Alliyah Smith, of Athens, and DaNeshia “Lou Lou” Malone, of Clements have been selected to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Classic that will be played Friday, March 15 at Alabama State University’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery. In all, 24 seniors were selected to represent Alabama in the 23nd annual event.
Smith, a 6-foot, 3-inch senior, led Athens to a Northwest Regional appearance for the second consecutive season. Malone, a fellow 6-footer, won a state championship with Clements in 2010. A six year starter, Malone finished her career in Alabama High School girls basketball history in the top ten in blocks, rebounds, points, free throws attempts and made free throws.
The girls’ game will tip off at 5 p.m. and the boys’ game will follow at 7. The teams report Wednesday, March 13.
The games will be played in Montgomery for the second year in a row after being hosted in Pelham from 2003-2011. The series is tied at 11 wins each for both boys and girls after last year’s split. The Alabama boys won 109-104 and the Mississippi girls won 94-91. Both games were among the most exciting in the series’ history.
Coaches for the Alabama girls’ squad are Hoover Coach Tiffany Frederick and Woodland Coach Larry Strain. Frederick led Hoover (28-4) to the Class 6A state championship this season in her first year as the Lady Bucs’ head coach. She guided Fairfield to the 5A state crown in 2010. Strain guided Woodland (34-2) to the Class 2A state title last week – beating previously unbeaten Prattville Christian (34-1) in the finals. His Lady Bobcats were state runners-up in 2011. Brenda Mayes of Muscle Shoals is the administrative coach.
Coaches for Alabama’s boys are Earl Taylor of St. Jude and Bubba Webster of Madison County. Taylor guided the Pirates (28-6) to the 1A state championship, and Webster coached Madison County (29-4) to the Class 4A state title. Jamie Lee of Decatur is the administrative coach.
Highlighting the Alabama girls squad are two players who were selected MVPs in last week’s AHSAA Final 48 State Basketball Championships. Hoover center Marqu’es Webb, a Vanderbilt signee, was named Class 6A state tournament MVP. She set a state-tournament record with 108 rebounds in six Final 48 game appearances. Jasmine Rhodes of Faith Academy, an LSU signee, was named MVP of the Class 5A state tournament after leading Faith to its first state title.
Four other players selected have also signed college scholarships. Guard Alexandria Gholston of R.A. Hubbard has signed with the University of Alabama, Breigha Wilder-Cochran of Hoover with South Alabama, Kristen Emerson of Prattville Christian with Troy University, Hannah Nichols of Madison County with Samford, Dominique Patrick of Center Point with Grambling State and Lindsey Jennings of Bob Jones with Northwest Florida.
Highlighting the boys’ squad is Carver-Montgomery’s Jeremy Johnson. Johnson, an Auburn football signee, was named Mr. Football by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and played in the Alabama-Mississippi Football Game last December.
Two Final 48 MVPs are on the boys’ roster. Malek Grant of Mountain Brook was named 6A MVP and Seab Webster, son of Madison County Coach Bubba Webster, was chosen MVP in the 4A tourney. Grant is headed to Faulkner State Junior College and Webster signed with Alabama-Huntsville.
Six other all-stars have already signed college scholarships, including 6-foot-10 Jimmie Taylor of Greensboro (Alabama), Shelby County forward Tyler Madison (UAB), Isaiah Maston of Wenonah (South Alabama), De’Runnya Wilson of Wenonah (Mississippi State) and Brandon Roberts of West Morgan (Samford).
Highlighting the Mississippi girls’ roster is 6-foot-2 Southhaven center Jasmine Joyner, a Tennessee-Chattanooga signee who has helped her team reach the Class 6A state finals scheduled Saturday in Jackson. Columbus guard Kiandria Patterson has signed with Mississippi State, Lasher Cotton of Eastside and Kierra Jordan of Lanier, 5-11 and 6-1 forwards respectively, with Southern Miss. Southaven guard JoAnna Smith and Oxford forward Alexus Malone have also signed with the University of Buffalo.
Among the top players on the Mississippi boys’ roster is 6-8 forward TreShawn Bolden of Callaway. He had 18 points and 13 rebounds in a Class 5A semifinal win over McComb to send his team into Saturday’s state finals. Bolden is unsigned. Rahkeem Lehaman, a 6-4 guard from Amanda Elzy, has signed with Middle Tennessee State and 6-foot Olive Branch guard Sam Craft is headed to Memphis.