Buchanon, a junior, averaged 18.8 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 steals a game on her way to being chosen as a first-team selection to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A all-state team.
Along with countless hours of work put in by the pint-sized point guard, listed at 5-foot-1, Buchanon has also learned from a constant stream of knowledgeable hoopers who’ve passed down their knowledge of the game to her.
She’d watch other players, listen to their advice then implement what she’d learned into her own game.
Buchanon began playing the game when her father, Preston, first signed her up to play ball in the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department league at the age of seven.
“I was always real little,” Buchanon said. “But I’ve always had my speed. I’ve always been fast. Speed kills. Dribbling was really the first skill I learned. As I progressed, I started working on my jump shot.”
The all-county first team consists of Buchanon’s teammate post-player Sharon Osterbind, Alexandria’s Devonna Taylor and Anniston’s Patricia Pickens, Tanjanik Munford and Tiakeefah Huguley.
Anniston’s Eddie Bullock was chosen as Coach of the Year after leading the Lady Bulldogs to the brink of another trip to the state Final 48 tournament in Birmingham.
Buchanon’s tutelage continued as she’s gotten older.
Playing against Michael Holiday, a former member of the Jacksonville boys, she developed a quick release and high-arching shot. It was the only way she could get a shot off against the 6-foot-4 Holiday, she said.
She also learned by observation, watching former Jacksonville point guard Asha Robinson, who played alongside her sister Nina Buchanon.
And there are always the battles with coach Ryan Chambless, a baller in his own right back in the day at Alexandria.
“I guard her and make her guard me a little bit. She’s tough,” Chambless said. “She holds her own. That’s what I tell those college coaches. “She’s playing pickup ball with the guys and she’s not scared. They like to hear that.”
Jacksonville finished 15-9 in a loaded Area 9 that included Northeast Regional finalist Anniston and semifinalist Cherokee County. The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Golden Eagles 61-47. Buchanon scored 27 in the loss.
Buchanon said while she hasn’t received any offers yet she’s received interest from a number of schools including, Jacksonville State, Alabama, Samford, Memphis, Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
This offseason, Buchanon said, she plans to work on her mid-range game and continue to keep her legs strong.
This summer she’ll play with the Alabama Roadrunners on the AAU circuit.
“I want to make it back to regionals,” she said. “We made it my eighth-grade year and haven’t been back since. I want to make it to the regional championship. Once our younger players get a feel for the game we’ll be good down the stretch.”
Buchanon is going to keep working hard and keep gleaning from the wisdom of wise counsel.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @bird_word.