Clutch playmaker

Malik Powell led the Aggies to a 2-0 record last week.

Malik Powell was selected The Daily Home Player of the Week for leading defending Class 5A state champion Sylacauga to a 2-0 record last week.

“I am very honored,” Powell said. “I just want to thank my teammates for pushing me at practice, making me work hard and keeping me motivated. I want to thank God for allowing me to have this. I am very honored.”

Powell averaged 17.5 points in two games last week. The senior scored 16 in Sylacauga’s 74-67 overtime win over Lincoln. A few nights later, he scored nine of his 19 points in the third quarter to lead the Aggies past Talladega 66-58. It was Sylacauga’s first win at Talladega since 2012.

“I am one of the leaders on the team, so I have to make clutch plays,” Powell said. “My team believes in me, I believe in myself and my coach believes in me. They know I can make clutch plays, so I have step up and do it.”

Sylacauga head coach Will Copeland was pleased with how Powell played last week.

“Malik had a good week,” Copeland said. “Every day is a day of growth for him and everybody that walks this earth trying to get better in whatever they do.”

Winning the 5A state title in 2017-18 has put a target on the Aggies’ backs this season. Sylacauga has handled the pressure well so far, as demonstated by its 7-2 start.

“Coach tells us that they are going to come at us because we are the state champions, so we just work harder in practice,” Powell said. “When it is game time, it comes easy to us because we work hard in practice. We go after each other in practice. We play hard, we never give up and work hard every day.”

The Aggies lost several key pieces from last season’s team that won it all. Even though there are several new players on the team, its goals remain the same. The Aggies are seeking their third straight trip to the Final Four.

“We just want to make it back to Birmingham,” Powell said. “We just want to continue the dream from last year and win a state championship.”

Besides continuing to improve both offensively and defensively, Copeland said he needs Powell to be the coach on the floor for the Aggies.

“I need him to be the leader,” Copeland said. “You always need someone that echos what the coaches are saying. They have to believe in what we tell them, what they do and what we stand for. That comes from the leader, he has to echo and follow what we laid out for them to do. That’s what we need from him.”

Powell said he tries to model different parts of his game off seniors from last season’s team.

“I look up to Darian Garrett from last year,” Powell said “He has helped me out a lot with everything. Malik Crawford has helped me a lot. They told me to (hold my) composure and just work hard every day. Erron Bryant helped me a lot with just having heart.”