Shining stars: 2022-2023 All-County basketball team released
Published 7:27 am Friday, March 17, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
It was another remarkable ride for an always exciting sport in Shelby County during the 2022-2023 basketball season, as several local boys teams not only claimed regular-season area championships and area tournament titles, but also made deep postseason runs.
The Spain Park Jaguars made it to the Final Four for the third year in a row, while Oak Mountain, Pelham and Vincent all made it to the Sweet 16 in addition to Helena winning an area championship.
Those were just a few of the highlights from a competitive season that featured some of the top athletes in the state battling on a weekly basis. Several of those standout athletes are honored on the 2022-2023 All-County Team, which honors the top players on a first, second and third team in addition to an honorable mention list.
Guard: Zach Gray, senior, Spain Park. One of two players for Spain Park to score at least 16 points per game this season, Gray averaged 16 points per game on the number in addition to 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was key in leading the Jaguars to another 25-win season and a spot in the Final Four for the third year in a row.
Guard: Paul Lanzi, senior, Chelsea. Lanzi’s final season was the only one in Class 7A after the Hornets jumped up a classification, and he made the most of it. The standout guard averaged 18.8 points per game to finish as the county’s second-leading scorer despite some of the top competition in the state. He also averaged 2.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game, while making 63 3-pointers.
Guard: Josh Williams, junior, Helena. For the second year in a row, Williams was one of the top three scorers in the county after totaling 17.9 points per game this season. That, along with his 5.2 rebounds and two assists per game, was key in leading Helena to the regular season area championship and area tournament championship.
Forward: Matt Heiberger, senior, Oak Mountain. This year’s Player of the Year in Shelby County, Heiberger was the county’s leading scorer by nearly three points per game after totaling 21.5 per game. He also finished with 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while he managed 63 steals on the defensive end, which was also one of the highest marks. He ultimately led the Eagles to a regular season area championship and the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row.
Forward: Sam Wright, senior, Spain Park. One of the toughest players to guard in the county largely due to his post presence and spin move near the rim, Wright led Spain Park with 16.4 points per game this season, while he totaled 6.9 rebounds per game and 1.2 assists per game. He had stretches where defenses didn’t have answers, which became key in several clutch wins late in the season to get the Jags back to the Final Four.
Guard: Kamari Hollis, senior, Pelham. One of the top athletes and defenders this season, Hollis was a leader on both ends for the Panthers. He ultimately averaged 13.9 points, five rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as an all-around player offensively, while he had one of the highest steal marks in the county with 76 this season. That helped Pelham finish 23-10 overall and earn a spot back in the Sweet 16.
Guard: Ja’Von Chism, junior, Montevallo. A year that saw its share of highlights for the Bulldogs was led by Chism as the team’s leading scorers. He finished the season averaging 15.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He also finished with 65 steals and 31 blocks as a force opposing teams wanted to avoid. He’ll be key in helping Montevallo attempt to breakthrough for a postseason run next year.
Forward: Avery Futch, junior, Chelsea. Continuing his growth as a second-year starter this season, Futch totaled 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Hornets. He helped the Hornets compete in a challenging 7A classification and will take on a big role next year with Lanzi’s graduation.
Forward: Carson Pringle, senior, Thompson. The top scorer for the Thompson Warriors this season, Pringle averaged 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also tacked on 1.2 assists per game for the Warriors and shot 51 percent from the field.
Center: Tre Thomas, senior, Oak Mountain. A player with raw potential just starting to scratch the surface during his first full year on varsity, Thomas averaged 10.1 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game. However, his most impressive highlight came on the defensive end with 130 blocks to lead the county by a wide margin with an average of four per game.
Guard: Blake Allums, senior, Vincent. A well-rounded player for the Yellow Jackets, Allums helped Vincent reach the Sweet 16 this season thanks to 13.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as the team’s starting guard. He made 60 3-pointers, which was one of the highest marks in the county.
Guard: Joe Wimberly, junior, Pelham. A balanced athlete for Pelham, Wimberly averaged 11.5 points, 3.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. The junior was also key on the defensive end with 82 steals, which finished second in the county this season.
Guard: Tray Youngblood, senior, Vincent. The county’s leader in steals was none other than Youngblood, who was near triple digits at 99 in 28 games for an average of 3.5 per game. He also averaged 10.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Forward: Ian Johnigan, junior, Helena. One of the best shooters in the county, Johnigan made 63 shots from beyond the arc this season. He ultimately averaged 11.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the Huskies to help them earn the area title.
Forward: TyQun Goodman, senior, Vincent. Goodman was a physical presence for the Yellow Jackets that ultimate rounded out the necessary components to a Sweet 16 team. He totaled 9.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game with 1.5 assists per game.
Honorable mention: William Lloyd, Briarwood. Drew Mears, Briarwood. Zac Lamey, Briarwood. Brandon Caldwell, Calera. Owen Davis, Helena. Carson Huff, Indian Springs. Thompson Gennari, Pelham. Dynarian Long, Pelham. Noah Reed, Shelby County. Cason Jeffries, Shelby County. Chase James, Spain Park.