The hoops keep getting better and better. The 2013-14 boys basketball season was a mix of team and individual achievements. While making it to the postseason was the norm for most of our teams, both veteran and young players continue striving for their place among the state's finest.
Sandy Creek stretched the farthest with a berth in the quarterfinals. Fayette County joined them in the AAAA playoffs, reaching the second round. Both Whitewater and McIntosh made state in AAAAA.
Fayette County and Whitewater were led by a host of veteran leaders as they made their runs. McIntosh's climb has been highlighted by the continued emergence of their sophomore trio, each of whom earned a spot on one of the top teams. Sandy Creek has their own sophomore star at point guard who keyed a deep team into state.
Among all of the great individual performances, one player was the clear choice at the top. Whitewater's Philip Cofer is the County Player of the Year. Cofer was a one man wrecking crew on both ends, scoring 19.8 points a night along with 12.8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Despite double and triple teams, Cofer managed to get his Wildcats moving. His shot got smoother as the year went on, even seeing him improve as a three point weapon, a unique trait for a 6'8" player. Cofer will be taking his talents to the SEC next year for the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
"Phil stepped up as a senior and took on the leadership role with determination and vigor. He was like having a coach on the floor. He carried himself with humility; moreover, he was the consummate team player," said his coach Mark Fisher. "Phil played each game at a high level regardless because every team we faced tried to stop him as a game plan. Phil will be sorely missed because you don't replace a Phil Cofer."
Most of the coaches in the county could make a case as the top name this year, but one deserves the spot most of all for the incredible rebuilding job he's done. Willie Reese of Sandy Creek is the County Coach of the Year. Reese, in just his second year at the school, turned the Patriots into a true contender. Last year's seven win team cut their teeth under Reese. This time around, they won 22 games and weren't stopped until the quarterfinals in a loss to the eventual state champs in Columbia. It's not everyday that a team improves that drastically in such a short time.
The All-County First Team is a mix of seniors and sophomores. Cofer is joined by Jeremiah Vrudny of Starr's Mill, Dante' Sterling of Fayette County, Jordan Lyons of McIntosh, and Christian Turner of Sandy Creek.
Vrudny, a senior and a Georgia College and State signee, was a machine for the Panthers, averaging 15 points and eight rebounds a game.
Sterling, a senior committed to James Madison, led the Tigers on both ends of the court, picking up 16 points and ten boards a night.
Lyons, a sophomore, keyed the electric Chief attack with 17.4 points, 3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and two steals a game.
Turner, a sophomore, averaged 11 points and seven assists for the Patriot attack.
The All-County Second Team was just too talented to boil down to only five more players. Fayette County's CJ Johnson and Chaz Berry are joined by McIntosh's Will Washington and Dishon Lowery, Sandy Creek's Brandon Lindsey, and Whitewater's Phil Garner.
Johnson, a senior, picked up 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists a night, while also breaking the 1,000 career point barrier. Berry, a senior, averaged 14 points and three rebounds. Washington, a sophomore, filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, six assists, 3.5 rebounds, and two steals a night. Lowery, a sophomore, averaged 12.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. Lindsey, a senior, led the Patriots in scoring at 14 points a night. Garner, a junior, score 11.9 a game while hitting on 42% of his three pointers.
Plenty of talent is left over deserving of recognition.
The honorable mention for McIntosh is Alex Cervantes.
Starr's Mill's honorable mentions are Ryan Avidano and David Watson.
The honorable mentions for Whitewater are Kyle Dugger, David Bowler, and Justin Simpson-James.
Sandy Creek's honorable mentions are Justin Sumpter and Javon Jackson.
The honorable mentions for Fayette County are Kelvin King and Kevel Smith.
Our Lady of Mercy's honorable mentions are Albert Wilson, Dylan Terrell, and Chib Emefo.