These players are frequently labeled as “clutch” players for their ability to bring a vital component to their team — whether it’s an unexpected basket, a momentum-changing steal or a key rebound — and are valued by their coaches and fellow squad members as often being “in the right place at the right time.”
Parrish’s Desmond Brown and Carbon Hill’s Meagan Bice are two such players. The two seniors have proven to be an asset in both of their teams’ journey to the AHSAA region tournaments — with both being named to the Walker County and area All-Tournament teams.
Desmond Brown, Parrish
Brown was a newcomer to the third-ranked Tornadoes’ squad at the beginning of the season. The 6-3 Brown had plenty of speed and potential in the eyes of his coach, Heath Burns, and found himself in a “sixth man” position, where he was rotated frequently with the team’s starters to bring in a change of pace on offense and defense or exploit a weakness in the opposition.
Brown, however, began to exceed expectations and dedicated himself into getting better in every part of his game. Shortly after the Christmas break, his hard work paid off as he found himself in a starting role, becoming both a strong presence on defense, as well as a capable shooter.
“When Desmond first arrived, he was extremely raw, but we saw his potential — we just needed to fundamentalize some of the things he was doing on offense and defense. He began to grasp the defensive side of the ball very rapidly and when he was in the game, he would always guard the best player,” Burns said. “He’s one of those guys who comes to work everyday determined to give it everything he’s got. He earned his spot as a starter — he accepted his role in the beginning when many kids would scoff at not playing all the time — he continued to work until he got the job. To see where he was at the beginning of the season to where he’s at now is a real success story. It’s been a joy to watch.”
Brown stated that he’s enjoyed seeing his team progress and being a part of their improvement.
“Everyone on the team is positive about everything we do. No one cares about who gets the shot in, so we all work hard to get our victories and hone our game,” Brown said. “It’s been really fun to have the success we’ve had in my senior year and hopefully we’ll continue to move forward at Hanceville.”
Meagan Bice, Carbon Hill
In contrast to Brown, Bice has been with Carbon Hill through her entire four year high school career. Her early days with the team were challenging both physically and emotionally, with few victories and no expectations in regard to championship opportunities.
This season, Bice and the Lady Bulldogs have found themselves in exciting new territory — winning the Walker County Championship for the third consecutive time and capturing the team’s first Area Championship — as well as making their first trip to the region tournament.
Along the way, Bice has been a key to the run, scoring in double digits, grabbing steals and rebounds when the game is one the line and finding open teammates for quick baskets.
A champion in volleyball and softball, Carbon Hill coach Wade Tittle said that Bice’s tenacity and will to win makes her an important part of the team.
“More than anything, Meagan is a winner. On the court, she understands her role and plays good defense. She’s made a lot of big plays and has had to play in a lot of different position — she’s done well in each one of them,” Tittle said. “She always wants to guard our opponents’ best player, as she wants to make the other team work for every shot. This year, I’ve seen her work extremely hard, especially in the postseason. She doesn’t want to this year end.”