Gaston’s Merriman leads off All-Messenger boys basketball

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

By his own admission, Gaston High’s Mica Merriman is the type of athlete who thrives under pressure.
“I want the ball in tight situations,” he said. “That’s always my mindset, that I can always knock [the shots] down.”
The 6’4 junior guard certainly made his share of clutch shots this past season, which was a major factor in his being named Player of the Year for the 2023-24 All-Messenger boys basketball team.
In 31 games, Merriman (pictured above at left) averaged 19.3 points while shooting 38 percent from three-point range and 82 percent from the foul line. As his 5.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game can attest to, he was no slouch clearing the glass and distributing the ball.
“Mica has been in so many of these pressure-type of games, and we know he’s reliable when the ball’s in his hands,” said Gaston boys basketball coach and Mica’s dad Michael. “When he isn’t shooting the ball well on a given night, he finds other ways to help the team win.”
Joining Mica Merriman on the first team is Sardis senior center Eli Morton, Glencoe junior forward Garrett Morgan, Westbrook Christian senior forward Eli Edge and Ashville sophomore guard J.B. Potter.
Averaging 15.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, Morton was a key factor for a Lion team that posted a school-record 28-3 mark, won the county and area tournament championships and made the Northeast Regional Tournament for the first time in 17 years.
Morgan was a force on both ends of the floor for Glencoe, as his average of 18.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists along with 41 percent shooting from three-point range played a significant part in the Yellow Jackets’ area championship and second straight subregional playoff appearance.
The 6’5 Edge keyed the Warriors’ drive to a 16-8 record and subregional playoff berth with 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Potter, who already had 196 career points heading into his junior year, averaged 17-7 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Bulldogs (18-13).
Michael Merriman received Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Bulldogs to a 24-7 record, an area championship and the program’s first appearance in the regional finals since 2005.

2023-24 All-Messenger boys basketball team
Player of the Year: Mica Merriman, Gaston
Defensive MVP: Conner Lowery, Sardis
Coach of the Year: Michael Merriman, Gaston

First team
Mica Merriman, junior, Gaston
Eli Morton, senior, Sardis
Garrett Morgan, junior, Glencoe
Eli Edge, senior, Westbrook Christian
J.B. Potter, sophomore, Ashville
Second team
Luke Martin, senior, Sardis
Jameson Scissum, junior, Etowah
Devon Green, junior, Gaston
Kason Moore, senior, Sardis
Aiden Cornutt, senior, Glencoe
Third team
Jakobi Sharp, sophomore, Gadsden City
Jalein Walker, senior, Etowah
Marty Wooten, senior, West End
Silas Osborne, junior, Southside
Landon Davenport, senior, Hokes Bluff
Honorable mention
Anderson Morgan, junior, Hokes Bluff
Kylen Johnson, 8th grade, Coosa Christian
James McFadden, senior, Gadsden City
Cooper King, junior, Westbrook Christian
Noah Johnson, sophomore, Hokes Bluff
All-Defensive team
MVP: Conner Lowery, senior, Sardis
Kodie Bogle, junior, Gaston
Ashton Moody, senior, Hokes Bluff
Cooper Greer, senior, Westbrook Christian
Javien McCants, senior, Gadsden City
Skylar Yancey, senior, West End
Mason Stephens, junior, Southside
Braylen Smith, senior, Glencoe
Marquan Mahome, senior, Etowah
Nate Huckbay, sophomore, Ashville
D.J. Mackey, junior, Coosa Christian

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