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Stallworth named Player of the Year finalist

Georgiana’s Jamichael Stallworth can now add Player of the Year nominee as yet another feather in an already decorated cap.

The Alabama Sports Writers Association announced 24 finalists for the 2018 Mr. Basketball award, and another 24 finalists for Miss Basketball.

Three boys and girls were selected from Class 1A-7A of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) as well as the Alabama Independent Schools Association (AISA).

Stallworth was named a finalist in Class 1A, alongside sophomore Tommy Murr of Lindsay Lane and senior Diante Wood from Sacred Heart. 

Wood and the Sacred Heart Cardinals edged out Georgiana in an overtime win for the state championship.  He is also the two-time defending Player of the Year winner in Class 1A.

Despite the strong competition, Stallworth has made a compelling argument for the throne during the 2017-18 season.

For starters, he’s entered the record books on at least two different occasions this past season.

He’s the highest-scoring player in a single game in Georgiana’s school history (55 points).  Also, he holds the all-time AHSAA record for most consecutive free throws made in a single half with 18.

But, as Georgiana head basketball coach Kirk Norris can attest, one of his most standout qualities is something that he doesn’t have.

“He has no fear,” Norris said.

“He was never afraid. You have players who come along and maybe shy away from the big moment, but Jamichael was already ready for the big shot. And he was confident he would make it, and you can see that from what he’s done this year.”

That confidence has led to game-winning shots time and time again throughout the 2017-18 season, including a flurry of near-NBA regulation 3-pointers in the championship game to force an overtime with Saced Heart and a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to give the Panthers the edge over Brantley in the area championship.

“It’s hard to even imagine some of the things he’s done in one year,” Norris added.

“Some players anywhere don’t have that opportunity to do and make some of the big shots he’s made. If you make one of those in a season, it’s a big deal.  But he’s made a ton of them; he’s gotten more awards than he can probably count.  He may be the most decorated player we’ve ever had as far as awards and postseason honors go.”

A banquet will be held on April 10 at 11:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery, where the winner will be crowned.

Norris also said that, win or lose, Stallworth has left an indelible mark on the school.

“He’s meant a lot to this program,” he said.

“I can remember when Jamichael was in fourth or fifth grade, and he started off being a manager with me.  He’s a special kid. I feel honored for the opportunity to coach such a great player who has meant a lot for his team, his community, myself and everyone who has been involved.”