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Naming team is an inexact science

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
It's always difficult to come up with an all-area team for a sport. There are so many great players who are worthy of recognition, and narrowing it down to 25 is a challenge.
There were several deserving candidates for all categories, and I based my choices on a three-part criteria.
1) coaches' recommendations
2) statistics
3) personal opinion based on personally watching that player
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to use criteria number three too often, other than for Hartselle's players. I did manage to see each team play at least one game this year, but I obviously saw many more of the Tigers' games since that was the team I was responsible for covering this season.
Criteria number one is useful, but also flawed, because of the fact that most coaches know their own teams very well, but aren't as familiar with other teams. In some cases, coaches do get the chance to see another team's players as an opponent – such as when Falkville played Danville and Priceville. But in most cases, the coaches are just as in the dark about other teams as I am.
So that narrows it down to criteria number two, which is statistics. This is also a dangerous road to travel, because as any devoted sports fan knows, statistics never tell the whole story and often can lie.
You can see now why it's so difficult to pick an all-area team. I know that my choices won't satisfy everyone, and that there will be bickering over whether a player is overly rated, or rated too low, or even deserving at all.
Even so, I hope that this year's team provides our talented players with a source of pride. These kids work hard every season, often for little reward or recognition. Hopefully the players who were named to this year's All-Area team will consider it a nice pat on the back.
Congratulations go out to the Hartselle Tigers, who won their first basketball game of the season Friday night.
I was happy to see a wild and excited Hartselle cheering section at the game, and was equally happy to see them get something to celebrate.
The Tigers used punishing defense – anytime you hold a team to two points in a quarter, you're doing something right – and played with a fiery tenacity all night.
When the Tigers' Justin Billings pumped his fist after being fouled on a made field goal with less than six minutes left in the game, it was apparent that Hartselle was leaving everything on the court.
Hopefully they'll get the chance to celebrate wins more often this season.