E.A. Sports Today

Boys All-State Teams

Sacred Heart’s Wood, Heath, Anniston’s Croft, Jacksonville’s Horton all first-team picks; Nolan second team, Arnold third team



By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

One of the coaches with a player on the team looked at the lineup of Calhoun County players who made the first and second teams of the All-State basketball teams and was ready to take on all comers.

Calhoun County placed four players on their respective first teams, one on the second team, one of the third and one honorable mention.

Sacred Heart’s dominating run to a second straight state title landed two Cardinals on the Class 1A first team – guard D.J. Heath and Final Four MVP post Diante Wood – and a third player, Kevion Nolan, on the second team.

Anniston guard Tray Croft and Jacksonville guard Cam Horton were first teamers in Class 5A and 4A, respectively.

“I’d like to take that five into a game,” Jacksonville coach Ryan Chambless said. “I think all those guys are very good players. I’ve watched them all and they’re very good competitors.

“All of them have improved and from what I know all have worked their tails off individually on their own time to get better. That’s the biggest thing kids around here need to know: You can make yourself any player who want to be; you have to put the work in.”

Weaver post Malik Arnold made the Class 3A third team and White Plains forward Michael McGuirk was honorable mention in Class 4A.

A strong case could be made for all three Sacred Heart players making the first team. All three currently hold multiple Division I offers, and were the recognized engines of the team.

Class 5A state champion J.O. Johnson also placed two players on a first team — John Petty and Justin Hopkins — but no one put three on the first two teams. Wood is one of only four first-team sophomores across the board.

“D.J. and Diante being on the first team is not a surprise to me because those kids work hard,” Sacred Heart coach Ralph Graves said. “That combination is pretty good.

“I think Kevion made the biggest leap than any of them from when he came here. We played Mountain Brook and I heard their kid tell Kevion, ‘I killed y’all; I had 27 points,’ and I then Kevion says, ‘Dude, I hit you for 31 and the win in Birmingham with everything against us.’

“To hear him say that tells me something from a confidence standpoint. Diante and D.J. had that already, but Kevion didn’t and to see him do that was impressive. I think D.J. and Diante helped him with that.”



Horton was a prolific scorer, but he did a lot of other things for the Golden Eagles. He certainly knew how to fill up a box score.

He scored 30 points or more five times this season and averaged 23.1 points a game. He averaged 5.2 rebounds and had 66 assists, 42 steals and seven blocked shots.

“He’s worked really hard to make himself the player that he is; he’s come a long way,” Chambless said. “I think a lot of kids can learn from him. He’s got some natural ability, but he has worked really hard to improve himself as a player.

“He was probably our best rebounder a lot of times and he created plays. He created for everybody, and when he was doing that really well I felt we were pretty good.”



Everything Anniston did went through Croft. He scored – you could argue he was the best left-handed shot in the county – distributed the ball and defended.

He averaged nearly 22 points in the Bulldogs’ three area and sub-regional victories. In their Northeast Regional semifinal win over Guntersville he scored 19 of his game-high 31 points in the final six minutes. In their regional final loss to eventual state champion J.O. Johnson, he had 17 points, two assists and four steals and had the ball in his hands for the potential game-winning shot.

“I know he wishes he could’ve done more and there were times I tried to make him do more, but he tries to be a team player,” Anniston coach Schuessler Ware said. “He could’ve had some really outstanding stats this year, but wanted to get everybody involved.”

Here are the full teams:

First team
Austin Wiley, Spain Park, Jr. , C, 6-10
Kalin Johnson, Gadsden City, Sr., G, 6-1
Rene Scott, McGill-Toolen, Sr., PG, 5-8
Tevin Brown, Fairhope, Jr., G, 6-4
Tre Todd, Central-Phenix City, Sr., G, 5-11
Second team
Garrison Brooks, Auburn, Jr. , C, 6-10
Jamal Johnson, Spain Park, Jr. , G-F, 6-4
Kira Lewis, Hazel Green, Fr., G, 6-2
Rod Scott, Lee-Montgomery, Sr., G, 6-1
Trendon Watford, Mountain Brook, Fr., F, 6-7
Third team
J.J. Kaplan, Grissom, Sr., G-F, 6-4
Jack Kline, Mountain Brook, Sr., F, 6-5
Payton Youngblood, Oak Mountain, Sr., F, 6-4
Shond Kidd-McKinney, Gadsden City, Sr., G, 6-1
T.J. Howard, McGill-Toolen, Sr., F, 6-6
Honorable mention
Branon Miller, Sparkman, Sr., G, 6-0
Henry Ruggs III, Lee-Montgomery, Jr., G, 6-1
Kevy Eason, Hoover, Sr., G-F, 6-0
Coach of the year
Phillip Murphy, McGill-Toolen

First team
Alex Reese, Pelham, Jr., F, 6-9
Javien Williams, Woodlawn, Sr., G, 6-4
Kevin Morris, Dothan, Sr., C, 6-7
Reginald Todd, Blount, Sr., G, 6-5
Tracey Burnett, Lee-Huntsville, Sr., F, 6-4
Second team
Braxton Winston, Muscle Shoals, Sr., F, 6-1
Luke Touliatos, Homewood, Jr. , G, 6-4
Micah Fuller, Bessemer City, Sr., G, 6-0
Seth Swalve, Cullman, Sr., G, 5-10
Wayna King, Fort Payne, Jr., PG, 6-0
Third team
Austin Patterson, Homewood, Sr., PG, 5-10
Darian Adams, Carver-Montgomery, Sr., G, 6-3
Deric Patton, Carroll, Sr., G, 6-0
Jovante Lee, Northview, Sr., G, 6-0
Myreon Jones, Huffman, So., G, 6-3
Honorable mention
Carlos Bell, Bessemer City, Sr., F, 6-3
Jamani Glover, LeFlore, Sr., G, 6-2
Coach of the year
Neal Barker, Muscle Shoals

First team
Cortez Gibbs, BTW-Tuskegee, Sr., C, 6-4
John Petty, J.O. Johnson, Jr., G, 6-6
Justin Hopkins, J.O. Johnson, Sr., F, 6-3
Quinterious Croft, Anniston, Sr., G, 6-0
Rod Williams, Faith Academy, Sr., G, 6-0
Second team
Austin Rogers, Brewbaker Tech, Sr., G-F, 6-3
David Law, Sumter Central, Sr., G, 6-0
Josh Hill, Faith Academy, Sr., F, 6-4
Tony Johnson, Eufaula, So., G, 6-2
Travion Hardin, Columbia, Sr., G, 6-0
Third team
Albert Luke, Ramsay, Sr., F, 6-6
Josh Moore, Demopolis, Sr., F, 6-5
Mikel Davis, Sidney Lanier, Sr., F-C, 6-7
Ryan Hufford, Randolph, Sr., PG, 5-11
Tanner Rusk, West Point, Sr., F, 6-3
Honorable mention
Davyn Flenord, Central-Clay Co., Jr., F, 6-2
Ladarius Carter, Sumter Central, Jr., G, 6-1
Marques Rhymes, Vigor, Jr., G, 5-5
Coach of the year
Jazmin Mitchell, Sumter Central

First team
Brandon Rutledge, Bibb Co., Sr., F, 6-8
Cam Horton, Jacksonville, Sr., G, 6-2
Isaac Chatman, Cordova, So., F, 6-6
Joel Wester, Cherokee Co., Sr., G, 6-2
Trey Petty, Westminster Christian, Sr., G, 6-3
Second team
Da’Shaunte Smith, Montevallo, Jr., G, 6-5
E.J. Card, St. James, Sr., G, 6-3
LaDarius Knight, Ashford, So., G-F, 6-5
Mykelti Chatman, Cordova, Sr., C, 6-6
Syheem Young, Childersburg, Jr., PG, 6-1
Third team
Antonio Johnson, Headland, Jr., G, 6-2
John Kendall, Westminster Christian, Sr., G, 6-0
Logan Dye, Haleyville, So., C, 6-7
Ryan Calhoun, Thomasville, Sr., G, 5-10
Tyler Stallworth, Monroe Co., So., G, 6-4
Honorable mention
Charvez Hobson, BTW Magnet, Sr., G-F, 6-3
Kaden Moore, Hokes Bluff, Sr., F, 6-3
Michael McGuirk, White Plains, Sr., F, 6-3

Coach of the year
Ronnie Stapler, Westminster Christian

First team
Ahmad Isaac, Midfield, Sr., PG, 6-0
Chase Conley, Brindlee Mountain, Sr., SF, 6-3
Joshua Langford, Madison Academy, Sr., G, 6-6
Omar Jolly, New Hope, Jr., G, 5-10
Spencer Newman, Bayside Academy, Sr., G, 6-3
Second team
Deshon Cowling, Pike Co., Sr., G, 6-0
Herbert Jones, Hale Co., Jr., G, 6-7
Keandre Swopes, West Morgan, Sr., F, 6-5
Myles Parker, Madison Academy, Jr., F, 6-7
Xavier Malcom, Hanceville, Sr., G, 5-10
Third team
Chardian Johnson, T.R. Miller, Sr., G, 6-0
Donavon Goodwin, Sheffield, Jr., C, 6-3
Malik Arnold, Weaver, Sr., F-C, 6-4
Payton Stovall, Winfield, Jr., G, 6-1
Shy’im Cunningham, Midfield, Jr., F-G, 6-4
Honorable mention
Garrett Sanderson, Montgomery Academy, Jr., G, 6-2
Jaylyn Hinton, Daleville, Sr., F, 6-3
Joel Brock, Sand Rock, Sr., F, 6-4
Coach of the year
Joey Parker, New Hope

First team
Anquavious Pollard, Lanett, So., F, 6-6
CJ Yarbrough, Tanner, Fr., F, 6-3
EJ Datcher, Vincent, Sr., C, 6-9
JaTarvious Whitlow, LaFayette, Jr., G, 6-1
Triston Chambers, Cold Springs, Sr., G, 6-2
Second team
Khalil Johnson, Cleveland, Jr., F, 6-8
Mark Wilson Jr., St. Luke’s, So., F, 6-4
Markel Mull, Tanner, Sr., G, 5-11
Max Nolen, Tharptown, Sr., G, 6-3
Zach Garcia, Samson, Jr., G, 5-11
Third team
Brosnan Cooks, Elba, Sr., F, 6-4
Dustin Summerville, Sulligent, Sr., G, 6-3
Josh Freeman, Cold Springs, Sr., F, 6-5
Kennon Casey, G.W. Long, Sr., G, 6-4
Tavaris Geiger, Lanett, Sr., G, 5-11
Honorable mention
Ashton Klein, Houston Academy, Sr., G, 6-3
Darion Means, Highland Home, Sr., G, 5-8
Hunter Grant, West End-Walnut Grove, Sr., G, 6-0
Coach of the year
Richard Carter, Lanett

First team
D.J. Heath, Sacred Heart, Jr., G, 6-1
Desmond Hill, Fruitdale, Sr., G, 6-1
Diante Wood, Sacred Heart, So., F-G, 6-5
Jacquez Payton, Georgiana, Sr., G, 6-0
John Pettway, Keith, Sr., G, 6-2
Second team
Jonathan Thomas, Berry, Sr., G-F, 6-3
Kevion Nolan, Sacred Heart, Jr., G, 6-0
Richard Boggan, Georgiana, Sr., F, 6-1
Taquavian Drake, Wadley, So., G, 6-0
Will Stanford, Cornerstone, Sr., G-F, 6-3
Third team
Adrian Person Jr., Brantley, So., G, 6-3
Desmond Mair, A.L. Johnson, Sr., C, 6-0
Evan Aldridge, St. Bernard, Sr., F, 6-2
Jake Bonner, Phillips, Sr., G, 6-1
Sam Griffin, Covenant Christian, Sr., SG, 5-10
Honorable mention
Caden Davidson, Coosa Christian, Jr., G, 6-2
Riley Austin, Spring Garden, So., PG, 5-9
Skyler McFall, Waterloo, Sr., PF, 6-2
Coach of the year
Kirk Norris, Georgiana

First team
Ja’Marques Darien, Tuscaloosa Academy, So., PG, 5-10
Reggie Gee, Edgewood, Sr., G, 6-3
Stephen Burgess, Restoration Academy, Sr., G/F, 5-11
Ty Bolton, Hooper, Sr., G, 6-0
Xavier Heidelberg, Russell Christian (Miss.), Jr., PG, 5-10
Second team
David Hussey, Lowndes Academy, Sr., G, 6-2
Devon McCree, Abbeville Christian, Jr., G-F, 6-2
Heath Huff, Lee-Scott, Sr., F, 6-10
James Beck, Glenwood, Jr., G, 5-10
Reid Potthoff, Lakeside, Jr., G, 6-1
Third team
Mason Blackwell, Macon-East, Sr., F, 6-3
Michael Murry, Autauga Academy, 8th, G, 6-0
Milos Zeradjanin, Crenshaw Christian, Sr., G, 5-10
Nick McLeod, Northside Methodist, Jr., F, 6-3
Taylor Thomas, Fort Dale Academy, Sr., G, 6-0
Honorable mention
Davis Thompson, Lee-Scott, Jr., G, 6-3
Jeremiah Hall, Russell Christian (Miss.), Jr., PF, 6-3
Marcus Moody, Bessemer Academy, Sr., G/F, 6-0
Trip Day, Glenwood, Jr., F, 6-7
Coach of the year
Larry Chapman, Macon-East

On the cover: D.J. Heath is one of two Sacred Heart players on the Class 1A all-state first team and three Cardinals on the first two teams. Photo credits: Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography (Heath, Wood, Croft)

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