Oak Mountain’s Heiberger named Shelby County Male Athlete of the Year

Published 2:48 pm Sunday, July 2, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Going into his senior season at Oak Mountain High School, Matthew Heiberger was at a crossroads.

One of the top baseball players in the state, he was torn between focusing on baseball with a new basketball coach stepping in after the retirement of head coach Chris Love.

The closer the basketball season got, however, the more he got to know new head coach Joel Floyd, and he quickly made a decision that has now made him the top athlete in Shelby County.

By far the most determined basketball player in the county this year, Heiberger took a crucial leadership role for the Eagles and helped them reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row.

He earned the Player of the Year award in what is considered his secondary sport after totaling 21.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game.

Heiberger then quickly shifted that success over to the baseball field.

During his senior season on the diamond, he was key at the plate and on the mound for the Eagles to earn another All-County First Team nod in his second sport of the season.

He finished the season with an ERA of 1.63 after only giving up nine earned runs this season. He also averaged .347 at the plate with 25 hits and 17 RBIs.

His success in both sports was more than enough to earn Heiberger this year’s Shelby County Male Athlete of the Year award.

“Matt is an ultimate competitor,” Floyd said about Heiberger after his last basketball game. “Similar to (Former Pelham player) Justin Allison. He is the only other kid who I’ve ever been around who competes like he does. He refuses to lose. I’ve talked with coaches the past week, who have said, ‘Coach, I know you don’t match up well with them, but you may because Heiberger just won’t let you lose.’ He averaged 31 points per game the last six games. That was just him going and making plays. That’s for a kid doing it for fun. This isn’t even his sport. I can’t wait to watch him carry that over onto the mound and just go out there and watch him dominate people. It’s been fun to be a part of it as a coach, now I’m excited to watch as a fan.”

His ability to not only have success in both sports but to shift from dominating on the basketball floor to dominating on the diamond in a matter of weeks was the true defining moment in making Heiberger this year’s top male athlete in the county.