Takeaways from year of basketball

Published 7:23 pm Monday, March 2, 2015

It was bittersweet watching the Keith girls celebrate their 1A state championship Friday in Birmingham. On one hand, I watched a local team that had worked so hard and battle so much adversity win a state championship they well-deserved. Nothing beats watching a team I’ve seen play so well for two years finally reach their ultimate goal.

But on the other hand, it meant the end of basketball season in Selma and Dallas County.

Although the late nights catch up to me, I enjoy every second of local high school basketball. This year, I covered 73 high school games and wrote about countless others, following teams to Montgomery and Birmingham. It’s hard to summarize all of my thoughts on the season in one column, but I’m going to try. Here are my takeaways from the season:

  • It’s hard not to start with the Keith Lady Bears, who didn’t lose after the calendar turned to 2015. It was clear early on in the season that the Bears were probably the best team in 1A, if they could clear Loachapoka in Montgomery. Once they beat the Indians, it was smooth sailing. Keith won its last three games over Sunshine, Decatur Heritage and Spring Garden by an average of 16 points. The scary thing is nearly the entire roster returns next season. They’ll be the favorites to win it all again in 2016.
  • I was pretty adamant that William Lee was the state’s best basketball player last year and was glad to see others at the ASWA agreed with me and voted him Mr. Basketball. I feel just as strong that Harriet Winchester from Keith is the best 1A girls’ player in the state. I hope her performance in Birmingham will get her noticed.
  • The best games of the season were the battles between Selma and Dallas County. Both boys games came down to the final shot and like all good rivalries, both teams won.
  • Dallas County showed this season that Willie Moore has built a program with staying power, considering the Hornets lost the state’s best player and came two wins from the 5A championship.
  • I was blown away by how well the athletes from our county handled the media in Montgomery and Birmingham. Sure, some of the players were shy, but for the most part they answered every question with strong quotes and represented the schools well.

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