Oneida senior Kendyl West was named District 3-A’s girls player of the year on Wednesday, February 12, by a vote of the district’s nine coaches.
West, an all-state candidate, has led Oneida to a 14-1 district record and a first place tie in the district standings heading into Friday’s regular season finale against Harriman. If the Lady Indians defeat the Blue Devils, they will be the top seed as the postseason tournament begins. Even though Oneida will likely finish tied with Wartburg in the district standings, Oneida owns the tiebreaker due to a preseason number draw.
The District 3-A girls coach of the year was Harriman’s Dallas Davis. The long-time coach — who led Wartburg to the state tournament in the early 2000s and has a gymnasium named after him there — oversaw a much-improved Harriman team this season. The Blue Devils, buoyed by a freshman class that led Harriman Middle School to the first-ever state championship in Class A last season, will enter Friday’s game at OHS Gymnasium with an overall record of 12-11, after going 4-24 last season. Among this season’s wins are a pair of wins over Class AA teams, Scott High and Kingston. The Blue Devils also have a pair of wins over Loudon, another Class AA school, as well as a win over Sequoyah.
On the boys’ side of District 3-A, Harriman’s Shay Shannon was named coach of the year, while Rockwood senior Nate Brackett was named the player of the year.
The coaches’ selection of Brackett as player of the year wasn’t too surprising. While it is an unwritten, loosely-held tradition to award the player of the year honor to a player from the district’s top team, and Rockwood finished fifth, Brackett was statistically the district’s best player, averaging a double-double in points and rebounds.
It was, however, surprising to see Oneida’s Jacob King snubbed for his first District 3-A coach of the year honor, as Harriman’s Shannon instead won the award for a second consecutive season. The two teams enter Friday’s regular season finale tied for first place in the district standings, and King’s Indians won the first meeting between the two teams.
Shannon’s Harriman team was impressive, bolstering his resume for back-to-back coach of the year honors. Despite losing last year’s player of the year, Jaylen McCullum, and all-district guard Trezden Copeland, Harriman has a chance to advance to Murfreesboro and the state tournament next month.
Reportedly, Shannon was the clear-cut choice of District 3-A’s coaches for coach of the year, with Sunbright’s James Jones finishing second. Jones’ Tigers have been the surprise of District 3-A this season, and are in third place in the standings as the regular season ends.
On the girls’ side, Oneida senior Chloe Terry and junior Katelyn Stiltner were named all-district, along with 10 other players from District 3-A. Additionally, seniors Chelsea Newport and Jayden Thomas, and freshman Kelsey Pike, were named honorable mention.
The balloting on the girls’ side of the district requires players to receive all-district votes from six of nine coaches in order to be placed on the all-district team. Newport and Pike missed that by a single vote.
Among other players named all-district were Coalfield’s Brooklyn Seiber, Harriman’s Addison Oliver, Midway’s Emily Cawood, Oakdale’s Amelia Miller, Oliver Springs’ Laci Hester and Cassidy Gilmore, Sunbright’s Taylor Cox, and Wartburg’s Madison Williams, Madison Holley and Callie Johnson.
Also named honorable mention were Coalfield’s Gabbi Lowe and Alexis Morrison, Harriman’s Micaela Goins, Skyler Johnson and Jasmine Davis, Midway’s Emmy Taylor, Oakdale’s Victoria Jones, Oliver Springs’ Courtney Chaston and Mable Johnson, Sunbright’s Holly Nitzschke, Alexis Northrup and Lindsey Brown, and Wartburg’s Regan Redmon and Olivia Davis.
On the boys’ side, the balloting is done somewhat different, with each coach naming 15 players and points assigned accordingly. The top player in the points standings is named player of the year, with the next five named all-district first team, the second five named all-district second team, and the third five named all-district third team.
Three of the five players on the all-district first team were Oneida juniors Kolby Morgan and Nathan Bowling, who were the top two vote-getters behind Rockwood’s Brackett. Senior Dalton Yancey was also named to the all-district first team. Other players on the first team included Sunbright senior Josh Langley, and Harriman seniors Kylann Love and Ethan Adkisson.
The all-district second team consisted of Sunbright senior John Robert Freels, Wartburg senior Colby Justes and junior Elijah Langley, and Harriman junior Brady Stubbs.
The all-district third team included Oakdale senior Clayton Smith, Midway senior Brendan Burnum, Coalfield junior Seth Lowe, Oliver Springs senior Bryson Alcorn and Oakdale senior Justin Ford.
Oneida freshman Jeric Huling was named all-district honorable mention, as were Coalfield’s Lance Byrd, Alex Hawk and Isaac Vanwitzenburg, Wartburg’s Brian Hamby and Caleb McCarty, Oliver Springs’ Tanner Melton, and Sunbright’s Jacob Freytag.