Jones, Burney named player of the year

Published 7:01 pm Monday, March 30, 2020

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The Charles Henderson Lady Trojans and the Pike County Bulldogs won their state championships in late February. One month later, two of their athletes are celebrating another accomplishment.

Seniors Niaira “Tuti” Jones of Charles Henderson and Andres Burney of Pike County took home player of the year honors over the weekend.

The Alabama Sports Writers Association announced that Burney took home the award in Class 3A, while Jones took home the Class 5A honors.

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The award gives both Burney and Jones their second MVP award of the season. Both won the State Tournament MVP in Birmingham last month.

“It’s very exciting,” Burney said. “I was just so happy that I was able to accomplish so much in my senior year. I am proud of myself for that. It means a lot to me.”

“It’s just a blessing,” Jones said. “There were a lot of players they thought about when it came to giving this award. It’s just a blessing.”

When the season came to close and Charles Henderson was hoisting their championship trophy, Jones never believed she would be winning this award.

“I had no idea,” Jones said. “I didn’t expect this at all. It was honestly pretty shocking. I didn’t even know I was in the running for it until about a week until they announced it.”

Jones finishes her career at Charles Henderson with a pretty impressive resume. She has two state championships under her belt, an undefeated season and now a player of the year award.

Despite the individual success, when Jones looks back at her career she will always remember the state championships.

“It will definitely be the state championships, and after the buzzers went off all the faces and the joy that I got to experience. ,” Jones said.

As a senior, Jones finished with 19.6 points per game to go along with 6 rebounds, almost seven assists and over seven steals per game. Despite all of her success, her stats is wasn’t she is most proud of.

“I am most proud of being a great teammate,” Jones said. “I knew with the people that we lost last year, that I had to step up and play a little bit harder and be better than I was, especially because it was my senior year.

Burney has had a lot of success during his career with the Bulldogs. Since the ninth grade, Burney knew one day he was going to have a chance to win this award.

“Since my ninth grade year I have seen all the good players,” Burney said. “I knew that in my senior year I was going to be the best one. I had a mindset throughout the season that I was the Class 3A Player of the Year.”

Burney lost teammate Reggie Edwards last December. During their run to a state championship, Burney credited his success to his fallen teammate.

“I did something to make him proud of me,” Burney said. “All the hard work and this accomplishment, I did it for him.”

Both athletes now turn to their attention to college basketball. While Burney is still weighing his options, Jones will be heading to Tennessee to play at Belmont.

“I’m ready for it,” Burney said. “It gives me a chip on my shoulder that I can play with.”

“I know there is a lot of stuff that I need to work on so I can be college ready,” Jones said. “I’m looking forward to playing in Tennessee.