Player of the Year finalists

Skyline’s Bailee Usrey (left) and Pisgah’s Molly Heard are finalists for the ASWA’s Class 1A and Class 3A Players of the Year awards respectively.

Two Jackson County high school basketball players are finalists for two statewide awards.

Skyline senior guard Bailee Usrey and Pisgah sophomore forward Molly Heard are finalists for the Class 1A and Class 3A Player of the Year awards respectively as well as the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s top award, Miss Basketball.

The ASWA released three finalists for each classification (Class 1A-7A) in the AHSAA and the AISA late Friday night. The ASWA Girls Basketball Player of the Year awards winners will be announced March 27, while the Miss Basketball award winner will be announced March 31. The winners are normally announced during the ASWA’s annual basketball banquet, but it has been canceled because of COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns.

“We had hoped to go on as planned with the event, or at least postpone it to another date. However, with each passing day, it has become more and more apparent that either option would not be feasible, both for health and safety reasons and due to the constraints of the calendar,” said Alabama Sports Writers Association president Creg Stephenson. “We still hope we will be able to publicly honor this year’s Mr. and Miss Basketball recipients at a later date, and will make the appropriate announcement when more information is available.”

Usrey, a two-time first-team all-state selection, Decatur Heritage senior guard Katie Jones and Phillips center Ally McCullum are the Class 1A Girls Player of the Year finalists.

Usrey, Skyline’s all-time leading scorer, averaged 19 points and 5.9 rebounds this past season while helping the Vikings go 27-4, win the Class 1A Area 14 championship and reach the Northeast Regional semifinals. Jones, a Samford signee, averaged 27.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while McCollum averaged 17.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.4 blocked shots.

Meanwhile, Heard, Midfield senior guard Jemeriah Moore and Lauderdale County freshman center Ruthie Smith are the Class 3A Girls Player of the Year finalists.

Heard, a two-time all-state selection, averaged 18.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.6 blocked shots per game while helping Pisgah go 31-3 and win its third straight Class 3A State Championship. Moore, a Shelton State signee whose Midfield team fell 63-49 to Pisgah in the Northeast Regional semifinals, averaged 17.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.2 steals while Smith averaged 16.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

Here is the complete list of ASWA 2020 Girls Basketball Player of the Year finalists:

1A GIRLS

Katie Jones, Decatur Heritage

Ally McCollum, Phillips

Bailee Usrey, Skyline

2A GIRLS

Elizabeth Hill, Cold Springs

Brittany Rivera, Collinsville

Karoline Striplin, Geneva County 

3A GIRLS

Molly Heard, Pisgah

Jemeriah Moore, Midfield

Ruthie Smith, Lauderdale County

4A GIRLS

Allasha Dudley, Anniston

Madie Krieger, Rogers

Jada Watkins, Sumter Central

5A GIRLS

Niaira Jones, Charles Henderson

Quintasia Leatherwood, Central-Tuscaloosa

Shaniah Nunn, Fairfield

6A GIRLS

Farrah Pearson, Hazel Green

Kaitlin Peterson, Eufaula

Sara Puckett, Muscle Shoals

7A GIRLS

Sarah Ashlee Barker, Spain Park

Aniya Hubbard, Hoover

Amiya Payne, Hewitt-Trussville

AISA GIRLS

Augusta Arnold, Southern Academy

Mya Brooks, Glenwood

Chloe Johnson, Lee-Scott

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