Boys player of the Year
G/F Reggie Hart, Sr., Chamberlain
Why we picked him: A year after averaging a county-best 28 points, Hart again somehow flourished when every soul in the gym knew the Chiefs’ offense revolved around him. Unassuming physically (6-foot-1, 178 pounds), he slashed, slithered and spotted up seemingly at will, averaging 25.8 points for the Class 7A, District 9 champions. Eight times, he scored 30 or more, including 35 in a district final win against Wiregrass Ranch. He also had 28 against 8A final four qualifier Wharton and 8A playoff foe Alonso, among others. Lost amid his prolific scoring lines were the other elements of his game. Hart also averaged eight rebounds, 3.15 assists, 3.75 steals and 3.5 blocks, the latter two stats adding credence to coach Christopher Snyder’s assertion that Hart is an underrated defender. Nonetheless, history will recall him for his scoring; Hart’s 2,022 career points rank second all-time at Chamberlain behind former Chiefs/USF standout Jesse Salters.
Most impressive accomplishment: Hart points to a pair of atoning triumphs. Nearly a year to the day after falling to Sickles by a point at home, Hart scored 28 in the Jan. 25 rematch, a 72-68 Chiefs win. Three weeks later, he scored 16 of his team’s 38 points in a one-point region quarterfinal victory against Seminole, avenging a first-round playoff defeat in 2012.
Future plans: Hart, who is awaiting results of the SAT he took a couple of weeks back, has generated college interest but has no formal offers. Wyoming, East Tennessee State, Lynn University and some Florida junior colleges have made overtures.
Did you know? At age 6, Hart, the youngest of five kids, was hit by a slow-moving car after running onto a street near his Tulsa, Okla., house. Whether the accident contributed to his shyness and stammering problem during his grammar-school days is unclear, but his game and personality blossomed almost concurrently during middle school. …A junk-food enthusiast, Hart is widely known as “Pop-Tart,” and eats about four a day (Wild! Berry is his favorite flavor). “We even have a play called (Pop-Tart),” assistant Eric Wise says. …Tattoos, Hart says, are prevalent in his family. He estimates he has 18, most on his arms and upper torso.
G C.J. McGill, Sr., Wharton: Catalyst of final-four team averaged 17 points, nearly six assists
G Josh Heath, Sr., Tampa Prep: As this USF signee went, so did Terps (6.0 assists, 2.0 steals)
G Devin Harris, Sr., Jesuit: Arguably Tigers’ most versatile player and best free-throw shooter
C Travis Johnson, Sr., Jesuit: Top scorer (16.0 ppg), rebounder (7.1 rpg) for 5A state champs
G/F Justin Gray, Jr., Berkeley Prep: Nine double doubles included one in playoffs with foot injury
G Joey Galvis, Sr., Jesuit
G/F Chivarsky Corbett, Jr., Tampa Catholic
G Jack Fleming, Sr., Jesuit
C Juwan Durham, Fr., Tampa Prep
G Malachi Christopher, Sr., Alonso
Alonso: Greg Robinson; Armwood: Marcus Hill, Vontrey Hill; Berkeley Prep: Craig Bowman, Marshall Holmes; Bloomingdale: Grant Townsend; Brandon: Avery Bolton, Roderick Davis, Reggie Twiggs; Cambridge Christian: Brandon Park, Curtis Walls; Carrollwood Day: Nick Rogers, Adonis Welch; Chamberlain: Reshawn Fredericks, Ja’Marcus Russ; Durant: Trent Robertson, Kyle White; East Bay: Anton Crutcher, Jon Jean, M.J. Williams; Freedom: Brandon Patchan; Jefferson: Maurice Moore; King: Rashad Green; Lennard: Gary Hector, Caelen Watts; Newsome: Carlos Miranda; Plant: Andrew Sanders; Riverview: Morgan Drummond; Robinson: Cody Brown, Justin Madison; Seffner Christian: Jordan Parker, Barrett Swartz; Sickles: Dan Harris, Malcolm Johnson; Steinbrenner: Keshawn Ingram, Bryce Nickels; Strawberry Crest: Malik Channer, Devin Diggs; Tampa Bay Christian: Dan Manzi, Bryant Searcy; Tampa Bay Tech: Ryan Cummings; Tampa Catholic: Jio Molina, Isiah Thomas; Tampa Prep: Ephraim Lavey, Adonis Rwabigwi; Wharton: Chase Litton, Sir Patrick Reynolds
Coach of the Year
Neal Goldman, Jesuit. In a season when expectations and egos could have gone haywire, Goldman fulfilled the former and neutralized the latter. The Tigers, who started five seniors, were as unselfish offensively as they were unrelenting defensively. Four players averaged double figures, but none averaged more than 16. The result — a 31-1 record, an unblemished mark against Florida competition and Goldman’s first state title in his 26 seasons.
Girls player of the year
Faith Woodard, Sr., Freedom
Why we picked her: After spending the previous three years at Riverview, Woodard transferred to Freedom over the summer and immediately transformed the Patriots into a championship contender. Woodard led Freedom to its first state tournament appearance, averaging 22.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists, and shooting 74 percent from the floor. She averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds in four games against Steinbrenner (two of those were in the district championship and region semifinal). Woodard followed that up with 25 and 13 in a one-point region final win against defending 7A champ Sebastian River. In games with the highest stakes, Woodard was almost always at her best.
Most impressive accomplishment: Naturally, it’s playing a leading role in Freedom’s first trip to Lakeland. As a sophomore at Riverview, Woodard came within two points of making state. The next year, teamed with all-county forward Tesha Hanson, the Sharks lost in the region quarterfinals. Woodard had started to think her opportunity to make the final four might never come. Then she and the Patriots dominated throughout much of the regular season en route to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Gainesville Buchholz. “You don’t realize how hard it is to get to state until you’re a point away from getting to state and you end up losing,” she said. “To say that my team — my family — got there as one cohesive unit blows me away.”
Future plans: Woodard will be part of one of the nation’s mostly highly rated recruiting classes at Georgetown, joining Norcross (Ga.) forward and former Wharton star Shayla Cooper in D.C. Georgetown coach Keith Brown called Woodard “the mostly athletically gifted kid we have gotten here at Georgetown.” Speaking of which, before Woodard leaves in the summer, she’ll also defend her Class 4A state championship in the high jump.
Did you know? Woodard comes from a storied local basketball family, starting with aunts Barbara and Janice Chennault. The Chennaults attended Hillsborough High and were part of the first girls team from the county to make it to the state finals in 1976. Her mother, Lora, starred for the Terriers in the ’80s and her older sister, Erica, was a second-team all-county forward at Bloomingdale in 2004. Erica first introduced Faith to the game as a toddler, and urged their parents — Sterlin and Lora Woodard — to get Faith involved in AAU leagues in fifth grade. “I always looked up to my sister,” Faith said of Erica, who later played at the University of Tampa. “I wanted to imitate her and do everything that she did. Then I wanted to break all of her records.”
G Aliyah Gregory, Jr., Strawberry Crest: Averaged 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.7 steals, 4.6 assists and a block; shot 56 percent from the floor and 34 percent from 3-point range. ESPN.com ranks Gregory 56th in the nation, and the eighth-best shooting guard, in her class.
G Taylor Emery, So., Freedom: Slashing complement to Woodard who averaged 20.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.8 steals, 3.0 assists. A season after finishing as the only Patriot to average double figures in scoring, Emery had little trouble meshing with Woodard and two other senior transfers.
G Lauren Boerger, Jr., Newsome: All-around talent led the Wolves in points (18.6), rebounds (7.4), steals (6.0), assists (3.3) and blocks (1.5), and shot 42 percent from 3-point range. Scored fewer than 10 only once — seven in a 32-point win over Bloomingdale. Also notched 10 steals in a game four times, including once against District 8A-7 champ Plant.
F Tesha Hanson, Sr., Seffner Christian: Recovered from a major knee injury to average 17.3 points on 52 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.1 steals and nearly one block per game for 3A semifinalist Crusaders. Scored in double figures every game, including 27 in a Dec. 27 win over eventual 7A state champion Gainesville Buchholz.
F Erica Young, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech: A two-time all-Hillsborough selection, the 6-foot-3 Kansas State signee had a slight dip in her numbers as her team — lacking experienced guards — had trouble getting her the ball in the post. Young still averaged 19.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks.
G Quatasia Fantroy, Sr., Alonso
F Bailey Hooker, Sr., Steinbrenner
G Cassidy O’Brien, Sr., Sickles
F Peyton Walker, So., Seffner Christian
G Sabrina Whiting, Jr., Seffner Christian
Academy of the Holy Names: Ashley McWilliams; Alonso: Angel Golden; Armwood: Dejoun Dennard, Kiana King; Berkeley Prep: Corey Salzer; Blake: Le’Area Wilkerson; Bloomingdale: Jackie Mayo; Durant: Akacia Nelson, Magan Lee; East Bay: Jalisa Rivers; Hillsborough: Trinity Baptiste, Savannah Wisdo; Jefferson: Toni Cox; Newsome: K.K. Smith; Plant: Reggine Brown; Plant City: Shayna Lawrence; Riverview: Asia Royster, Shatisha Dukes; Robinson: Deliah Autry; Seffner Christian: Ally Parimore; Sickles: Sarah Hartman; Spoto: Ivanie Carswell; Steinbrenner: Rachel Briere, Justice Thigpen; Strawberry Crest: Maiya Trigg; Tampa Bay Tech: Brianna Thomas; Tampa Catholic: Danielle Battle, Brittany Betts; Tampa Prep: Sydney Morrow; Wharton: Allison Mitchell
Coach of the Year
Mark Key, Sickles. Key just edged out Laurie Pacholke at Freedom. Following the graduation of 2012 Player of the Year Bre Crum, the Gryphons went 25-4 — including an undefeated run through District 6A-11 — with a team that boasts no major-college prospects and one player who averaged more than double figures in scoring. Sickles lost only one game to a Hillsborough County team (by five at Steinbrenner) and came within a game of advancing to state. Squeezing a region final appearance out of this year’s team might be Key’s finest work on the sideline.
Compiled by staff writers Joey Knigh and Joel Anderson.