Manning helping Billingsley to late season charge
Published 1:30 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023
By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer
Billingsley High School’s Eli Manning is this week’s athlete of the week after his performances between Jan. 24-30. Manning is helping the Bears on a late season charge that has seen them win their last two games after a 74-15 thrashing by Autaugaville High School on Jan. 26.
Billingsley coach Lanny Jones challenged his team after the game to finish the regular season 4-0, seeing four games they were able to win, if they played up to their full potential.
The Bears are halfway to that goal after a 51-32 win over Isabella High School on Jan. 30, and Manning is leading the way.
“He is our basketball guy, and he loves it,” Jones said. “He works at it, and when he has really good games, that is when we are solid.”
Manning posted 20 points on Jan. 27 against Verbena and followed that up with 15 points against Isabella. Against Isabella, Manning recorded 11 of his 15 points in the opening quarter.
“He has been hot lately,” Jones said. “When he is hot and takes care of the ball, he always gives us a pretty good chance (to win).”
Manning’s ability to get to the basket as well has opened up the offensive end of the floor for the Bears in recent games. Manning’s understanding of the defense is allowing for easy kick out opportunities for 3-pointers by his teammates.
“When he gets going, defenses converge and that is where we can get those open shots on kick outs,” Jones said. “I feel like everyone can shoot, and we do not miss bad. I always feel good about whoever is shooting, but we just need to get more aggressive and Eli is.”
Manning and Billingsley will try to complete their 4-0 journey on Jan. 31 against Verbena and finish their regular season on Feb. 2 against Thorsby.
Honorable mention: Iasia Anderson, Chilton County High School
There has been arguably no better player in Chilton County this season than Chilton County High School point guard Iasia Anderson. However, she may have posted her most impressive stat line of the 2022-2023 season on Jan. 24 in the Tigers 59-34 AHSAA Class 6A Area 5 win over Calera High School.
Anderson posted 32 points, her season high in points, and knocked down four 3-pointers in seven attempts. She added 12 rebounds, nine assists, nine steals and three blocks to totals.
Honorable mention: Jakavion Jackson, Maplesville High School
Maplesville High School senior Jakavion Jackson has scored 20 points in three of the Red Devils last five games, including 22 points on Jan. 24 against Loachapoka. Jackson has helped Maplesville round into better form heading into the AHSAA Class 1A Area 7 tournament next week.