Area players earn All-State basketball honors
by LaVonte Young
Mac Kelley (left), Tazz Marbury (middle) and Shakayla Thomas earned ASWA All-State honors.Bob Crisp
SYLACAUGA — East Central Alabama is well represented in the Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State basketball team. The Daily Home coverage area had four players to earn spots on the list.

Sylacauga standout Shakayla Thomas earned first team honors in Class 5A. Thomas had an historic junior season. She scored an impressive 1,020 points in 32 games, which averaged out to 32 points per game. Her 1,020 points is the fifth most points in a single season in Alabama High School Athletic Association history. Thomas averaged 14.5 rebounds per game. The 465 boards she pulled down helped her become the all-time leader in rebounds in the AHSAA history.

“It is a blessing,” Thomas said. “I want to thank God for this and my team helped me get where I am today. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have any of this. I am grateful for the team that I did have. We are losing two seniors and we are coming back.”

The 6-foot forward credits the work she puts in in the off-season for her stellar junior season.

“So far my junior year has been the best year of my career,” Thomas said. “Being in the gym in the off-season has really paid off. They used to say if you worked out in the off-season it will show in the games, and it showed.”

This is the fourth time that Thomas has earned a spot on the ASWA All-State team.

“We are very excited and honored that she is going to get an opportunity to be chosen one of the best in the state in Class 5A and possibly position herself for Player of the Year,” Sylacauga head coach Derrick Crawford said. “She had a great year. She averaged 30 plus points, 15 rebounds, and 161 steals. I think she led the state in scoring and steals. I think she was second in rebounding in the state this past year, to go along with 113 assists. She is such an unselfish basketball players and such a pleasure to coach and watch. We didn’t accomplish the goals that we wanted this past season. We are pleased with her output. She has lofty goals that she set. Her ultimate goal is to be the best player in the county. We still have business that we have to take care of next year. We talk daily about it and she is very hungry. This is a reward for her as well as her teammates. She has teammates that are very unselfish and gets her the ball when she is open. She knows that and she is very grateful to her teammates. It is a big day and we thank the sports writers, The Daily Home and everybody that was a part of making sure she had this opportunity. We are going to roll our sleeves up and go back to work.”

Childersburg’s Mac Kelley earned honorable mention All-State honors for the second season in a row.

Kelley averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and 240 steals to lead the Lady Tigers to an historic season.

“I was shocked because I didn’t have the same season as I had last season,” Kelley said. “To me, I started out a little slow and at the end I picked it up a little bit.”

In the postseason, Kelley’s points per game increased to 21.

“If we really wanted to make it anywhere we had to pick our games up and I had to pick my game up especially,” Kelley said. “That’s what we focused on during postseason and getting to the Regional tournament.”

Childersburg head coach Johnny Johnson was elated when he found out Kelley made the All-State team.

“She had a great year for us,” Johnson said. “ She played a part in the Lady Tigers winning the area, sub-region, getting to the region and getting to the region championship. She played well and she had an awesome career at Childersburg High School.

Sylacauga’s Kelvin (Tazz) Marbury earned honorable mention honors in Class 5A. Marbury averaged 17 points per game and helped the Aggies earn another 20 plus wins for the season.

“It was a surprise, but I am honored to be on it,” Marbury said. “Coach put me in the right places at the right time and I just executed. I feel blessed to be on the team.”

Sylacauga reached the Final Four in Marbury’s junior season. The 6-foot-1 sharp shooter had 15 points in that game. That performance was a sneak peek of what the Aggie fans were getting this season. He said he was prepared to be the guy for Sylacauga this season.

“It was difficult, as I thought it would be,“ Marbury said. “My ninth-grade year, Coach Ball told me I was good enough to play on the B-team, but he wanted me to have the ball in my hand my ninth-grade year so when it was my time I would be able to execute.”

Sylacauga head coach Josh Golden believes this is was a great way for Marbury’s high school career to end.

“I think it is a fitting end to a good career for Tazz,” Golden said. “He played three years of varsity basketball here and he has been a big part of the success the program has had the last three years. He averaged a little over 17 points per game; he was our leading scorer all season. He tied the school record in threes with eight on the night where he scored 37. It is unfortunate that he was injured in January. We really started playing well; we won nine out of 10 games before he got hurt. He came back and played hard for us down the stretch. He had 20 points against Talladega in the area tournament and you could tell he never really got to 100 percent. He is working hard now trying to get ready to play at next level and figure where he is going to be next year. I am proud of him. He is a great kid, he is a good student and he has good grades. He does things the right way. He is never in trouble, so he is a good person to represent our program.”

CVA’s Danielle Richardson earned honorable mention All-State honors in AISA.
© 2013