Anniston senior shooting guard Tiakeefah Huguley and Jacksonville senior point guard Lacey Buchanon headline a group of four representatives from the county and 13 players from The Star’s coverage zone honored.
Jacksonville coach Ryan Chambless, after his second season at the helm, was named Class 4A Coach of the Year. The Lady Golden Eagles lost to Anniston in three of four meetings, including the county and area tournament finals but bounced back with wins against ranked teams in four of their last five games.
“It’s a privilege,” Chambless said of picking up the Coach of the Year award. “I’ve got a great team, a great group of kids and they’re great players. The biggest thing for me, as a coach, is going into practices and games, knowing you’ve got a team that’s going to play as hard as they can for you. That’s satisfying.”
For Buchanon, who led the Lady Golden Eagles to a state championship and won MVP honors at the Northeast Regional and Final 48 state tournaments, it’s her second straight first-team selection. The Samford commit and Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic selection averaged 16 points and 5.4 assists as Jacksonville became the first girls team from Calhoun County to wina state title.
Huguley, a 5-foot-9 shooting guard, made her debut on the first team. A big-time scorer, she put up 22 points per game to go along with four rebounds and was named MVP at both the Calhoun County and Area 10 tournaments.
Jacksonville junior Sharon Osterbind was a second-team choice to the all-state squad. Oneonta’s Destiney Elliot and Childersburg’s Mac Kelley, also from the northeast portion of the state, were named to the second team.
“Not at all,” Chambless said, when asked if he were surprised by the selections. “I felt like the best teams in the state were from the Northeast Regional. Childersburg had two really good players and obviously Anniston was tough with Huguley and (Quanetria) Bolton and (Calishia) Parker and (Apryl) Lewis.”
Woodland sophomore Courtney Strain earned a second-straight first-team nod in Class 2A. Strain led all nominees in her classification with more than 800 points this season while taking her team to the Northeast Regional where they fell by a bucket to eventual state champion Section. Ranburne’s Julia Daniel was a second-team selection in Class 2A and Saks’ Addesha Collins was a second-team choice in 3A.
Piedmont’s Sarah Garner received recognition as an honorable mention in Class 3A. Ragland’s Kailey Echols was an honorable mention in Class 1A.
Anniston point guard Lasheddrick Edmondson made a return appearance on the Class 4A boys all-state squad. After leading the Bulldogs to the state final as a junior, the North-South game selection averaged 17 points and five assists before his team was upset in the first round of the Class 4A, Area 10 tourney.
Piedmont’s Sloan Garner put up 19 points and 10 rebounds per game as the Bulldogs won an Area 9 title on their way to the Northeast Regional tournament. Weaver sophomore Chris English averaged 22 points per game. Both were second-team picks to the Class 3A all-state squad.
Randolph County’s Dontae Barrett and Talladega’s Jacob Twymon were honorable mentions in Class 2A and 5A respectively.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.