District 9-3A champion Dallas Madison headlines the all-district team with nine selections with the Keene Chargers and Grandview Zebras the next-most represented squads on the team.
Keene and Grandview each went 11-3 in district play, losing both games to Dallas Madison and splitting their own head-to-head meetings, to finish tied for second place.
Keene received six selections on the all-district team while Grandview had four players receive recognition.
“It was definitely a compliment to our players and how hard they’ve worked all season,” Keene Coach Billy Coffin said. “It’s a big compliment to all they accomplished. It was good to see other people give them credit for that and see all of their hard work rewarded.”
Headlining the Zebras’ all-district accolades is senior Dametrious Crownover, a four-year starter, as the district’s offensive player of the year.
Crownover ended his memorable career for Grandview basketball with his most productive season statistically as he averaged 20.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, three blocks, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
“It’s been a real special ride with Meaty,” Grandview Coach Joel Moore said. “He helped us defensively obviously every single year and this year he lifted his point total up much higher than it had been. He’s been outstanding to coach and he’s given me everything he’s had for 4 years and it’s been awesome.”
Keene’s lone superlative selection went to sophomore Noah Lewis as the district’s sixth man of the year. Despite averaging just 2.9 points per game for the season, Lewis was a spark plug off the bench for Keene and came up with several big performances in district play.
“Noah was a game changer in quite a few district games and he’s only a sophomore,” Coffin said. “He had a slow start to the season learning how to play varsity basketball. But Noah is one of the best defenders in the district. He really changed some games for us. I know his stats don’t jump off the page but you could feel the game change when he came into the game.”
The Chargers had a trio of first-team selections in senior William Heine and juniors Julian Pilgrim and Isaiah Jenkins.
Heine is essentially the epitome of a “glue guy” type of player, Coffin said. Heine averaged 9.8 points, four rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game in addition to his leadership as a senior.
“William is definitely one of those glue guys,” Coffin said. “None of his numbers jump out at you but his numbers of points, assists and rebounds all together are really solid. He was one of those guys who could get you 18 points in a game or 10 rebounds in a game but you didn’t know when it would come. Being the lone senior that really played, he was mature enough for us to do what he needed to do.”
Pilgrim was the Chargers’ go-to weapon on the offensive end of the court as he averaged 14.3 points with 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
“Julian’s stats show that we get the ball in his hands and trust him to make plays for us and be a scorer for us,” Coffin said. “He grew into that role and took ownership of it. I was very pleased with how much he matured throughout the year. You really saw it in our two playoff games where he had 25-plus points in each of those games.”
And Jenkins improved vastly from his sophomore year to his junior year, developing into a defensive force but also with a soft touch around the rim offensively. Jenkins posted 9.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game for Keene.
“It was Isaiah’s second year playing varsity basketball and you could tell he grew up and learned to play at a varsity level pace,” Coffin said. “He was real big for us defensively with his size and length. We were able to do a lot more defensively because everyone knew he would have their back and he would clean up their stuff if they got beat off the dribble.”
Grandview’s lone first-team selection went to sophomore Coen Sanders, who came up big with 9.4 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game as a newcomer to the varsity level.
“I think he’ll be as good as he wants to be moving forward,” Moore said. “He’s got a lot of talent. He plays super hard. He had really, really good games against Dallas Madison. He’s a great competitor. I think he has a chance to be really, really good for us over the next 2 years.”
The Chargers and Zebras both received a pair of second-team selections.
For Keene, juniors Kevin Franco and Kevin Adame earned much-deserved recognition as second-teamers.
“Franco was our starting point guard and his numbers definitely could’ve been better but he took ownership of running the team and getting the ball to where it needed to go and feeding our guys when we called their number,” Coffin said. “He did a great job for us from a point guard point of view. And Adame hit a couple big shots for us throughout the year. He’d have games where he’d score five points and out of nowhere he’d score 15 in a game and those were always in big moments.”
For Grandview, sophomore Gavin King and junior Mason Lawson received second-team honors as key players who stepped into new roles after the graduation of a successful senior class the year before.
“He started out the season probably averaging about 17 points per game the first eight games or so,” Moore said. “He has a chance to be a really good scorer, he just needs to be more consistent going forward. When you’re younger, you’re not used to playing that many games. So when he gets his conditioning down, he’ll be a more consistent scorer throughout the season. And Mason was an everything kind of guy. He was our assists leader and a solid rebounder and defender. He was really good at a lot of stuff.”
Keene sophomore A.J. Allen and Grandview senior Dane Jentsch received honorable mention.
Grandview finished the season 15-11 overall, including a disappointing loss in bi-district.
“It was a weird season all together,” Moore said. “Game cancellations, trying to find games, having kids quarantine, including one kid for 20-plus days. It was difficult to find a routine and with a bunch of new guys it was even more challenging. We felt like we’d get into a groove and then something would happen where we didn’t have all our guys. I think it wasn’t even two weeks for the season where we had all of our guys at practice. It was a challenging year for sure.”
The Chargers went 16-9 overall, including their first playoff win in a decade before falling in a close battle against Whitewright in area.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys,” Coffin said. “They set a lot of goals for themselves this year. We knew we were in a tough district with Madison and Grandview and everyone else really competes, so to finish second in that district was an accomplishment.”
The District 9-3A MVP was shared by Dallas Madison’s Kaden Keal and Leron Wright.