Sports department chooses All-County basketball team
Compiled by Sports Dept.
The Panolian Sports staff has compiled our first Basketball All County team. It was not an easy team to assemble, from so many top talented players on the three schools in the county. We did put one together although only a few players had unanimous votes.
Players were not chosen only on tstats but by the impression the sports writers and photographers had of the players.
Unanimous votes for girls’ MVP go to South Panola senior Christa Brown, though North Delta senior Bradi Beard was pushing her hard. Both players have signed to play basketball with four-year schools. Brown signed with Freed-Hardeman and Beard with Blue Mountain. The fact that Brown was ranked nationally, averaging almost 30 points per game put her ahead of Beard who garnered numerous MVP and All-Tournament Awards and was named to the All-Star team. Beard got high marks for leading her team to their first AA State tournament appearance in 10 years.
“Christa is a leader on and off the court, always encouraging her players to keep their heads up,” said sports reporter Angie Ledbetter. “Even after losing a game she had a positive attitude and would be the first to tell you what she did wrong. She gave 110 percent in a game.”
Along with Beard at forward position, North Panola junior guard Teariny Wheatley received a unanimous decision for the All-County team. She led the Lady Cougars to a 3A North State appearance, averaging 10 points per game.
Being the best point guard in the county secured North Delta senior Katelyn Still, who has her own wall of All-Tournament plaques, a spot on the All-County team, as she also had a hand in leading the Lady Green Wave to the state tournament.
Rounding out the All-County teams is the only freshman to be considered. North Panola center Onesha Hunt proved herself strong in the paint. The 5’11 freshman was second on the teams in points, averaging seven per game and pulled down 40 rebounds on the year.
“She was solid in the paint and earned a starting position,” said sports editor Myra Bean. “She even played that position which demands so much of a player on an injured knee. She is impressive as she goes strong to the basket every time. Her presence in the paint hurled her over older players on this list.”
Making the decisions were not easy and were complicated by other players performing well for their respective teams. Honorable mentions include North Delta senior guard Laci DuBravec, North Panola senior guard Angelica Davison and South Panola junior forward Chresha Brown.
The boys All-County team was no less a daunting task than the girls but was complicated by two teams failing to have a strong presence in their district. However, there were some outstanding individual efforts.
Our Most Valuable Player was a split decision which saw North Panola’s Donte Howard win consideration over his teammate Ketwun House and South Panola’s James Watson. Howard averaged 13.3 points per game and grew into his position as the power post man for the Cougars.
“Donte was a powerhouse for his Cougar team, leading in scoring and rebounds in key games,” Ledbetter said. “He was consistent in his scoring and came through for his Cougars when he needed to.”
“I saw him grow in confidence as the season progressed as the coach continued to put faith in his abilities in the low post,” Bean said.
North Panola sophomore guard Ketwun House started the season strong, but gave way when other players’ abilities started to grow as the season went on. However, his ability to score from the three-point range made him a shoo-in for this team as he averaged 10 points per game.
South Panola all-around senior shooting guard James Watson led the Tigers in scoring, averaging 12.2 points per game. He had 43 rebounds to help pad his stats.
North Delta junior Renic Greenlee led the charge for a young Green Wave team this year. He was named to the All-District team and averaged 12 points a game.
Troy Collins. South Panola senior forward, was also a unanimous pick for the All-County team. He was the second leading scorer on the team which went through a rocky season, averaging six points per game and pulling down 53 rebounds on the season.
Garnering Honorable Mention considerations were North Panola players sophomore Darrius Jackson, juniors Robert Oliver and Vonte Howard, who also averaged 10 points per game.