The future is bright for girls basketball in Fayette County. While there were fewer state playoff teams this season, every squad was competitive while featuring rosters extremely light on seniors. Of the twelve players on the All-County First and Second Team, just four players are seniors, meaning a whole lot of talent will be back next season.
The top senior in the area takes top honors. Alli Jones of Starr’s Mill is the Player of the Year. Jones, a North Georgia signee, led the Lady Panthers with 17.2 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists a game while earning All-Region First Team honors, even as she was the focus of the opposition’s defense every night.
“Alli was a vital part of the team’s success this year,” said her coach, Shane Ratliff. “Usually, if Alli was playing well, the team was playing well. In several games, her offensive output is what pushed us to win the game. Her game is surely going to be missed and really hard to replace.”
Jessica Watkins of Fayette County is the Defensive Player of the Year. The top rebounder in her region, Watkins also brought home All-Region Second Team honors and pulled down 20 rebounds in a game more than once this year.
“She was one of the best rebounders that I have coached at Fayette County. She was also our defensive enforcer,” said her coach, John Strickland.
Rashad Muhyee of Whitewater is Coach of the Year. Muhyee edges out Doug Crane of Our Lady of Mercy, among other strong candidates, for the top honor. Muhyee took a team that relied heavily on a quartet of freshman and led them to the state tournament. The Wildcats have a very bright future under his leadership.
Alli Jones and Jessica Watkins are joined on the All-County First Team by Darryl Langford of Fayette County, DeLayne Rotolo of McIntosh, Kasey Toles of Sandy Creek, and Morgan Jones of Our Lady of Mercy.
Langford, a junior, paced the Tiger attack with 15 points and 7 rebounds a night, adding All-Region First Team honors.
Rotolo, a junior, played all over the court for the Chiefs, leading the team in points (14.2 per game), rebounds (6), assists (3.9), and steals (2.2), while also shooting 35 percent on 3-pointers and getting All-Region First Team honors.
Toles, a junior, earned All-Region First Team honors on the strength of 14 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals a night.
Jones, a sophomore, led the Bobcats to the best season in school history, posting 21.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.6 blocks, and 3.6 steals a night, while earning Region Player of the Year honors.
The All-County Second Team consists of Whitewater’s Jordan Barnett, Courtney Smith, and Jada Claude, with Fayette’s Maegan Barkley, Starr’s Mill’s Riley Clark, and McIntosh’s Samantha Coffey.
Barnett was a senior leader for the Wildcats, scoring 9 points a game.
Smith, a freshman, led the team in scoring with 12 points.
Claude, a freshman, added 8 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks a night.
Barkley, a sophomore, has quickly developed into one of the best point guards around, notching 10 points and 6 assists a game.
Clark, a senior, posted 9.2 points and 4 assists a game.
Coffey, a junior, posted 10.7 points and 3.6 rebounds a game.
A host of talented players earn Honorable Mention recognition. Fayette County’s honorees are Jazlyne Hanson, Trinity Brown, and Rikkelle Miller. McIntosh’s honoree is Savannah Soles. Sandy Creek’s honoree is Morghan Currie. Starr’s Mill’s honorees are Dylan Patterson and Kelly Kozusko. Whitewater’s honorees are Janiya Jones and Morgan Johnson. Our Lady of Mercy’s honorees are Eboni Winston and Chi Chi Ekwuocha.
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