By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
It was a crazy year for basketball in Northeast Tennessee. David Crockett won the District 1-AAA title after Dobyns-Bennett had won the league crown.
Sullivan South held off Elizabethton to win the Mountain East crown but fell to the Cyclones in the District 1-AA championship game.
And Hampton destroyed South Greene in the District 1-A title contest after losing to the conference champs twice during the regular season. And Johnson County enjoyed wins over Crockett and Elizabethton after finishing fifth in the Three Rivers Conference.
A roller coaster year would best describe the 2014-15 basketball campaign. It had its ups and downs but that wasn't the case in selecting The Tomahawk's first ever All Tri-County Basketball Team. Our Player of the Year was a unanimous selection in addition to our Defensive MVP.
Johnson County's Chase Phillips earns Player of the Year honors after putting up some outstanding numbers. And he did so despite havng a very young cast around him.
The silky smooth senior averaged 18 points, 10.6 rebounds, six assists and four steals per game. Nobody was more valuable to his squad than Phillips was throughout the year.
Hampton's Stanley Valentine was tabbed as our Defensive MVP. Valentine averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots per game.
Unicoi County's freshman phenomenon Trevor Hensley earns our Most Promising Underclassman award edging out Johnson County's Bud Icenhour. Hensley averaged 10 points per game, six steals and four assists. He had 26 points in their road win over the Longhorns.
Elizabethton's Lucas Honeycutt and Hampton's Ned Smith share Coach of the Year honors. The Cyclones finished 20-10 under Honeycutt's tutelage. Smith led the Bulldogs to a 24-7 mark and a No. 5 ranking in the state's final Class A poll.
Leading the first team selection is Elizabethton's Tyler Nichols who finished second to Phillips for Player of the Year honors. Nichols led the Cyclones in scoring with a 15.3 average and averaged six rebounds per contest. He's joined on the squad by Hampton's Coby Jones. The junior standout averaged 14.3 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Cloudland's super sophomore Preston Benfield earns a spot with his 16.7 points and seven rebounds per game average. Unicoi County's Merrick Nicksic and Elizabethton's Bo Pless found their way on the team.
Nicksic's resume included 13 points, six rebounds and four assists per outing. Pless was the Cyclones' blue-collar worker. He tallied 11 points, nearly eight rebounds and shot 77 percent for the foul line. He's was also one of the league leaders in taking charges.
Johnson County's Jose Guzman rounds out the first team. The junior guard contributed 12 points, four assists and three steals while trying to pick up the slack for standout guard J.R. Speed who missed most of the season with an illness. He shot 48 percent from behind the three-point line.
Seven players earned their way on the second team.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.