Cold Springs, Fairview unite in Purple Out for beloved former coach


Regina Willoughby, second from right, currently battling pancreatic cancer, was surrounded by friends and family during Friday night’s Purple Out event in her honor. / Nick Griffin

BREMEN – The Cold Springs Eagles hosted the Fairview Aggies Friday for a night full of basketball. The night’s main event, however, took place in between the girls’ and boys’ varsity games. Former St. Bernard and Cullman coach, Regina Willoughby, was honored on the court in front of the hundreds who came out to support her. Willoughby was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer earlier this year. The crowd was decked out in purple gear for pancreatic cancer awareness and to support Willoughby in her fight with cancer.

One of the event’s organizers, Stephanie Crider, was excited to see the night come together perfectly for someone she cares about.

“A lot of planning, actually a couple of weeks, went into tonight and everyone in the community was happy to help because she would drop everything to help anybody; it’s tremendously special to see it happen.”

Crider was also moved by how much effort and support Fairview High School put into the event to honor Willoughby.

“I’ve made personal phone calls to their principal; I’ve made phone calls to some of the coaches and I just really wanted to let them know how much we appreciate them helping to make this night special for her. She always goes out of her way to make others feel special. She is truly a class act and an amazing lady.”

Willoughby got a chance to speak to the crowd during the ceremony and had some words of gratitude as well as inspiration for those supporting her or fighting alongside her.

“I want to thank all of you that have been spreading the word for me. I’ve received calls and cards from people all over Cullman County. You don’t know how lucky you are to live in a place where the people care so much about one another, and Tim and I cannot thank everyone enough,” Willoughby said. “If you ever need us, we will be there for you. I can’t thank everyone enough for praying and fighting with me during this time. Please keep it up because I am winning this fight. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here to see all of you tonight.”


The hoops action started with the junior varsity girls tipping off at 4 p.m. The young group of Lady Eagles came away with a 37-22 win in game one. They were strong on defense and got a good offensive performance from freshman Lacy Rice, who finished with a game-high 11 points.

The junior varsity boys’ teams were up next, and the Aggies were able to get back on top with an impressive 52-28 win. The Eagles only trailed 27-14 at halftime and had a chance to stay in the game, but a big run for the Aggies early in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach for Cold Springs.

The Lady Eagles and Lady Aggies got things started the varsity games and clashed in the tightest game of the night. In the end it was the Fairview Lady Aggies that came out on top with a 47-42 victory. Cold Springs got off to a hot start from the 3-point line and led by double digits at the end of the first quarter thanks in large part to junior guard Camryn Crider.

Crider had 12 of her team’s 14 points at the end of the first quarter and finished with a game-high 21 points. Crider’s performance pushed her over the 1,000-point mark in her career at Cold Springs, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Lady Aggies, who came back to take the lead at the half and didn’t lose it for the rest of the game. Senior forward for Fairview, Valentina Klocker, played well in the second half, coming up with some big baskets and rebounds to help her team hold the lead. Klocker finished with eight points, two steals and a game-high nine rebounds.

The last game of the night was between the varsity boys. The full court pressure that the Aggies put on the Eagles made it difficult for Cold Springs to keep up with Fairview’s offense. The Aggies got off to a fast start and led 32-25 at the half. That was as close as Cold Springs got, as the Fairview offense exploded in the second half on its way to a 75-43 win. Bryson Fletcher was the standout for Fairview, putting up 30 points, seven rebounds and five steals for the Aggies.

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