E.A. Sports Today

Heath, Kidd motivated after POY ceremonies

UPDATED: Calhoun County guards were finalists for top player in their respective classifications

Jacksonville guard Angel Kidd gets ready to go into the Mr./Miss Basketball Awards Banquet. On the cover, Sacred Heart guard D.J. Heath (L) and his supporters head back to Anniston after the banquet concluded.

Jacksonville guard Angel Kidd gets ready to go into the Mr./Miss Basketball Awards Banquet. On the cover, Sacred Heart guard D.J. Heath (L) and his supporters head back to Anniston after the banquet concluded.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY — D.J. Heath and Angel Kidd both watched politely as players from other schools were called to the stage to accept awards at the state Mr. and Miss Basketball ceremonies Thursday.

Instead of being disappointed over finishing second, the two guards were motivated to do more going forward.

Sacred Heart’s Heath and Jacksonville’s Kidd led their teams into state championship game this past season and returned home Thursday comfortable in the knowledge they were still among the best players in the state this year. Neither won their respective classification’s Player of the Year, but were among the three finalists for them.

Walter Jones Jr. of Sunshine won the boys Class 1A award Heath was in the running for. Lauren Cantrell of Deshler won the girls 4A award Kidd was a contender for.

Heath’s team beat Sunshine for the boys Class 1A state championship. Deshler defeated Kidd’s team for the girls 4A state crown.

Theodore’s Dazon Ingram was named Alabama Mr. Basketball. Huntsville’s Shaquera Wade was named Miss Basketball. Both players were from teams in the newest and largest classification of AHSAA teams — 7A.

The runnerup finishes by Heath and Kidd will serve to motivate both players as they move forward — Heath as he returns to the Cardinals next season and Kidd as she advances to Gadsden State.

Heath, a sophomore, averaged 21 points and four rebounds a game for a team that has several Division I prospects and dominated its classification. He was MVP of the Calhoun County and Northeast Regional tournaments. Even with all that, he’s still not satisfied.

“This just built a hunger in me that I want to prove other people wrong … and strive for greatness,” Heath said. “I’m going to have a big summer this year. I advise people in Alabama to watch out.”

Kidd, a senior, also was the player through whom everything her team did. She averaged 14.5 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals a game in a season she called the highlight of her playing career.

“This actually gave me a lot of motivation to better myself and it got in my head that I am very good,” Kidd said. “The way I think, I’m not a cocky person, I know I’m good, I just don’t think I’m as good as everybody else says, so this is going to give me a lot of motivation and confidence to help me play in college.”

Wade, a 5-11 senior forward/guard headed for Alabama, averaged 18.4 points and 10.8 rebounds as her team reached the state semifinals for the second time in three years.

Ingram, a 6-5 senior guard, averaged 20.6 points and 10.6 rebounds as his team reached the state semis for the first time in school history. He has not declared his college intentions but said he has top 10, which he declined to disclose but did not include any of this year’s Final Four teams.

Wade won the girls award by a wide margin over Blount’s Cierra Johnson. Ingram edged Madison Academy’s Josh Langford for the boys award.

“It’s pretty amazing because you have all the top talent in the state (here) and to come out victorious is a great feeling,” Ingram said. “I really didn’t think I was going to win it. I actually thought (the 7A award) was all I was going to win, but then when they called me for Mr. Basketball it was just like you accomplished what you wanted and it was a great feeling to know that I won it.”

Two Cherokee County players also were runners-up for their respective classification awards. Spring Garden junior post Tykeah Rogers (18.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg) was a finalist for the 1A girls award and Cherokee County junior guard Joel Wester (16.8 ppg) was a finalist for the 4A boys award.

“We got two finalists down here; I think that just speaks highly of the quality of basketball in the county,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said. “I tapped (Cherokee County) Coach (Neal) Wester on the back when we were walking out and said we were both juniors so let’s come back down here again next year and do this again. It has to light a fire under these two.”


CLASS 7A: Shaquera Wade, Huntsville
CLASS 6A: Cierra Johnson, Blount
CLASS 5A: Kaitlyn Rodgers, Wenonah
CLASS 4A: Lauren Cantrell, Deshler
CLASS 3A: Emma Wallen, Lauderdale County
CLASS 2A: Lacy Stafford, Geneva County
CLASS 1A: Amahni Upshaw, Brantley
AISA: Kasey Grant, Lakeside

CLASS 7A: Dazon Ingram, Theodore
CLASS 6A: Lawson Schaffer, Cullman
CLASS 5A: John Petty, J.O. Johnson
CLASS 4A: Jaylen McCoy, St. James
CLASS 3A: Joshua Langford, Madison Academy
CLASS 2A: Donta’ Hall, Luverne
CLASS 1A: Walter Jones Jr., Sunshine
AISA: Malik Pettus, East Memorial


Shaquera Wade, Huntsville, 75 points (10 first-place votes)
Cierra Johnson, Blount, 49 (3)
Jasmine Walker, Jeff Davis, 24
Tyra Johnson, Austin, 15
Kaitlyn Rodgers, Wenonah, 15

Dazon Ingram, Theodore, 65 (6)
Joshua Langford, Madison Academy, 60 (5)
John Petty, J.O. Johnson, 34 (1)
Lawson Schaffer, Cullman, 24
Austin Wiley, Spain Park, 17 (1)

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