Boys basketball midseason report

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, January 18, 2018

Now that the county tournament has been played, basketball teams are in the midst of the second half of the season and area play, which will decide each team’s postseason possibilities.

However, before we focus on the final stretch of the season and area tournaments, let us take a look back at how the county’s teams have fared and who stood out at the midway point of the season.


Chilton County High School

Summary: The Tigers won the county tournament, which was not much of a surprise as they entered the competition as the No. 1 seed.

Over the years, CCHS (7-10, 1-1) has been known for its athletic ability on the court and that is no different this year, with several players that can get up and down the court in a hurry.

Seniors Mondez Jones, Patrick Rogers and Joey Cleckler provide head coach Deon Timmons with highly productive minutes and a leadership quality that will be much needed in the final weeks of the regular season.

MVP: Mondez Jones has been a playmaker for the Tigers for the past couple of years, but is now in his senior season.

Jones does a great job scoring and on the boards, and has made earning double-doubles a routine.

As a senior, not only can he make a highlight reel dunk, but he can also follow it up by making sure that his teammates are in the proper position at the defensive end of the court.


Isabella High School

Summary: It has been another rough year for the Isabella boys basketball program, which has only wound up on the winning end twice.

However, despite the final results there are segments of nearly every game where improvement can be seen.

The next step for the Mustangs and first year head coach Jarred Day is to find ways to string possessions together and play complete games.

MVP: Isaac Martin is a dangerous shooter from beyond the arc and has gone through stretches where he has been lights out from long range.

His ability to knock down shots has kept Isabella in games and forces opponents to be aware of where he is on the court at all times.


Jemison High School

Summary: Jemison’s first round loss to Maplesville was the upset of the county tournament, and the Panthers (5-9, 0-4) have since followed it up with a pair of losses in area play to Calera and Marbury.

There are certainly some senior leaders on the team, such as Ryan Thompson, Eric Evans and Ty Leachman.

The team will lean on them as they look for a berth into the postseason.

MVP: For the Panthers, it all starts down low with Ryan Thompson.

He is arguably the best post player in the county and knows how to use his length to his advantage around the rim both offensively and defensively.

Nathanial Watson has given Maplesville a physical presence around the rim. (File photo)

Maplesville High School

Summary: Since losing by one-point in the county championship, the Red Devils (6-6, 1-1) have won a pair of games, including its opener in area play.

At this point, it has been a highly productive season for Maplesville, as the players continue to learn new coach Stacy McGehee’s system and what he expects from them.

It appears that the Red Devils are continuing to grow as a team, and at the time of the season when it matters most.

MVP: It is hard to choose just one, because Maplesville does a nice job of spreading the ball around and has the ability to receive scoring from multiple players on any given night, such as freshman Jackson Abbott’s performance in the county title game.

However, Nathaniel Watson’s presence in the paint helps enhance the success of Maplesville’s shooters.

His size allows him to play physical down low and position himself for rebounds and points off put backs.


Thorsby High School

Summary: Thorsby has done a nice job of replacing some of the missing pieces from last year’s team with underclassman.

Although not deep with experience, the Rebels (8-4, 3-0) have benefited from major contributions down low from Sawyer Sellers and Tucker Patterson.

Veterans Christian Fortner and Cain Niece produce the majority of Thorsby’s scoring.

MVP: The Rebels have their eyes set on the postseason and look like a team that could do some damage once they get there.

Christian Fortner is a major reason why, as he is practically a walking double-double.

Despite his knack for putting up points, he also stuffs the stat sheet in other ways with a versatility that includes crashing the boards and finding open teammates.


Verbena High School

Summary: After a quick start to the season, which included a pair of area victories, the Verbena Red Devils (3-7, 2-2) have won just one game since that early stretch.

The Red Devils continue to attempt to regain that early form, and will most likely need to do so if they aspire to not only make the postseason, but make some noise once they get there.

MVP: Xavier Dejarnett is only a sophomore, but already has displayed the killer instinct that it takes to be a scorer.

He has shown both a shooter’s touch and the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim.

The future looks bright for Dejarnett not only the rest of this season, but also in the coming years.


Billingsley High School

Summary: Billingsley is in a similar position as area foe Verbena, in that it started the year fast with a couple wins in its first three games, but has since cooled off.

However, the Bears (3-6, 2-2) recently picked up a narrow win in the area against Fayetteville and could be finding its groove once again.

MVP: Raymond Cutler and La’Darius Starks have both been go-to scorers throughout the year for the Bears.

Together they poise an attacking style of offense and seem confident with the ball in their hands.

On a team with only two seniors, Cutler and Starks must not only provide points, but also in the leadership department.