HOOPS: Wilson Scored 37 Against Clarksville
Player of the Year: Matt Wilson, Farmington
Wilson scored 35 points in the first half of an 80-57 win against Clarksville — the Cardinals’ first conference victory — but only put up two points in the second half as he unselfishly switched into passing mode instead of trying to break the team’s scoring record. He also scored 26 points to help FHS end a five-game losing streak with a 61-56 win against Greenbrier on Feb. 12.
Coach of the Year: Tim Rich, Lincoln
With all three boys teams finishing with losing records, we chose Lincoln’s Tim Rich as the WCEL Coach of the Year. The Wolves turned in many gutsy performances, but none were as remarkable as the effort they gave when taking the court the same day as one of their teammates, Taylan Taylor, had died in a house fire. They led a solid Berryville team 44-41 heading into the fourth quarter before struggles shooting finally ended their season.
Sixth-Man Award: Zeke Laird, Prairie Grove
Only a junior, Laird came off the bench to help ignite the Tigers, especially when they finished the regular season with a three- game winning streak. Laird played with the physicality of a linebacker, but also displayed a soft shooting touch from beyond the arc.
Newcomer of the Year: Skyler Montez, Farmington
A case could be made for Montez, a sophomore, for the Sixth-Man Award as he provided a spark off of the bench most games. He played with a ton of tenacity and hustle while showing a nice mid-range jumper to compliment the Cards’ regular scoring combination Matt Wilson and Matt Thomas.
Defensive Player of the Year: Brice Waggle, Farmington
Waggle, who has signed a scholarship to play quarterback at Northeastern Okla- homa State, didn’t score a ton of points, but he often defended and limited opponents’ top inside offensive threats even though he often was the shorter player.
All-WCEL Boys Hoops Squad
Isaac Disney, Prairie Grove Matt Thomas, Farmington Dalton Barnum, Lincoln Garrett Blankenship, Lincoln
Dylan Soehner, Prairie Grove
Prairie Grove junior Zeke Laird glides in for a layup against Shiloh Christian in the 4A-1 District Tournament in Prairie Grove.
Gentry’s C.J. Taylor attempts a shot over Dylan Soehner, a 6-foot-7-inch Prairie Grove senior, during a game in Gentry on Jan. 12. Gentry’s Austin Thompson looks on.
Matt Thomas (10) of Farmington tries to drive past Morrilton defenders during their game Feb. 23 in Farmington.
Garrett Blankenship (2) of Lincoln reaches to score around Jack Eaton of Huntsville Jan. 8 during the first half in Lincoln.