• 55°

Bailey, Clements deserving of basketball honors

Choosing this year’s boys basketball player of the year was particularly difficult. No local team had an outstanding season, and no one player stood head and shoulders above the rest.

The decision to choose Maplesville point guard Brian Bailey was finally made because Bailey did more for his team than any other local player. Bailey wasn’t the top scorer (that would be Jemison senior Christian Briscoe with 27 points a game) or the top rebounder (Billingsley senior Jay Tyus with 12 a game), and the Class 1A Red Devils weren’t the area’s best team (even adjusted for the difference in classification, that was probably Chilton County).

But Bailey was thrust into a difficult situation his junior season, and he responded. Bailey was one of a lineup full of stars in 2007 but was the only returning starter in ‘08. Coach Eric Bailey asked Brian to take most of the team’s shots and still find a way to keep the younger players involved so that they might improve, and our player of the year did just that.

Because of Bailey’s efforts this year, the Red Devils look primed for a big season next year.

Our coach of the year, Thorsby’s Corey Clements, is an amazing story because he spent six years playing basketball at Thorsby and now 11 years as a coach. And, as one might imagine, representing the school in a positive way is one of Clements’s priorities.

Clements in 2008 took a solid team, not a great team but one that was willing to put forth maximum effort, and made it competitive enough to make the championship game of the county basketball tournament and hang in against CCHS for three quarters.

The player of the year and coach of the year packages ran in Saturday’s newspaper (come by our office across from Winn-Dixie on Monday if you missed it), and today we present the boys all-area basketball team. The girls basketball honors will run later this week. Enjoy!