Muscle Shoals junior Sara Puckett, Rogers sophomore Madie Krieger, Lauderdale County freshman Ruthie Smith and Phillips senior Ally McCollum are among the finalists for Alabama Sports Writers Association girls basketball player of the year in their respective classes.

There are three finalists per class, putting those four players in a group of 24 candidates statewide for the ASWA Miss Basketball award given to the state’s best player.

Puckett, a 6-1 forward, is a finalist in Class 6A alongside Hazel Green’s Farrah Pearson and Eufaula’s Kaitlin Peterson.

A first-teamer for the second year in a row, Puckett averaged 20.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game and totaled 49 blocks and 65 steals.

She led the Trojans to the Class 6A Northwest Regional semifinals. Puckett received 30 Division I scholarship offers and has narrowed her list of finalists to six schools, though she has not said publicly which schools she’s considering.

Krieger, a 5-6 guard, is a finalist for 4A player of the year along with Anniston’s Allasha Dudley and Sumter Central’s Jada Watkins.

Krieger made first-team all-state for the second consecutive year. She led the Pirates to a 26-5 record and runner-up finish to Deshler in the 4A Northwest Regional final. Krieger averaged 13.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, and she totaled 64 steals.

Smith, a 6-1 center, is a finalist for Class 3A player of the year along with Pisgah’s Molly Heard and Midfield’s Jemeriah Moore.

Smith made all-state for the first time this year after averaging 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in her second year as a starter for Lauderdale County. She had 61 blocks and 46 steals and helped the Tigers (29-5) reach the 3A state semifinals.

McCollum, a 6-1 forward, is a finalist for 1A player of the year along with Decatur Heritage’s Katie Jones and Skyline’s Bailee Usrey.

McCollum averaged 17.4 points and 12.8 rebounds for Phillips (18-12), which advanced to the Northwest Regional final. McCollum made first-team all-state for the second year in a row.

The boys player of the year finalists will be released late Saturday night. The Super All-State team members will be released March 31 (girls) and April 1 (boys).

The annual Mr./Miss Basketball banquet, originally set for April 7, was canceled. Miss Basketball will be announced April 3 and Mr. Basketball will be announced April 4.

Contact Craig at Craig.Thomas@TimesDaily.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TD_CraigThomas

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