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2009 All-County Basketball: Awards the athletic banquets might forget

There was a photo in the Post on March 27, 2003, that I thought could never be topped.
There were seven ó count ’em, seven ó 1,000-point scorers in the county that season.
Six years later, it’s easy to realize it’s a Who’s Who of Rowan County basketball:
Salisbury’s Shayla Fields? She may be chosen in today’s WNBA draft. Maggie Rich? Stats don’t lie. She’s the best female player in a “Rich” East Rowan tradition. Same thing for Hillary Hampton at West Rowan. A scoring machine. West’s best. Amber Hill of North was also posing.
There were three boys in the photo: West’s Junior Hairston and Phillip Williams, who both had sterling Division I college careers, and Salisbury’s Shamari Spears, who will continue his as a Charlotte 49er next year after transferring from Boston College.
We figured there would never again be a year where we could group seven 1,000-point scorers at one time.
This season didn’t produce seven 1,000-point scorers.
It produced eight.
Wow.
Look at that photo to the right. We figure there will never again be a year where eight of these Thousand Islanders can be photographed together.
I shouldn’t have said that. Rowan County is Hoop Heaven, after all. Who knows, in six years, I might be writing about nine in one photo.

I could give out 1,000 awards from another great basketball season. But I’ll stick with these:
Team of the Year: The Salisbury girls. A state championship makes this a no-brainer.
Most Improved Team: Carson’s boys. Brian Perry and the Cougars made the playoffs for the first time in the school’s three-year history.
The Instant Classic Award: South Rowan’s boys beat Statesville 107-105.
“The game of the year,” coach John Davis said.
The Pete Maravich Award: West’s Ayana Avery scored 38 points against Mooresville.
The X-factor award: To Salisbury’s Thaddeus Williams. No point guard carried out his coach’s plan better than Eldridge and Brenda’s kid.
Dynamic Duo Award: East Rowan’s Ashley Collins and Katelynne Poole. Need a big basket late? They’re your girls.
Future Defense Attorney Award: To South’s Molly Garrett. After watching her coach, Jim Brooks, get ejected during one game, she made her case to the newspaper afterward.
“Oh my gosh, that was ridiculous,” she said. “For the record, Brooks didn’t say anything and didn’t cuss. All he asked was what he did wrong.”
Miss Garrett, that was a very convincing argument. The jury has come to a verdict concerning Mr. Brooks.
Not Guilty!
Stat Sheet Stuffer Award: In a 94-54 win over North Iredell, East’s Daniel Plummer had 31 points, seven assists, six rebounds, five blocked shots, four steals and three charges taken.
Fans of the Year: Rowan’s NPC teams, South, East, West and Carson, have always produced large crowds. But this year’s award goes to Salisbury’s student body. Those kids proved they belonged, all wearing white shirts and standing behind the team, making a lot of noise.Dunk of the Year: South’s B.J. Grant sprinted down the left sideline and took a pass from Reid Shaver. All that was in front of the 6-foot-1 Raider was North Iredell’s Thomas Stuckey. Grant soared.
Uh-oh.
A one-handed, tomahawk jam posterized Stuckey.
Say What? Award: Salisbury’s girls beat South Meck 100-9. The question here isn’t whether Salisbury ran up the score. It’s why can’t a 4A school find enough athletes to score more than nine points?
Most Dominating Performance: When West handed Lake Norman its first loss, K.J. Sherrill had 28 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
Mr. Clutch Award: East trailed West Iredell 44-40 with 1:41 left. Chris McKenzie, the coach’s son, hit two 3s and East won 46-44.
Focus Factor Award: South’s Hunter Morrison stood at the foul line of a tied game with 0.7 seconds at packed arch-rival Carson. The noise was ear-shattering. Morrison converted for a 56-55 win.
The Drama Award: Salisbury’s Bubbles Phifer and South’s Taylor May reached the 1,000-point club in their last game of the season. May did it in the final game of her prep career.
The No Drama Award: East’s Poole came into a game against Mooresville needing 13 points to reach 1,000. No problem. She scored East’s first 13 points. Boom. Nervousness over.
The Diaper Dandy Award: The best freshmen were West’s Keshun Sherrill and North’s Teaunna Cuthbertson.
Wipeout Friday: On the same night, Salisbury’s boys won by 52, West boys won by 45 and Salisbury’s girls won by 34.
Most Impressive Quarter: In the second period against Carson, West’s boys shot 13-for-17, including six 3s (three by Myles Moore) and outscored the Cougars 37-9.
The final: 87-43.
Rolaids Award: To Salisbury’s Dominique Phillips. Against Ledford, star Brandon Abel suffered an ankle injury and played just one minute. Phillips came on in relief and took up the slack with 20 points in a 56-45 win.
Stat of the Year: East’s girls were 16-0 against teams that finished below them in the standings.
Breakout Season Award: Bursting onto the scene were North’s Symphony Roberts, Carson’s Nick Houston, East’s Olivia Rankin and East’s Brian Grohman.
Most Photogenic: The girl with the most photos in the paper this season? South’s May and East’s Poole with 20 each, followed closely by Salisbury’s Shi-Heria Shipp and East’s Collins.
The most photographed boy? South’s Morrison edged West’s Sherrill 26-25.
The most photographed coaches: Salisbury’s Jason Causby and Andrew Mitchell.
The Play of the Year: Salisbury’s Darien Rankin hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Lexington in the CCC tournament final.
“I took that ball to the rim with all my might,” Rankin said afterward.
With Darien’s determination, we figure that one day soon he’ll be in a photo as a 1,000-point scorer.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.
 

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