PLAYER OF THE YEAR
A three-year starter for Arts & Sciences, Cobb played both guard positions at times as a senior. He averaged 18 points, four assists, three steals and four rebounds per game to help the Patriots reach the Class A state tournament for a second straight season — the first back-to-back appearances in program history. The Patriots won 14 consecutive games by double figures along the way before falling to eventual state champ Lake County in the quarterfinals. “Sharif developed every year since middle school and became a complete player,” Patriots coach Mark Dragoo said. “He improved as much from his junior year to his senior year as any kid I’ve ever coached. The best defender is rarely your offensive leader too, but Sharif was the best player on both ends for us. He’s a solid scorer and ballhandler and always guarded the other team’s best player. “His willingness to play wherever we needed him was huge for us. Rarely do you get a kid with his ability have that kind of unselfish attitude. His work ethic separated him from a lot of players.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
For the fourth time in his five seasons as Howard’s coach, McGary guided the program to the Class AA state tournament. The Hustlin’ Tigers were not picked in the top half of the District 6-AA preseason coaches’ poll, but they won the district regular-season title, losing to only one district opponent, then advanced to the state semifinals for the second time in four years, finishing 24-7 overall. “I was very proud of the way the kids took it as a challenge and kept the program at the level we all expect to be,” McGary said. “This wasn’t the most talented team we’ve had as individuals, but what I enjoyed more about this group was how well they played together. We were pretty tough when we played together as a team, especially defensively.”
Ford averaged 17.2 points and 4.9 assists for the Irish and was the District 7-AA tournament MVP.
Lee averaged 10.5 points and 10 rebounds to help the Blue Tornado reach the Division II-AA state final.
Griffin averaged 12.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and three blocks per game for the state semifinalists.
Ross averaged 26 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.9 steals and totaled 2,419 career points.
Richey averaged 20.7 points and 11.3 rebounds for the 25-8 Owls and has more than 1,100 career points.
JERVON JOHNSON Ooltewah Junior Wing
KELVIN CLAY Red Bank Senior Wing
ALEX STALLION Arts & Sciences Senior Guard
LEO BORN Baylor Senior Forward
COREY NELSON Grace Academy Junior Guard
TEAMS OF THE YEAR
1 HOWARD (24-7)
The Hustlin’ Tigers weren’t expected to contend within their own district but advanced to the state tournament Final Four for a second time in four years.
2 ARTS & SCIENCES (28-5)
The Patriots did not lose to a district opponent and won 14 straight games by double figures before falling to the eventual state champion in the quarterfinals. They beat McCallie head-to-head.
3 MCCALLIE (19-7)
For the first time in program history the Blue Tornado advanced to a state title game, where they lost to Ensworth.
Photos by Jake Daniels. Text by Stephen Hargis. Design by Stacey Wysong.