E.A. Sports Today

Wood repeats

Sacred Heart post Wood repeats as 1A top player; White Plains’ McGuirk nosed out for 4A award

Repeat Mr. Basketball John Petty of Mae Jemison (23) goes one-on-one with Sacred Heart’s Diante Wood, the repeat 1A Player of the Year, during this year’s season opener. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY — Somebody from Sacred Heart was going to be the Alabama Class 1A Player of the Year today.

Junior post Diante Wood repeated as the top 1A Player, nosing out senior teammates DJ Heath and Kevion Nolan, in ceremonies this afternoon.

All three were first-team all-state picks, the first time in the history of the team three players from the same school were first team picks.

Three was the operative number for the Cardinals. They won their third straight Class 1A state title behind Wood, Heath and Samford-signee Nolan this year.

Wood also was among the top five vote-getters in the Mr. Basketball balloting and were named the the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Super 5 All-State Team.

White Plains’ Michael McGuirk was up for the Class 4A award that went to Hale County’s Alabama signee Herb Jones.

“Everybody there is really good, so it makes you feel good (to be involved),” McGuirk said.

Mae Jemison senior John Petty and Brewbaker Tech senior Bianca Jackson were named Mr. and Miss Basketball, respectively.

Petty, who was also named Mr. Basketball in 2016, became just the third player to be named Mr. Basketball twice in the award’s 35-year history. Trevor Lacey of Huntsville-Butler won the award in 2010 and 2011 and Ronald Steele of Birmingham’s John Carroll Catholic captured the award in 2003 and 2004.

The Alabama signee led Jemison to the Class 5A state championship in 2017, averaging 20.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists and was named the state-tournament MVP for the third straight year. He also was named Class 5A Player of the Year for the third time, becoming just the 12th player in AHSAA history to win at least three player-of-the-year awards.

Jackson, the daughter of Alabama State University men’s basketball coach Lewis Jackson and ASU women’s basketball coach Frieda Freeman-Jackson, averaged 24.8 points per game, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists. She signed last November with newly minted NCAA national champion South Carolina.

Jackson recorded three triple-doubles, including a single-game record 58-point outburst versus Greenville in January that tied for fifth highest scoring effort in AHSAA history. She also had 12 rebounds and 10 assists that win.

The other Boys Players of the Year included Trendon Watford, Mountain Brook (7A); Alex Reese, Pelham (6A); Shy Cunningham, Midfield (3A); Anquaevious Pollard, LaFayette (2A); and Artavious Billups, Macon-East (AISA).

The other Girls Players of the Year were Haley Troup, Gadsden City (7A); Ajah Wayne, Homewood (6A); Queen Ford, Sipsey Valley (4A); Allie Craig Cruce, Lauderdale County (3A); Kirstin Brown, Tanner (2A); River Baldwin, Pleasant Home (1A); Tazsa Garrett-Hammett, Springwood (AISA).


John Petty, Mae Jemison; Trendon Watford, Mountain Brook; Alex Reese, Pelham; Herb Jones, Hale County; Diante Wood, Sacred Heart.
Bianca Jackson, Brewbaker Tech; Unique Thompson, Faith Academy; Maori Davenport, Charles Henderson; Ajah Wayne, Homewood; Haley Troup, Gadsden City.

Mr. and Miss Basketball awards will be announced later today.

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