Cross, Hobdy named TB&T Winter Athletes of the Year

Published 10:22 am Friday, June 3, 2022

Pike Liberal Arts junior Austin Cross and Charles Henderson High School junior Makala “KK” Hobdy have been named the Troy Bank & Trust/Troy Messenger Winter Athletes of the Year for the 2021-2022 season.

KK Hobdy was a star for the Lady Trojans in 2022, earning all-state honors. (Photo by Joey Meredith)

Hobdy was the guiding force behind the Lady Trojans’ return to the Class 5A Final Four this season.

“She’s the leader,” Charles Henderson coach Dyneshia Jones flatly said. “We believe in and depend on her daily with every game.”

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In her junior campaign, the 5-foot-5-inch guard averaged 17.2 points, .72 blocks, 6.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 4.6 steals per game as one of the best all-around players in the state. Hobdy earned second-team All-State honors for the second consecutive season in 2022, won All-Area Tournament and All-Regional Tournament, as well.

“I can’t say there’s just one thing,” Jones said of the best part of Hobdy’s game. “I can put her anywhere on the court. She mainly handles the basketball but she can score and was our leading scorer.

“She’s small in size but there were times we had to have her to do the jump ball for us. She can rebound, she was great on defense and she was versatile. You can put her anywhere on the court and know she’s going to get the job done.”

Hobdy averaged 17 points per game in 2022. (Photo by Dan Smith)

With still her senior season upcoming next year, Hobdy hasn’t become as good as she will be, according to her coach.

“She’ll go as far as she wants to go,” Jones emphasized. “She has the athletic ability to go as far as she wants to go and she’s shown that growth every single year. Some players get to a point where they’re as good as they’re going to be but she progresses every single year.”

Cross was the leading scorer and top shooter for the Patriots as they won their second consecutive AISA State Championship in 2022. Cross finished the season averaging 21.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as he earned AISA All-State first-team, AISA All-Tournament and was a finalist for AISA Mr. Basketball, as well.

Austin Cross was Pike’s top shooter in back-to-back state championship runs. (Photo by Josh Boutwell)

“Austin is probably one of the best shooters I’ve ever been around at any level I’ve played or coached at,” Pike coach Matt Brown said. “He has the ability to change the game and (opponents) have to game plan around him.

“That allowed for a lot of other stuff to open up for us to work, because they had to always keep an eye on him. He’s also doing better at getting to the goal, which has helped his game. He’s a really special player.”

The son of Troy University men’s basketball coach Scott Cross, Austin Cross has the game of basketball in his DNA but Brown emphasizes that his work ethic is what has propelled him to constantly get better leading into his senior year next season.

Cross was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the AISA in 2022. (Photo by Josh Boutwell)

“The ceiling is as high as he wants it to be,” Brown said. “The best thing about him is his work ethic. He’s a student of the game and he loves the game.

“He’s always in the gym working and he’s also put on some more weight, which helps and I think if he continues that’ll he’ll have a good career at the next level, too. I think he could play at any ‘Power 5’ college in the country as a shooter if he can continue to round out the (rest) of his game. I think he can be a really specially player down the road.”