Realignment brought changes to the area’s basketball teams, with Eastside moving to Region 8-AAAA, and Alcovy and Newton jumping up to Region 2-AAAAAA.
However, what didn’t change was the fact that there was not only still great basketball being played in Newton County but also great basketball players.
On the girls’ side, Alcovy won Region 2-AAAAAA for the first time and put two players on the senior All-Star team coming up at the end of March in Savannah, and the All-Area team. Eastside and Newton also made the 2013 playoffs, with the Lady Rams falling to Alcovy in the region title game, and advancing to the sweet 16 of the state tournament.
Headlining the girls’ All-Area team is Ashley Williams as the Player of the Year. Williams was also the Region 2-AAAAAA Player of the Year this season, will make an All-Star appearance on March 23 and was Region 3-AAAA co-Player of the Year for the 2011-12 season.
“She is an outstanding player,” Alcovy coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. “She’ll lead Alcovy as the leading rebounder all-time.”
Williams averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds in 2012-13 and went well past 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for her career. Next year, Williams will play for Alabama as one of two Alcovy seniors this season, who signed with a Southeastern Conference school.
“A big part of my coaching philosophy is to work inside-out and to have a player like Ashley on the inside — we built our program around her,” Holtzclaw said. “To be able to do that, to build a program around a kid that has such great character number one and a great work ethic, it’s the main part of the reason we’ve been able to be successful over the last four years.”
Another part of that success is guard Meagan Tucker, who after four years at Alcovy, will play at Auburn next year. Tucker and Williams formed a two-headed, inside-out monster for Alcovy’s opponents throughout the last four years and will be linked to the school’s basketball history for years.
Tucker averaged 14 points and four assists a game, has been an All-Region player each of her four years of high school and will also play in the Georgia Senior All-Star game.
The third of the three Alcovy players on the five-person All-Area team is senior Lakeiyah Sorrells, who will sign a scholarship to play softball in college. Sorrells leads Alcovy all-time in steals and was among Region 2-AAAAAA’s top defensive players, averaging four steals a game.
Sorrells is also the region’s top shortstop in softball, proving her athleticism.
Joining Alcovy’s three players on the All-Area team is Newton junior Precious Price.
Price was Newton’s top scorer, and led the Lady Rams throughout the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament and in a first-round playoff win. She scored 10 points in Eastside’s first-round playoff loss, and will have one more year with the Lady Eagles in 2013-14 to lead her team even further. When Newton defeated Westlake 53-51, after being down by 12 points, in the first round of the state tournament, Price had 11 points and sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining. She also had 15 points, including 11 in the first half as Newton locked up the region’s No. 2 seed in a 49-38 win over Druid Hills on Feb. 8.
Eastside’s Jazzmine Cook was also one of the area’s five best players. Cook scored 13.6 points per game, tops in Region 8-AAAA.