Boys Basketball

March 23, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jake Ayers

North Harford

None of the statistics that Ayers put up this season are quite as impressive as these three: He shot 50.3 percent from the field, 80 percent from the foul line and 52 percent from the three-point range.

On a team that lacked a second offensive option, the 5-foot-7 senior guard was a one-man show.

Relying on fearless drives to the basket and precise shooting, Ayers averaged a county-best 21.7 points to go along with 3.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals.

Ayers was the reason the injury-riddled Hawks won four games and were competitive in most of their 18 losses.

In the Hawks' last four games, Ayers had 24, 40, 22 and 26 points.

The 40 points came against county-winner Aberdeen, who went to box-in-one to slow Ayers but to no avail.

Against the Eagles, he was 10-for-13 from three-point range and 15-for-20 from the field.

The 40 points and 10 three-pointers were school records. Ayers is looking to play at the Division III level.

"To do what he did when everyone was gunning on him was just amazing," said Hawks coach Dave Iampieri.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Al Johnson

Joppatowne

In his second year at the helm of the Mariners, Johnson guided his team to a 16-5 record and a berth in the Class 2A East semifinals.

Joppatowne's season ended with a 50-48 loss to J.M. Bennett, but in looking at the bigger picture, Johnson saw a team that rose to the occasion, stuck together and played hard. Those were three of his demands as a head coach.

"Our team goal was to do well in the playoffs and I think we accomplished that," he said. "We took J.M. Bennett to the limit. We played hard and I was really proud of that."

Many didn't figure the Mariners to be in a position to win the county, but they were for much of the season until consecutive losses to Fallston and Harford Tech derailed their chances.

They settled for a third-place finish, a 14-game winning streak during the season and a satisfying upset victory over eventual county champion Aberdeen.

Led by a group of savvy and talented seniors, Johnson got a lot out of his team, which was never outworked or overmatched despite being smaller than most teams in the county.

THE BOYS TEAMS

Player of the Year: Jake Ayers, North Harford. Coach of the Year: Al Johnson, Joppatowne.

First team

Name School Yr. Pos. Comment

Dejan Brown Aberdeen Sr. G Extremely athletic and one of area's best defenders

Brian Head Joppatowne Sr. G The 17-point scorer came through in the clutch

Brandon Lamb Edgewood Sr. G With range and a quick release, Lamb scored 15 a game

Richie Johnson Havre de Grace Sr. F Tough to guard, averaged 16.5 points, 10 rebounds

Brian Selby Joppatowne Sr. F Just 6-2, but notched 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 steals

Phil Vornadore Fallston Soph. F County's top post player averaged 15.6 points, 12.4 rebounds

Second team Guards: Darrin Boswell, Joppatowne, Jr.; Miguel Nebron, Bel Air, Soph.; Zach O'Hare, C.M. Wright, Jr. Forwards: Erin Henderson, Aberdeen, Jr.; Richard Simpson, Havre de Grace, Jr.; Drew Westervelt, John Carroll, Sr.

Note: Teams selected by Jeff Zrebiec after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.

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