3 area prep standouts listed as state finalists
By Brooke Milam
Three area athletes are named finalists for the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Mr. and Miss Basketball awards Sunday.
Decatur High senior Rico Pickett and Priceville senior Josh Bedwell are finalists in Class 5A and 4A boys, respectively, while Hazlewood sophomore Amber Jones is among the finalists in 1A girls.
Each classification includes three boys finalists and three girls finalists. A player of the year will be named in each class. Also, one boy will be chosen Mr. Basketball, and one girl will be chosen Miss Basketball. The players of the year and the Mr. And Miss Basketball awards will be announced at a banquet March 22 at Birmingham-Southern College’s Norton Center.
“This is something I’ve been looking forward to,” Bedwell said, when he found out the news Saturday. “Just being one of the three chosen (in 4A) is a big honor.”
Bedwell said he’s familiar with the other 4A finalists — Madison County senior Ryan Cross and Central-Tuscaloosa senior Justin Knox — and is honored to be part of the group.
Cross lead Madison County to the 4A state title this season, and Knox has signed with Alabama.
“They’re both really good players,” Bedwell said.
“Justin’s going to Alabama, and Ryan really hurt us when they put us out in the sub-regionals this year.”
Bedwell, who has committed to play for Samford, was The Daily’s 1A-3A player of the year as a junior, and averaged 24.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season as Priceville moved up in classification.
Selected along with Pickett in 5A were John Carroll junior Andrew Steele and Williamson senior Nick Fairley.
Pickett, who has signed to play for Alabama next season, averaged 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists this season as Decatur reached the Final Four.
Jones is one of only two sophomores on the list of finalists in all classifications, while only one freshman made the vote.
Also chosen in 1A girls were McIntosh senior Kimberly Davis and Spring Garden junior Paige Anderson.
Jones’ 21 points, four rebounds and four assists a game paced Hazlewood to the 1A finals this season.
Mr. and Miss Basketball Finalists
Class 6A: Christopher Blake, LeFlore, Sr., G; Courtney Fortson, Jeff Davis, Sr., G; Nick Williams, LeFlore, Sr., F.
Class 5A: Nick Fairley, Williamson, Sr., F; Rico Pickett, Decatur, Sr., G; Andrew Steele, John Carroll Catholic, Jr., G.
Class 4A: Josh Bedwell, Priceville, Sr., G; Ryan Cross, Madison County, Sr., F; Justin Knox, Central-Tuscaloosa, Sr., C.
Class 3A: Shericka Billingsley, LaFayette, Sr., G; Mick Hedgepeth, Crossville, Jr., C; Kerron Johnson, Madison Academy, So., G.
Class 2A: Deontra Marbury, Lanett, Sr., G; Frankie Sullivan, R.C. Hatch, Jr., G; Chase Whitley, Ranburne, Sr., G.
Class 1A: Demetrius Finklea, J.F. Shields, Jr., F; JaMychal Green, St. Jude, Jr., C; Kevin Pitts, Brantley, Sr., F.
AISA: Will Coleman, Glenwood, Sr., C; Sean McLaughlin, Cottage Hill Chr., Sr., F; Alex Phillips, Glenwood, Jr., G.
Class 6A: Catina Bett, Gadsden City, Sr., C; Courtney Ward, Jeff Davis, Sr., G; Shai Wilkins, Sparkman, Sr., F.
Class 5A: Terran Condrey, Eufaula, Jr., G; Katherine Graham, Ramsay, Sr., G/F; Alli Smalley, Arab, Sr., G.
Class 4A: Carlie Ainsworth, Alabama Christian, Sr., G; Ashleigh Jackson, Deshler, Jr., G/F; Courtney Jones, Midfield, Jr., F.
Class 3A: Jasmine Horne, Sheffield, Jr., G; Brittany Leverett, Washington County, Sr., G; Kiara Young, Lauderdale County, Jr., G.
Class 2A: Katie King, Samson, Sr., G; Rebecca Silinski, Shades Mountain, Sr., C; Courtney Strain, Woodland, Fr., G/F.
Class 1A: Paige Anderson, Spring Garden, Jr., G; Kimberly Davis, McIntosh, Sr., G; Amber Jones, Hazlewood, So., G.
AISA: Alisha Nelson, Glenwood, Jr., F; Hannah Phillips, Kingwood, Sr., G; Kimberli Rutledge, Coosa Valley Academy, Sr., F/C.
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