Sardis cager signs with Gadsden State


Photo courtesy of Sand Mountain Reporter

By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter

Sardis varsity girls basketball head coach Heath Cullom described Kaylen Wallace is the most improved player he has ever coached.
“Kaylen went from a seventh grader who couldn’t get into the game to a very important piece of this team the last three years,” Cullom said. “She has been a part of 75 wins in her varsity career and started most of those games. She’s going to be very hard to replace.”
Wallace (pictured above) took the next step in her career On February 23 by signing to play for Gadsden State. The Lady Cardinals’ head coach is Marty Dixon, a 1982 Sardis High graduate.
“Gadsden is getting a very versatile player,” Cullom said. “If Kaylen can han-dle the physicality of the college game, she’ll have a great college career.”
Wallace averaged 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. shot 35 percent from 3-point range and collected 72 steals, 82 blocks and 91 deflections. She was name to the All-Etowah County Schools first team.
“I didn’t think I’d ever make it to college basketball when I was in seventh and eighth grade, because I wasn’t very good,” Wallace said. “But once I started my ninth-grade year I was so much better, and I’ve loved basketball ever since then.”
The 6-foot Wallace said she chose Gadsden State because the school is close to home and because of Dixon.
“I’m a homebody,” she said. “I don’t like going away [and] staying away from my family, and I just like Marty. He’s kind of like Coach Cullom. (Dixon) said I could play post, or I could be on the outside, it just depends. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s all a big family down there, and that’s what I like.”
With Wallace in the starting lineup over the past three seasons, the Lady Lions earned an Elite Eight appearance, three straight regular season Class 5A Area 13 titles, two Area 13 Tournament crowns and one Etowah County Schools Tourament championship.
Wallace also played AAU basketball with the North Alabama Rim Rockers based out of Cullman.
“It’s been special, because a lot of that was the first [time] we’ve ever done,” Wallace said. “I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”
In 2022, the Lions edged Ramsay, 39-38 for their first-ever Northeast Regional Tournament victory.
“We went in thinking that we were going to win,” said Wallace. “We knew we had a chance but knew we’d have to play hard. When we did win, it was a really special memory.”
Wallace expressed gratitude for the support and encouragement she has received from her family and coaches during her athletic career.
“Definitely my parents and Coach Cullom and my AAU coaches, because they’ve pushed me a lot over the last few years to get better.”

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