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March 17, 2013

ASWA ALL-STATE BASKETBALL TEAMS: Lady Broncos’ Terry leads local list of selections

Elliott, Harris earn 2nd-Team spots, 5 others picked as honorable mentions

MONTGOMERY — Following in the footsteps of an extremely talented sister is never easy in the world of high school sports.

Just ask Taylor Terry.

The expectations were just as high — if not higher — for the Holly Pond multi-sport athlete as they were for her well-known sibling, Haley, who made one last mark on the Green and White basketball program by helping lead the Lady Broncos to a Final 48 appearance in 2010.

In her first season at the varsity level, you would’ve never even known her first name was Taylor. “That’s Haley’s sister, right?” people would ask when they saw the younger Terry on the court.

But now that Taylor has completed a spectacular three-year career at Holly Pond, capped off with her own trip to the state tournament just this month, there’s no doubt the senior has created an identity of her own.

When folks notice her these days, the comments have most likely changed quite a bit.

“That right there is Taylor Terry, one of the best female student-athletes to ever put on a Bronco uniform.

“There’s one of the Terry sisters. Weren’t they something to watch?

“Hey, there goes an All-State First Team basketball player.”

That last statement can be said of Terry as of today, when the Alabama Sports Writers Association released its first wave of annual basketball awards.

The Holly Pond (Class 3A) star leads a group of eight total players from The Times’ coverage area to earn a spot on their respective classes All-State squads. Cold Springs’ (2A) Chayse Elliott and Hanceville’s (3A) Brontae Harris were both Second Team selections, while Holly Pond’s Colby Adams, Cold Springs’ Chloe Harbison, Fairview’s (4A) Blake Parker, Cullman’s (5A) Morgan Smith and St. Bernard’s (1A) Sean Moriarty all received honorable mention nods.

On a team chalked full of girls who genuinely treat each other like family, Terry served as the big sister who ensured each and every Bronco stayed focused on the task at hand — winning a state championship. With Terry’s guidance and veteran leadership, Holly Pond nearly fulfilled that goal, advancing to its first state final in school history versus eventual champ Lauderdale County.

Meg Gambrill, Natasha Holcombe, Taylor Rowell and Rachel Finley were all starters for obvious reasons, but even still, each girl won’t deny they’re better basketball players and better people because of the on- and off-court relationships they’ve built with Terry as a teammate, friend and sister.

“She’s well received by all the players because she treats them right,” Bronco coach Scott Adams said of his standout senior. “She looks to win, and sometimes she can be competitive, but she’s very caring toward her teammates, and they respond to that.”

Terry certainly had a regular season to remember, helping Holly Pond win its first girls’ Cullman County Basketball Tournament championship since 1997 with an All-Tourney Team performance, but she’ll always go down in Green and White lore for the way she willed the Broncos through a tough stretch of teams with tall players in the playoffs.

At the Northeast Regional Tournament, Piedmont had BreAnna Thompson (5’11”) and Ashville had Autumn Swearengin (6’), but Holly Pond had the 5-foot-10 Terry, who limited each foes’ superstars in the paint en route to garnering All-Tournament MVP recognition.

Terry didn’t stop once the Broncos made it to Birmingham, either. She helped keep Straughn senior Brittany Driver from going off in the state semifinal before closing her career with 15 points in the title tilt. The forward was named to the All-State Tournament Team and won the girls 3-point shootout competition later that night.

For the year, Terry averaged 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, while swiping 88 steals.

“I think maybe what Taylor did for us as much as anything was show mental toughness,” said Adams, who was voted the Class 3A girls’ Coach of the Year. “When we really needed a bucket, when we really needed something to happen, she was always able to rise to the occasion.”

Elliott’s inclusion on the Second Team was his second in a row. Despite missing nine games with a broken wrist, the UAH signee was still the best player on the court most ballgames when he returned from the injury.

The forward’s grit and determination were never more apparent than in Cold Springs’ county tournament contest against West Point. After struggling to just six points in the first half, Elliott went berserk for 26 in the second, hitting 3-pointers from well behind the arc and driving to the basket at will.

The Eagle concluded the season with 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He surpassed the 2,000-point career mark in his team’s regional semifinal loss to Hatton and was awarded the Joe Shults Award following the county tournament.

An honorable mention in his freshman season, Harris found a way to put up even better numbers in his sophomore campaign to make the move to the Second Team.

The sharpshooter racked up 627 points — only three other local players (Holly Pond’s Terry and Adams, as well as St. Bernard's JaDavian Roland) had at least 500 — for an average of 20.9 per game and played a crucial role in Hanceville’s Northwest Regional Tournament berth. There, Harris had 16 points against Madison Academy — the eventual 3A boys champion — by creating his own shots with stop jumpers and NBA-range 3’s. He was an obvious addition on the All-Regional Tournament Team.

After two years, Harris already has 1,232 career points. Without cracking a smile or giving off even the slightest hint he was kidding, the sophomore said he believes he can reach 4,000 points by the time he graduates.

It’s no secret Holly Pond’s boys had a plethora of players who could score, but when the Broncos needed someone to step up and make a shot, Adams was always the one they went to. In almost every instance, the junior came through, whether it was with a clutch 3-pointer or with much-needed free throws down the stretch.

Green and White coach Mitch Morris has made it known he’s most comfortable with the ball in Adams’ hands with the game on the line, and he said his players feel the same way.

Adams led Holly Pond with 16.2 points and 3.5 assists per game, grabbing a spot on the All-Northeast Regional Tournament Team and aiding the Broncos in heading back to the Final 48 for the first time since 1988.

With Tammy West as coach, it’s no surprise this year’s Cold Springs’ girls team lived and died by the 3 in the postseason.

Harbison, a junior, played the biggest part in opening up those deep shots for her teammates by penetrating even the stingiest of defenses and dishing out to open girls behind the arc. At the same time, she was just as capable of holding onto the ball and completing the play with a floater or an inside move.

Harbison did a little bit of everything this season, compiling averages of 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game to go along with 95 steals and 19 blocks on a Cold Springs squad that finished 22-8, its ninth straight season with at least 20 wins.

With an extremely balanced group of players around him, Parker was the one who made Fairview’s boys tick this year.

The Aggies clearly weren’t the same without the senior on the floor, struggling through four straight games with him in and out of the lineup dealing with medical issues the week after they cruised to the county tournament championship.

Still not 100-percent healthy, Parker nearly helped the Purple reach the regional level. The forward eclipsed 1,000 points for his career in his team’s sub-regional contest versus Butler.

For the season, Parker averaged 11.6 points and 8.5 rebounds. He also contributed 59 steals and 42 blocks.

With former greats Jorden Quick and Morgan Pitts lost to graduation, Smith put Cullman’s girls on her back this past year, trading the team’s top-scoring honors with Baylee Johnson on an almost nightly basis.

The 5-foot-9 forward averaged 14.5 points, six rebounds and 3.2 assists and was the Bearcats’ most consistent and clutch 3-pointer shooter. Smith’s highlight of the season came in a 50-49 comeback victory over Arab, when the senior nailed the game-winning 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining.

St. Bernard’s Moriarty, who rounds out the list of local players recognized by the ASWA, put up video game-like statistics in the 2012-13 campaign, averaging an eye-popping double-double for a second consecutive season.

The forward averaged 15.7 points and a whopping 17 rebounds to wrap up an illustrious career with the Saints with 1,003 points.

Moriarty had to miss a few games due to sickness in the middle of the year, and his presence was sorely missed. Still, St. Bernard had one of its best seasons in recent memory, and Moriarty was a huge reason why. The Saints were 10-13.

See below for the ASWA’s All-State Teams in their entirety:

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