All-County Bas­ket­ball full of Star Power

New­ton’s No­tae, Chat­man sweep County Player of the Year hon­ors

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL STOVALL gsto­[email protected]­news.com

Though there were sev­eral who could make a solid case for it, we found the two best play­ers in the county walk through the same hall­ways at New­ton High.

New­ton se­nior J.D. No­tae and Lady Rams junior Lexii Chat­man were named The Cov­ing­ton News’ Play­ers of the Year for the 2016-17 sea­sons, thanks in large part to their per­for­mance on highly suc­cess­ful teams in the state’s largest classification.

No­tae’s steady hand and de­meanor, ac­com­pa­nied with his pen­chant for scor­ing from vir­tu­ally any­where on the court helped the Rams to a 28-2 record and an Elite Eight fin­ish in one of the most com­pet­i­tivep state tour­na­ment brack­ets we’ve seen in quite some time.

New­ton was on pace for an un­de­feated reg­u­lar sea­son un­til a late slip-up against Shiloh, but No­tae and com­pany re­deemed that set­back by de­feat­ing the Gen­er­als in the Re­gion 8-AAAAAAA cham­pi­onship game.

Mean­while, Chat­man, a junior two­guard, was to the girls’ squad what No­tae was to the boys. A self-pro­claimed shooter, Chat­man pro­vided much of the team’s of­fense that led the Lady Rams to a Re­gion 8-AAAAAAA run­ner up fin­ish and a state tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance. The New­ton girls fin­ished with a 20-7 over­all mark and 8-2 re­gion record.

Even more than her scor­ing, Chat­man en­trenched her­self as the un­ques­tioned leader for the Rams’ 2016-17 sea­son.

From pure point guards to slash­ing scor­ers, to three-point spe­cial­ists and glass-eating post play­ers, you can put this year’s The Cov­ing­ton News All-New­ton County Teams up against any­one in Ge­or­gia, and they can com­pete, if not win.

That’s proven when you iso­late the in­di­vid­ual parts that make up this year’s all-county squad and see that they’ve been suc­cess­ful against some of the best tal­ent Ge­or­gia has to of­fer.

This year’s all-area squad is rife with guard tal­ent, in­clud­ing boys top player J.D. No­tae, and first-team boys se­lec­tions Ash­ton Ha­gans, Isa­iah Miller and Keio­dre Perry.

Ha­gans, as a sopho­more, may al­ready be the best pure floor gen­eral in the state, and con­sid­ered one of the best in the na­tion for the class of 2019.

Miller is one of the most ath­letic ballers this area has seen in a long time. Mean­while, guys like Perry and Des Dyer not only pro­vide scor­ing punch and re­bound­ing prow­ess – Dyer av­er­aged a dou­ble-dou­ble for the sea­son – they also play with a con­ta­gious heart-on­the-sleeve pas­sion that team­mates say make them a joy to be around.

And there’s depth too. Sec­ond team guys like New­ton’s Darvin Jones and Josh Tukes could make cases for first team hon­ors. Carnar­cion Cosby and AJ Paschal al­most helped will an up-and-down Al­covy squad into the sec­ond round of the play­offs, sin­gle­hand­edly. And don’t for­get about the hon­or­able men­tion up-and-com­ers like sopho­mores Ar­mani Har­ris and Colby Rogers and Tor­rie Craw­ford – quite pos­si­bly

play­ers poised to be tomorrow’s stars. On the girls’ side, the tal­ent is just as rife.

Girls Player of the Year Lexi Chat­man is a shooter among shoot­ers, and Jurnee Smith – thanks to a late sea­son emer­gence – isn’t too far be­hind. Janelle Cook was a quiet star for the Lady Rams, and East­side fresh­man Al­y­see Dobbs played with hus­tle and con­fi­dence beyond her years.

It’s a well-rounded, ver­sa­tile bunch that gives a siz­able sam­pling of just how good bas­ket­ball in this area can be.

Ladies and gen­tle­men, we present to you our 2016-17 All-County Teams.

Ja­son D. Mus­sell | The Cov­ing­ton News

New­ton’s Lexi Chat­man, left, and J.D. No­tae swept the New­ton County bas­ket­ball Player of the Year hon­ors for the 2016-17 sea­son.

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