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Ballard, Coleman are Player of the Year finalists

Two Pleasant Home basketball players will found today where they rank among the top players in the state.

Britni Ballard and Author Coleman are among 42 prep basketball standouts selected as finalists for the Alabama Sportswriters Association's 2003 Mr. and Miss Basketball and Player of the Year awards.

Ballard, a four-year starter and letter winner for the Lady Eagles, eclipsed the 2,000-point mark her senior season to end her high school career with 2,098 points. She scored 698 points her senior season, averaging 24 points per game. Her biggest night came when she hit for 58 points against Brantley this past season.

She has also reached double figures in scoring in every high school basketball game she has played in the past two seasons or 55 consecutive games. She shot 51 percent from the field, including 31 percent from three-point range, and converted 75 percent of her free throw attempts.

Coleman, who has earned two state championship titles, put up big numbers during his high school basketball career. He amassed 2,037 points during his four-year high school career. Coleman also racked in all kinds of honors. He was a four-time member of the All-Area Team, All-Regional Team and Andalusia Christmas Invitational All-Tournament Team. He was also a member of the All-State Tournament Team three times and was the Class 1A State Tournament MVP in 2002 when he was also named a member of the All-State second team. Coleman was also named Regional MVP in 2001 and was a member of the South All-Star Team that competed in the Alabama North-South All-Star Game.

Three boys and three girls were selected as finalists in each of the AHSAA's six classifications as well as three each in the AISA/Independent division. All 42 will be recognized Friday, March 21 at a special awards banquet sponsored by The Birmingham News and Birmingham Post-Herald. The noon banquet will be held at Birmingham-Southern College's Norton Center.

A boy and girl player of the year in each classification will be announced at the luncheon. The players were nominated by high school coaches and sportswriters from across the state and chosen by a special committee comprised of ASWA-member writers on March 5.