Multi talented Mason DL’s Player of Year

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

Alisha Mason is a multi talented basketball player. Besidesusing her 5-foot-10 height for rebounding prowess, she can handlethe basketball like a guard and shoot perimeter shots like aforward.

Mason’s myriad skills have earned the Enterprise senior TheDAILY LEADER’s Player of the Year honors on the 2006 All-LincolnCounty Basketball Team. The DL’s Miss Basketball also is a repeaterfrom last year’s squad.

Joining Mason on the Dream Team are Nikki Byrd and BlancheWilson of Brookhaven, Erica Shaw of West Lincoln, Hailey Ratcliffof Loyd Star and Meleah Brown and Kimberlee Thomas of BogueChitto.

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As a senior, Mason averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and2 assists per game. She sparked the Lady Yellow Jackets to arunners-up finish in the Division 7-1A Tournament and a berth inthe state playoffs.

“Alisha is a very good athlete,” said Enterprise coach JillNations. “She believes in working hard to get better. She’s a joyto coach.”

Nations coached Mason in junior high when she was a pint-sizedguard. A growth spurt between the eighth and ninth grades made hera prospect at center.

“In junior high, Alisha was a guard so she knew how to dribblethe ball,” said Nations. “Then she suddenly shot up and grewseveral inches.”

Mason’s shooting skills were developed by countless hours ofwork in the gym and at the goal in her back yard. She had acareer-high 35 points against Dexter this season.

“Alisha has never seen a shot she didn’t like,” said Nations.”She improved her ball-handling skills a lot for her senioryear.”

Mason usually handles the ball when opponents apply full-courtpressure. She said she was looking forward to playing basketball atCopiah-Lincoln Community College.

“Co-Lin has a great basketball team and I want to part of it,”said Mason. “I’ve been playing basketball all my life. I startedplaying peewee basketball at Enterprise.”

The daughter of James and Kay Mason has a younger brother,Colton, age 14; and a little sister, Heather, 11. She also letteredfour years in slowpitch softball at Enterprise.

“I loved playing basketball for Coach Nations,” said Mason. “Ilike playing the block but I can play the wing, too.”

Looking to the future, Mason said she has designs on a career incoaching and teaching. She is the first Player of the Year fromEnterprise since 2002, when current Mississippi College star LaceyPalomarez Kennedy earned the honor.

Erica Shaw, a 5-7 senior playmaker, wasinstrumental in West Lincoln winning a third consecutive Division7-1A Tournament title. She averaged 11.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6assists and 1.7 steals for the Lady Bears who finished 19-8.

“Erica had to do a little bit of everything for us this year,”said West Lincoln coach Lane Young. “She’s a pretty good defensiveplayer, too.”

Meleah Brown, a senior guard, provided theBogue Chitto Lady ‘Cats with shooting and ball-handling skills. Sheaveraged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals pergame. The Lady ‘Cats finished 17-11 and advanced to the secondround of the South Mississippi Class 1A playoffs, losing by 10points to eventual state champion Stringer on Stringer’s homefloor.

“Meleah’s a good leader for our team,” said Bogue Chitto coachChristi Terrell. “She led our team in assists, steals and points.She’s coachable and very competitive. She’ll give 100 percent onthe court, even when she has an off night.”

Hailey Ratcliff, a 5-9 senior forward, averaged15.5 points, 9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game for the LadyHornets. Loyd Star finished 12-17 and advanced to the Class 2Astate playoffs.

“Hailey is an aggressive player who can play good defense,” saidLoyd Star coach Lori Britt. “She has quick feet and a good outsideshot. She has untapped potential.”

Blanche Wilson, a 5-6 senior guard, was a keyto Brookhaven’s outstanding season. She averaged 6.2 points, 4.2rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Her ball-handling skills helpedthe Lady Panthers to a 21-16 record and their first statetournament appearance since 1997.

Wilson was a 3-point field goal threat, breaking up zonedefenses which concentrated on stopping Ole Brook’s insidegame.

Ole Brook coach Billy Holmes says, “Blanche was a quarterbackfor us. She gave up scoring opportunities to sacrifice for theteam. She got the ball down the floor for us. She also could shootthe three for us.”

Kimberlee Thomas, a 5-10 junior, was a powerfulinside player for Bogue Chitto. She averaged 13.4 points, 11.3rebounds per game.

“Kim stepped up tremendously toward the end of the year,” saidCoach Terrell. “She got more aggressive and took charge on theoffensive end. She’s a real physical, scrappy player.”

Nikki Byrd, a 6-2 sophomore, was an offensiveforce at Brookhaven. She averaged 11.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, and1.5 blocked shots per game. On defense, she was an intimidatingpresence in the paint.

“Nikki has come a long, long way,” said Coach Holmes. “Sheresponded really well. She even became a force defensively. Sheimproved her footwork and scored a lot of points inside.”