The accolades haven’t stopped for a handful of the area’s top girls and boys basketball players.
Four area basketball players and a coach were honored recently by USA TODAY as members of the newspaper’s Tennessee all-state team.
Riverdale guard Alexa Middleton, a Tennessee signee, was named the state’s player of the year. Blackman coach Chad Hibdon was named the state’s coach of the year. Hibdon was also the USA TODAY national coach of the year.
“It’s just cool to be recognized for things like this,” said Middleton, who was named The Daily News Journal’s Co-Female Athlete of the year along with Blackman guard Crystal Dangerfield earlier this week. “I’ve worked hard for a long time to get to this point. It’s cool to be recognized.
“The accolades come, but if it wasn’t for my teammates, coaches and family, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Dangerfield joined Middleton on the first team. Cannon County guard Abbey Sissom was named to the second team.
Ensworth center Kennesha Nichols, a Rutherford County resident, was also named to the first team. Rounding out the first team were Jackson County guard Jaycee Coe and Briarcrest Christian forward Jasmine Cincore. Coe has signed with Kentucky and Cincore has signed with Nebraska.
“I really appreciate this honor and it’s really cool to be selected out of all the girls in the state,” Nichols said. “To be one of the five, and to know the other ones is really a pleasure.”
Joining Sissom on the second team were Micah Sheetz of Knoxville Webb, Harpeth Hall’s Kennedy Potts, Columbia’s Keiana Gilbert and Evangecial Christian School Emily Lytle.
Dangerfield averaged 14.5 points a game and was the TSSAA Class AAA state tournament MVP. She was named the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year and was a third team MaxPreps All-American.
Dangerfield said the many accolades is a tribute to the program’s success. Blackman won its first state championship this past season. And the Lady Blaze were named national champions by USA TODAY, MaxPreps and ESPN.
“It just shows what coach (Hibdon) has done for the Blackman program,” Dangerfield said. “It shows all of our hard work is paying off.”
Middleton, a McDonald’s All-American and WBCA All-American, averaged 17.8 points this past season. She was the Class AAA Miss Basketball.
Sissom, an MTSU signee, was named the Class AA Miss Basketball. She averaged 24.4 points this past season.
“This really means a lot to me since it comes from a national (media),” Sissom said. “But a lot of people helped me get to this point. It wasn’t just me. It’s my parents, my coaches and everyone I’ve played with. They all had a big part in it.”
Blackman junior Jauan Jennings, who is The DNJ’s Male Athlete of the Year, was named to the boys’ all-state second team.
The boys first team included White Station guard Chris Chiozza, Ensworth guard Andrew Fleming, FRA center Rob Marberry, White Station forward LeRon Black, and Arlington forward C.J. Anderson. Black was the player of the year.
Joining Jennings on the second team were Humboldt guard Desonta Bradford, CPA center Braxton Blackwell, St. George’s Justin Wertner and Christian Brothers’ Josh Bougher.
“It’s like any other achievement I’ve received this year, I really couldn’t do it without the people and support I have,” said Jennings, a Tennessee football commitment. “I just give God the glory, and it’s a humbling experience.”