With the last basket made and the final horn sounded, it’s time to hand out a few post-season goodies to players and coaches in Nashville.
Montgomery Bell Academy boys and Ensworth girls kept the gold basketballs [read: champion trophies] in Nashville after winning the Div. II state tournament championships earlier this month.
Therefore, The City Paper would like to honor a few people that helped make the last high school basketball season a memorable one:
• Coach of the year (boys): Kevin Anglin, MBA
It's hard to argue a state championship, but the Big Red coach also presided over his team roaring over the finish line on a high note, scoring a big road win over MUS in sectionals, followed by state two tournament wins.
The three other DII state tournament teams had all beaten MBA earlier, but the Big Red finished 24-5 with wins over Ensworth and Christian Brothers.
Kudos to Ty Wilson (Maplewood), who took his 25-8 team to the AA state tourney semis, Anthony Sewell (Hunters Lane), whose team won the region title and missed by one point of a state trip.
Also, James McKee (Overton) who guided his team to a 28-4 record and to Adam Sonn (USN) who took his team to the state finals deserve mention.
• Coach of the year (girls): Hubie Smith, Ensworth
Smith's team rebounded from a slow start to win the DII-AA state tournament with two easy state tournament wins and finished 25-4.
Close runnerup was Mike Ellson of CPA, whose team marched to the state quarterfinals before losing to eventual champ Gibson County. Also, kudos to Katrina Carter (Hillsboro), whose team won region and got back to sectionals despite the pre-season loss of last year’s Lakeisha Crouch to a season-ending ACL injury.
• Top big man: Robert Wade, Maplewood
The 6-5 post star sparked his team to the state AA semifinals with a strong two-game performance in Murfreesboro, making all-state tournament. He led the Panthers in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and slam dunks.
Also, Desmond Johnson (Overton) who has signed with Duke for football, was a mainstay in the Bobcats inside game. Also notables include with Robin Perry (Hunters Lane), Arthur McMillan (Hillsboro), Matt Zelenlik (CPA), Blake Bell (Lipscomb) and Justin Claybrook (Hume-Fogg).
• Top big girl: Isabelle Harrison, Hillsboro
The 6-3 junior led Hillsboro in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, and will be one of the most highly recruited players in the city next season.
Also, Brianna Morrow, Glencliff, one of Nashville’s top scorers (18.7), the 5-9 standout led her team to the region finals. And 5-10 Anna Mitchell who led her team to the state tournament and set a school record for points scored with more than 1,300, along with Overton leading scorer Pam Honeysucker (15.5).
• Top guard (boys): Meiko Lyons, USN
A Mr. Basketball finalist, the 6-3 standout was the leading scorer in Nashville (26.1) and willed his team to the state finals.
Also, Antwan VanLier and Joseph Wilbert (Hunters Lane), Fred Lee (Maplewood), Mookie Betts (Overton), Carter Sanderson (Lipscomb), Christian Little (McGavock), David Sanders (MLK), Jackson Coursey (Ryan), Tyler Paslick and Austin Blackwell (MBA) deserve kudos.
• Top guard (girls): Marie Carpenter, Ensworth
The Eastern Kentucky-bound star led the Tigers to the state title and was named to the all-state tournament team. She averaged 17.3 ppg.
Also, East Lit star senior Kelli Cowan became the school’s first 1,000 point scorer and helped lead her team to the region semis before they lost a tough overtime decision to Macon County. Akia Jones (Glencliff) and Lauren Safley (Lipscomb) who led the city in 3-point hoops (66) deserve nods as well.
• Clutch player award (boys): Holden Mobley, MBA
The Big Red senior caught fire at the end of the season and sparked the Big Red to two tournament wins and was named MVP of the state tournament. A Mr. Basketball finalist, Mobley was an excellent three-point shooter and he could also go inside for scoring and rebounding.
• Clutch player award (girls): Hannah Thurley, CPA
The star senior played her best basketball at the end. She scored a career high 26 points in CPA’s biggest game of the year, a sectional win over Camden, which qualified the Lions for their first state tourney since 2005.
• Best freshman (boys): Corn Elder, Ensworth
Elder was Ensworth’s second leading scorer (11.6) on a 23-4 team that scored 84 ppg. Kudos to two Maplewood standouts, Kenny Robertson and Jason Stone, who both played big parts in the Panthers march to state.
• Best freshman (girls): Derica Wyatt, FRA
The Panther star led her team in scoring (18 ppg) and three-pointers as FRA reached the state finals and she was named Miss Basketball. She also started as an eighth-grader. Also, Meredith Roman was the second-leading scorer for CPA.
• Best game: High on the list would be McGavock’s 76-72 region semifinal win over Overton, handing the Bobcats, who had the best record in Nashville most of the season, a heart-breaking season-ending loss.
Also, Overton’s 73-72 win over Maplewood and all three of the MBA-Ensworth games were close and exciting. CPA’s girls double OT win over Ensworth at mid-season and the Lions region semis win over Lipscomb ranked high.