball. These kids and this program is above and beyond right now and I just wanted the community, school and state to know what is going on here.”

Because of injuries, including a key one to star Colby King late in the football season that led to a slow start, Jonus believes this team has been a bit short-changed when it comes to the credit it deserves. The team featured 10 seniors (including King) at the start of the season, so several players have played a part in the team’s success over the last three years.

More injuries during the season took a toll, but here the Knights are with still a chance to make some more postseason noise.

“I have a lot more to say about the program for the past three years but this year especially,” Jonus said. “We beat a No. 1, a No. 2 and a No. 10 team in the state, all in one year. Pretty special.

“I’m just blessed and beyond happy for the kids. They will be remembered forever for this.”

• You might have noticed a new name in the photo credits on this page, but you might not know who he is. Judd Pool is a 10-year-old fifth grade student at Arab Elementary School, and we welcome his contribution.

Anyone can contribute photos to The Arab Tribune, and we’ll do our best to get in as many as possible. We especially encourage young people like Judd to send in photos. Send them to tribnews@otelco.net.

• Bama/Auburn notes: What’s the difference between Alabama football and basketball?

Alabama can make a 3-point field goal on the court. …

Auburn freshman forward Isaac Okoro is shooting up the NBA rankings. Sports Illustrated this week has him as the No. 3 player to be drafted, by the Atlanta Hawks.

Bruce Pearl and his staff deserve a lot of credit.

“In the eyes of the NBA, Okoro has successfully reframed himself as a far more impressive prospect than his ranking out of high school would have indicated,” said the SI article. “Arguably no prospect has done more for himself this season, and he has looked like the top perimeter defender in college basketball while also showcasing a mature, developing floor game.” …

Auburn will sell beer and wine at Plainsman Park this season, according to AU reporter Brandon Marcello, who claims it’s a first step to alcohol sales inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“I’m hearing beer/wine at football is closer to a reality than some might think,” he tweeted this week. “This summer will be interesting.”

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