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:
Katie Jones, Decatur Heritage
Ally McCollum, Phillips
Bailee Usrey, Skyline
Elizabeth Hill, Cold Springs
Brittany Rivera, Collinsville
Karoline Striplin, Geneva County
Molly Heard, Pisgah
Jemeriah Moore, Midfield
Ruthie Smith, Lauderdale County
Allasha Dudley, Anniston
Madie Krieger, Rogers
Jada Watkins, Sumter Central
Niaira Jones, Charles Henderson
Quintasia Leatherwood, Central-Tuscaloosa
Shaniah Nunn, Fairfield
Farrah Pearson, Hazel Green
Kaitlin Peterson, Eufaula
Sara Puckett, Muscle Shoals
Sarah Ashlee Barker, Spain Park
Aniya Hubbard, Hoover
Amiya Payne, Hewitt-Trussville
Augusta Arnold, Southern Academy
Mya Brooks, Glenwood
Chloe Johnson, Lee-Scott