In a rarity, the Dothan Eagle The coverage area has a few chances for the state Men’s Basketball Player of the Year winner — three in fact.
Three local men’s hoop stars are among the finalists for Player of the Year announced Tuesday for last season by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
These stars are Elijah Terry of Enterprise, Emmanuel Henderson of Geneva County and Austin Cross of Pike Liberal Arts. Terry is a finalist in Class 7A, Henderson in 2A and Cross in AISA.
Overall, three finalists in all seven AHSAA rankings for girls and boys plus in AISA were announced for release on Tuesday. To be eligible as a finalist, a player must have been selected as an All-State First Team member of the ASWA All-State Team which was released on Sunday.
There are no Wiregrass girls finalists as the region did not have an all-state first-team selection this year.
Player of the Year winners will be announced at a banquet on Thursday, March 31 in Montgomery. One of the winners will be named Miss Basketball (girls) and Mr. Basketball (boys) of the state at the banquet.
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The three local winners have been the region’s most male finalists for at least eight seasons. There was one boys finalist in 2020, two in 2019 and one in 2017, but no boys finalists from the region in 2018, 2016 and 2015. No finalists were announced last year, but the region had no anyway no selection for the first team.
The region has only had one Men’s Player of the Year in that span – Pike County’s Andres Burney (2020).
Enterprise’s Terry, a 6-foot-6 senior guard/forward, averaged 15.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season helping the Wildcats win the Class 7A state title and finish 25-6 overall. Terry was the state tournament MVP and also had a strong showing in the recent Alabama-Mississippi game, picking up four points and 11 rebounds in 18 minutes.
The other Class 7A finalists are 6-foot-5 senior guard Jordan Frazier of State runner-up James Clements and 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Labarion Philon of State semi-finalist Baker.
Geneva County’s Henderson, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, was Wiregrass’ leading scorer among the boys with 23.9 points per game. He also averaged 7.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.4 steals per game as the senior guard helped the Bulldogs to a 25-7 record and the postseason regional tournament.
The finalist selection is the second of the college year for Henderson, an Alabama football signee. In football, he was a runner-up for Class 2A Back of the Year. He is one of three athletes from the state to be runners-up in both sports this year. Anniston’s Antonio Kite (Class 4A) and Decatur Heritage’s Brayden Kyle (Class 1A) are the others.
Joining Henderson as a 2A runner-up are 6-foot-3 senior guards Logan Patterson from section and Anthony Johnson from midfield. The Section won the state title, while the midfielder was ranked No. 1 for most of the season before losing to the Section in the Regional Finals in the closest match that the eventual champions of State have had during the playoffs. Midfielder Johnson recently played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
Pike Liberal Arts’ Cross, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, delivered 21.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game in helping the Patriots win a second straight championship. class AISA AAA and also win a 23-2 on -court record.
Other AISA finalists with Cross are 6-foot-1 junior guard Walker McKee of Tuscaloosa Academy and 6-foot senior guard Robert Rose of AISA Class AA State Champion Autauga Academy.
Carroll’s Bryson Dawkins, a first-team Class 5A selection, was another Wiregrass Boys player eligible to be a finalist for State Player of the Year. However, Mississippi State signee Martavious Russell of Sipsey Valley as well as North Alabama signee Jacari Lane of state champion Lee-Huntsville and Kerrington Kiel of state runner-up Ramsay were chosen as finalists. . Both Russell and Lane played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
Below is the list of finalists:
Kelsey Thompson, Davidson
Masyn Marchbanks, Hartselle
Samiya Steele, hazelnut green
XaiOnna Whitfield, Oxford
I’Nyiah Silas, Lee-Huntsville
Olivia Vandergriff, Guntersville
Emma Kate Tittle, Deshler
Chardai Watkins, Sumter Central
Ella Jane Connell, Prattville Christian
Cali Smallwood, Susan Moore
Ace Austin, Spring Garden
Iamunique Bowie, St. Luke’s
Amonei Cunningham, McIntosh
Jordan Frazier, James Clemens
Christophe Blount, Huffman
Barry Dunning Jr., McGill-Toolen
Jacari Lane, Lee-Huntsville
Martavious Russell, Vale of Sipsey
Sheldon Williams, Escambia Co.
Ja’borri McGhee, Winfield
Emmanuel Henderson, Co. Geneva.
Anthony Johnson, midfielder
Brayden Kyle, Decatur Legacy
Reed Trapp, Alliance Christian
Austin Cross, Pike Liberal Arts
Walker McKee, Tuscaloosa Academy
Robert Rose, Autauga Academy