Boys basketball awards revealed
Each of the three western Nevada County boys basketball teams finished second-place or higher in their respective leagues, resulting in 14 players being named to the various all-league teams.
For the third consecutive year, and this season by an unanimous vote, Tyler Smith was voted the Metro League’s Most Valuable Player.
“I’ve only been around the greater Sacramento area for 15 to 16 years, but I’ve never heard of another kid winning an MVP three years in a row,” Nevada Union coach Jeff Dellis said.
“In my mind he had it sewn up (the MVP) before the Kennedy game, but if there was any doubt in anyone’s mind – Tyler going off for 34 points against Kennedy and Zach Graves (last season’s co-MVP from Kennedy) being held to eight points – that decided it.”
Smith is averaging 19.1 points and 7.9 rebounds entering the Miners’ playoff game tonight.
Five of Smith’s teammates were also honored on various all-league teams – at first glance a fairly large number, but the Miners did win the Metro championship by three games.
Senior starting guards Kevin Nelson and James Brindley earned first team all-league honors, with classmates Jared Vogel, Travis Edwards and David Weberg earning honorable mention all-league.
“The contrast with how K2 and JB made the first team is interesting,” Dellis said. “K2’s stats are impressive with him at the top or near the top in almost every category. James doesn’t show up as well in stats, but every coach in the league knew he was a first-team performer.”
Brindley was also the Defensive MVP of the Metro League this fall during football season.
While Dellis admits the awards are nice, his team is focused more on its opening round playoff game tonight. The No. 2 Miners host No. 15 Davis at 7 p.m. in Ali Gymnasium.
“If the kids had any doubt that a No. 15 seed could compete, the (NU) girls game certainly eliminates that arrogance,” Dellis said referring to the No. 2 Nevada Union girls team’s double overtime victory against No. 15 Elk Grove Thursday night.
Dellis was also quick to point out that last season, the Miners were a No. 16 seed and fell by just two points in overtime at No. 1 Tokay. He warns that Davis starts a lineup consisting of 6-foot-8, 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-5 players, with the team’s leading scorer having recovered from a broken ankle earlier in the season that kept him from playing against the Miners.
The Bear River boys basketball team, which finished second place in the Pioneer Valley League, had three players earn all-league honors.
Junior guard Axel Wadman was a first-team selection – his second of the year as he achieved the same feat during the football season. Seniors Jake Kirby and Kevin Barker were named second-team all-league.
“At first glance I thought it wasn’t fair that we were the second-place team and we only had one on the first-team, but when I thought about it I realized it was a tribute to our team,” Bear River coach Jack McCrory said. “We don’t have many superstars or standouts. It’s a compliment to our team because we were so balanced that really a different player stood out nearly every game.”
Forest Lake Christian
After finishing tied for second place in the Central Valley Christian League with Victory Christian, the Forest Lake Christian boys basketball team had five players earn league honors.
Senior center Nate Holt was the lone first-team selection after averaging 15.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 blocks.
Junior Adam Reed and sophomore Ben Sparling earned second-team honors, with Reed averaging 13.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Sparling, one of the team’s sharpshooters, averaged 12.1 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
“I guess I would have liked to seen Adam a little higher,” Forest Lake Christian David Thomas said. “But only five players make the first team.”
Sophomores Andrew Ritchart and Austin Maynard were honorable mention selections, with Ritchart averaging 11.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Maynard, the team’s primary ball handler, averaged four assists per game.
To contact sportswriter Stacy Hicklin, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4244.
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