Superlatives for the 2023-24 basketball season

Published 11:33 am Thursday, March 7, 2024

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We are one week removed from basketball season in Chambers County, and as a sports reporter, I already miss it. 

This was my first season providing coverage for basketball in Chambers County, and let me just say, the community is blessed with some of the best high school basketball in the entire state. 

Every single team, boys and girls, in the county made the playoffs this season. The season is now in the rearview mirror, but it is not too late to look back and review some of the best athletes and moments from this past season. 

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With that being said, here are the superlatives for the 2023-24 girls and boys basketball season in Chambers County. 


The Highlight Reels: Cam Dooley and Brandon Thomas

If you watched any Valley basketball game this season, you probably saw at least five dunks. Cam Dooley and Brandon Thomas were the headliners of Valley’s attack this season. 

Every fastbreak this season was a must-watch for Valley as Dooley and Thomas put on a dunk contest every night. 

Dooley and Thomas were not just high flyers this season as the two averaged 23 and 18 points, respectively. 


The young phenoms: Nakeriona Heard, Kayden Dooley and Cam Baker

Lanett’s Nakeriona Heard was one of the more explosive girls basketball players in the state this season. Heard led the Lady Panthers with just under 11 points per game to go along with 8.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 4.4 assists per game. 

Beyond just the production, Heard had an immense impact on Lanett this season. Heard was like another coach on the floor for the Panthers, and her intensity on defense this season was unmatched.
As just a sophomore, Heard still has a lot of growth on the court left, and she should be a player to watch moving forward in Charlie Williams’ program. 

Kayden Dooley burst onto the scene this season as a freshman for the Lady Rams. Dooley averaged 17 points per game to go along with nearly seven rebounds and just under four assists. 

Eberne Myrthil took over as Valley’s head coach this season, and with Dooley, he has already found his star for the next several seasons. 

Cam Baker helped lead Beulah’s boys basketball team to the playoffs as a sophomore. Baker started at point guard for the Bobcats and was one of the team’s best playmakers. 


The three musketeers: Branaviyun Story, Vaderrian Story and Deaundra Vines

LaFayette’s boys basketball team made a run to the final four, and the run was in large part thanks to seniors Branaviyun Story, Vaderrian Story and Deaundra Vines. 

Vaderrian led the way for the Bulldogs with 19 points per game, Vines followed with 17 points per game and Branaviyun added 13 points per game. 

The best part of watching the Bulldogs was that any of those three players could lead the team in scoring on any given night. Vaderrian led the team in scoring, but the way he went about it was very subtle. Most of the time, I would not know he was the leading scorer until after looking at the final stats.
Vines was also the facilitator for the team as he averaged seven assists per game. Branaviyun led the team with 10 rebounds per game. 


Best newcomer: Shalexia Little

Springwood’s Shalexia Little transferred from LaFayette before the season and made an immediate impact with the Wildcats. 

Little led Springwood to the AISA final four. Little averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists per game. 

Little seemed to be able to take the game over whenever she wanted to this season. Little will return next season as a senior, and she is set to be one of the best basketball players in the county. 


Players to watch: Jayden Thomason and Cameron Thomas 

Jayden Thomason and Cameron Thomas were put in a difficult situation this season for LaFayette’s boys basketball team. The two came into the season expecting to play on the JV squad, but injuries and roster shakeups inserted the two into the starting lineup.
Thomas is a scrappy defender and solid scorer, and he is expected to be the future starting point guard in the future for the Bulldogs. Thomas will be going into his junior season next year.

Thomason is somewhat of a unicorn as he is already listed as six-foot-five. Thomason is heading into his sophomore season. Thomason’s ability to stretch the floor could make him a dominant force for LaFayette in the future and make him a highly touted prospect by the time he graduates.