By Chris McCarthy/Editor
A pair of Titans and a veteran Warrior highlights the 2015-16 All-Messenger high school basketball team.
After breaking virtually every school scoring record and leading his team to the Northeast Regional Tournament finals, Gadsden City senior guard Kalin Johnson was far and away the top choice for boys’ Player of the Year.
The decision was much tougher on the girls’ side, as Gadsden City junior guard Haley Troup and Westbrook Christian senior guard Abby Lockridge both produced outstanding seasons worthy of the top honors. That being the case, Troup and Lockridge are the girls’ co-Players of the Year.
In 31 games this past season, Johnson averaged 24.3 while shooting 50.2 percent (107-for-212) from the three-point line and 78 percent (100-for-128) from the free-throw line while helping the Titans to a 24-8 record, an area title and the championship game of the Northeast Regional Tournament.
Johnson broke every school scoring record, including career points (1,481), single season points (758), most point in a game (40), most 3-point baskets in a game (eight), career 3-point baskets (186); most 3-point baskets in a single season (107), most career field goals (441), most field goal sin a season (274); and most free throws in a career (213).
Johnson is considering several junior college scholarships offers, including Gadsden State, Snead State, Marion Military, Wallace-Hanceville, Shelton State, Chipola (Fla.) State and Iowa Central.
Troup averaged 17.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 80 percent (111-for-139) at the foul line in 27 games. She has numerous scholarship offers that she has narrowed down to Auburn, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Texas and Texas Tech.
A starter since an eighth grader, Lockridge was a standout on both ends of the court for the Lady Warriors this season. She averaged 20.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.8 steals, 4.2 assists and 1.6 blocks as Westbrook went 22-6, won the area title and qualified for the Northeast Regional Tournament for the first time in 17 years.
Johnson, Troup and Lockridge all were named to the ASWA All-State first team earlier this month.
Joining Johnson on the boys first team are Gadsden City senior Shond Kidd-McKinney, Westbrook junior Kyle Leonard, Hokes Bluff senior Kaden Moore and Coosa Christian junior Caden Davidson.
McKinney averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Leonard averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists for a Warrior squad that was ranked No. 1 in Class 3A for much of the season, won the area title and qualified for the Northeast Regional Tournament. Moore averaged a double-double of 17.8 point 11.3 rebounds. Davidson collected 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals per game. He helped the Conquerors go18-6 and attain a state ranking of No. 7.
Rounding out the girls first team are Gadsden City junior guard Brooke Burns, Hokes Bluff junior center Kendall Johnson and Westbrook sophomore guard Olivia Graham.
Burns averaged 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 84 percent (109-for-130) from the free throw line. She is considering offers from Auburn, Jacksonville State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Samford, Tulane, Southern Mississippi, North Florida and Belmont. She currently has 1,472 career points.
Johnson averaged 12.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.0 blocks while helping the Lady Eagles post a 28-4 record, win an area championship and make it to the Northeast Regional Tournament.
As Lockridge’s backcourt mate, Graham averaged 16.9 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 steals.
Westbrook swept Coach of the Year honors with the boys’ Donnie Pruett and the girls’ Jamie Barkley.
All-Messenger basketball team
MVP: Kalin Johnson, Gadsden City
Kalin Johnson, Sr., Gadsden City
Kyle Leonard, Jr., Westbrook
Shond Kidd-McKinney, Sr., Gadsden City
Kaden Moore, Sr., Hokes Bluff
Caden Davidson, Jr., Coosa Christian
Hunter Grant, West End
Kyle Edwards, Westbrook
Pace Ozmint, Glencoe
Jordan Douglas, Gaston
Taylor Gidley, Southside
Alvin Bolton, Etowah
Jacob Hyde, Gadsden City
Dalton Harris, Southside
Andre Little, West End
Chandler Richards, Westbrook
Coach of the Year: Donnie Pruett, Westbrook
MVP: Haley Troup, Gadsden City, Abby Lockridge, Westbrook
Haley Troup, Jr., Gadsden City
Abby Lockridge, Sr., Westbrook
Brooke Burns, Jr., Gadsden City
Kendall Johnson, Jr., Hokes Bluff
Olivia Graham, Soph., Westbrook
Breia Little, Glencoe
Kelsey Patterson, Southside
Gabby Williams, Etowah
Tylynn Register, Hokes Bluff
Samara Brewster, Jr., Coosa Christian
Lauren Hunt, Fr., Southside
Taylor Bush, Gaston
Lauren Moore, Glencoe
Devin Holsonback, Sardis
Madison Grant, Etowah
Coach of the Year: Jamie Barkley, Westbrook Christian