Hardwood brilliance: 2016-17 girls’ All-County basketball team

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Last week we settled the most elite guys players in Shelby County after a strong senior class led teams all year. This week we move on to the 15 girls deserving of the prestigious honor.

Unlike the boys All-County team, the girls is made up of a lot of incredibly young talent with only two senior making the team, which sets up for an incredible year of basketball next year. The two Final 4 teams in Spain Park and Westminster at Oak Mountain both had a starting five without a single senior featured.

Other young teams include the Montevallo Bulldogs, who were made up of mostly juniors and sophomores, but still spent most of the year in the top 10 and racked up 20-plus wins; and the Chelsea Hornets, who also had no seniors in the starting five and went on to win 10 more games than last year, including an above .500 finish.

Although the talent was young, it didn’t stop the competitiveness and incredible performances put forth from any other year. As a matter of fact, it may have been one of the strongest years girls basketball has seen in Shelby County. Six teams finished with winning records, two made the Final 4 and one made it to the state championship.

I had the privilege of watching each of these young ladies compete this season and have no doubt each of them was deserving of a spot as well as others that didn’t make the team. With the use of the eye test, importance to their team and stats, I have put the best 15 players on three different teams as well as a handful of honorable mentions. Let’s take a look to see who went above and beyond to be consider among the county’s most outstanding players.

First Team

Guard – Claire Holt, junior, Spain Park. 17.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Holt really took over in the playoffs and helped will this team to fourth quarter come backs on several occasions. So good at avoiding contact to get in the paint and then drawing contact once there. Shot 200 free throws and made 152 of them.

Holt often drove through double and triple teams, but still managed 17.8 points per game.

Guard – Morgan White, freshman, Westminster Oak Mountain. 12.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.2 assists per game. So good at pushing the ball up the floor off of steals and rebounds. Led the county with her 3.2 steals. As a freshman took the Knights to the Final 4.

Morgan White drives up the floor during the Knights’ Sweet 16 matchup.

Forward – Michaella Edwards, sophomore, Chelsea. 29 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. This year’s county Player of the Year and for good reason. Only player to average a double-double and the only player in the county to average double digit rebounds, not to mention scoring 29 points per game. Helped the Hornets go from six wins a year ago to 16 this season.

Edwards was an easy decision for player of the year after averaging a double-double this season with 29 points per game.

Forward – Jordan Jones, junior, Helena. 17.4 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist per game. An all-around good player that can play several positions and do just about anything on the floor. Helped the Huskies get to the Sweet 16 and averaged the fourth most points per game in the county.

Jordan Jones led Helena to the 6A Sweet 16 this year.

Forward – Lauryn Lilly, junior, Montevallo. 20.8 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Player of the year two years ago and a member of the first team last year, she is right where she belongs. Had the Bulldogs in the 3A top 10 all year and averaged the second most points per game in the county.

Lauryn Lilly has established herself has one of the best players in the county after three consecutive years of making the team.

Second Team

Guard – Jacoby Sims, senior, Oak Mountain. 12.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. One of two seniors to make the list this year and much deserving. Led the Eagles all season on both ends of the floor.

Oak Mountain’s Jacoby Sims was one of two seniors to be named to the team as she goes out on top.

Guard – Maggie West, freshman, Shelby County. 15.2 points per game. West was a quiet star in the county this year. She averaged a solid 15.2 points per game as a freshman and helped the Wildcats get to the Sweet 16 after really turning up the pressure late.

Forward – Charley Clark, junior, Calera. 12.3 points and 6 rebounds per game. Calera had an up-and-down season outside of area play, but Clark was a big reason the Eagles finished with a perfect record in area play, including an area championship.

Forward – Jennifer Brown, senior, Helena. 10.3 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist per game. The second Helena player named to the team after coming close to averaging a double-double this year. Without her presence on the floor the Huskies would’ve struggled in the post on both sides of the ball. Very key to their run to the Sweet 16.

Forward – Takila Hill, sophomore, Montevallo. 9.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. With Lilly poised to have a strong senior season next year and move on, Hill is the future of this team. So close to averaging a double-double and was a nightmare for teams defensively.

Takila Hill helped give this year’s Montevallo team a strong post presence.

Third Team

Guard – Morgan Hutchinson, junior, Briarwood. 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Has the potential to be one of the county’s best players next year. Really seems to enjoy the game and have fun playing it. Often guarded the other team’s best perimeter player shutting them down.

Morgan Hutchinson drives through three Calera defenders during the season.

Guard – Allie Miller, junior, Chelsea. 4.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 5 assists per game. Her points don’t jump off the page at you, but it’s everything else Miller does that is so impressive. Turnovers were a problem, but averaging three or more in all major statistical categories is such a tall task to accomplish and she made it look easy.

Allie Miller had a fantastic year in all facets of the game.

Guard – Alasha Reed, junior, Montevallo. 9.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. It seems like we have multiple Montevallo players on every sports All-County team. Reed was the third Bulldogs’ player to get a spot after an incredible and balanced stat line. Such a good point guard and floor general that makes the team go.

Alasha Reed helped take a lot of pressure off of Lilly and Hill this season with her great point guard skills.

Forward – Jamila Wilson, junior, Pelham. 14 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Pelham’s season wasn’t the best, but they were another team that was extremely young and got better at the end of the year. A big reason for that was Wilson, who started taking games over. With her and others back they are set up for a strong 2018-17 year.

Jamila Wilson was a bright spot for the 2016-17 Pelham squad.

Center – Barrett Herring, junior, Spain park. 6.4 points, 8 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2 assists per game. Another one that doesn’t put up the most points, but is a huge part to her team. She made such a difference in the post and set a school record with 85 blocks. Also accounted for the third most rebounds per game in the county.

Barrett Herring set a school records for blocks and was a difference maker in the post.

Honorable Mention: Kailey Rory, Oak Mountain. Hope Richard, Chelsea.Mekhi Mayfield, Helena. Mary Elizabeth Laatsch, Helena. Anna Rebekah Richburg, Westminster. Meghan Gache, Westminster.