peterson photo

Kaitlin Peterson

Eufaula’s Kaitlin Peterson and Charles Henderson’s Niaira Jones dominated basketball games this past season from their guard positions. Geneva County’s Karoline Striplin, a center, dominated on the inside.

Those dominating efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

All three have been named a finalist for state player of the year honors in their team’s respective classification by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, which released the 24 overall finalists for girls basketball Friday in all seven Alabama High School Athletic Association classes and in the Alabama Independent Schools Association.

Three finalists were chosen in each of the eight classifications by ASWA members.

The 24 finalists for boys basketball will be released Sunday.

All the finalists had to be a first-team all-state honoree. The all-state teams were announced this past weekend.

Traditionally, all the finalists would be honored at the annual Mr./Miss Basketball banquet in Montgomery. However because of the COVID-19 virus, this year’s banquet has been canceled.

Instead girls player of year winners will be announced on state newspaper websites next Friday night at 11 p.m. and in the ensuing Saturday print edition. The boys winners will be announced in the same manner on Saturday night and in Sunday print editions.

The girls state Super 5 All-State team will be released on Tuesday, March 31 at 11 p.m. and in print editions on Wednesday, April 1. The boys team will be released the following days.

The announcement of the Miss Basketball winner is set for Friday night April 3 and in print editions April 4 and the Mr. Basketball winner on Saturday night April 4 and print editions Sunday, April 5.

“It is with regret that the Alabama Sports Writers Association announces the cancellation of the 2020 Mr./Miss Basketball banquet and awards ceremony due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” ASWA president Creg Stephenson said in an email press release this week.

“We had hoped to go on as planned with the event, or at least postpone it to another date. However, with each passing day, it has become more and more apparent that either option would not be feasible, both for health and safety reasons and due to the constraints of the calendar.

“We still hope we will be able to publicly honor this year’s Mr. and Miss Basketball recipients at a later date, and will make the appropriate announcement when more information is available.”

Eufaula’s Peterson, a 5-foot-9 guard, was named one of the three finalists in Class 6A. She averaged a Wiregrass-best 23.7 points a game this past season for the Tigers, who finished 25-7 and reached the 5A Southeast Regional Tournament. She also earned 7.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 5.5 steals per game.

Voting by ASWA members for the player of the year honors was done before the Alabama-Mississippi game, but after the team roster was announced.

The complete list of girls finalists.

7A GIRLSSarah Ashlee Barker, Spain Park

Aniya Hubbard, Hoover

Amiya Payne, Hewitt-Trussville


Farrah Pearson, Hazel Green

Kaitlin Peterson, Eufaula

Sara Puckett, Muscle Shoals

5A GIRLSNiaira Jones, Charles Henderson

Quintasia Leatherwood, Central-Tuscaloosa

Shaniah Nunn, Fairfield

4A GIRLSAllasha Dudley, Anniston

Madie Krieger, Rogers

Jada Watkins, Sumter Central

3A GIRLSMolly Heard, Pisgah

Jemeriah Moore, Midfield

Ruthie Smith, Lauderdale Co.

2A GIRLSElizabeth Hill, Cold Springs

Brittany Rivera, Collinsville

Karoline Striplin, Geneva Co.

1A GIRLSKatie Jones, Decatur Heritage

Ally McCollum, Phillips

Bailee Usrey, Skyline

AISA GIRLSAugusta Arnold, Southern Academy

Mya Brooks, Glenwood

Chloe Johnson, Lee-Scott

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