As quarterback of the Wildcat football team, he guided Sand Rock to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Class 2A state playoffs. That helped lead him to sign a football scholarship with Shorter College, but his high school career was far from over.
In basketball it seemed like every time the Wildcat boys basketball team needed a big shot, Mackey delivered it. He guided Sand Rock to a 23-11 record and the school’s first Final Four berth in Birmingham. Along the way, Mackey captured the Cherokee County Tournament MVP, the Class 2A, Area 12 MVP and the Class 2A Northeast Regional MVP.
Now Mackey can add one more honor to a growing list of accolades.
The Cherokee County boys basketball coaches recently selected Mackey as their 2009 All-County MVP. Mackey averaged 17.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals to lead the Wildcats through their successful run.
Sand Rock head coach Brian Mackey said his nephew is “just a really good leader.”
“It’s not anything verbal. It’s just his actions,” Brian Mackey said. “He come around and impressed me with his growth. He averages almost 20 (points) a game, and that’s going to be tough for us to fill.”
The Wildcat head coach said he knew when Justin Mackey was a freshman that he could develop into something special.
“He’s been in the program for a while, and he’s seen several good teams so he knows what it takes in game-situation type things,” Brian Mackey said. “That’s important. He was willing to take some shots that you don’t see ninth graders taking. That’s what it takes to be a good player. You can always work with those players and say ‘Here’s what we need to do.’ It’s hard to teach somebody to say ‘Hey, give me the ball. I want this shot.’”
Justin Mackey is joined on the All-County team with three of his teammates: sophomores Brannon Burt, Justin Kyser and Cody Beck. The Wildcats’ four selections were the most of any Cherokee County team.
The Cherokee County Warriors had three All-County selections in junior guards Coty Blanchard and Tyler Stubbs and sophomore guard Keon Rucker.
Cedar Bluff is represented by sophomore guard Marcus Reese and sophomore forward Tyric Scales. Spring Garden sophomore guard Kaleb Morris and Gaylesville junior guard Nick Reed round out the 2009 All-County team.