Reed led the way for the award winners in the 4A, with all five of its starters receiving recognition. The Raiders were the only team in the Northern 4A to have five players named to an all-league honor.
“I was real happy with the results,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said. “To get five guys, all of our starters recognized was a huge honor. I thought it was pretty deserved by our guys. I just thought it was a nice thing to have all five of them recognized. It says a lot about the kids and how hard they worked on the season and the success they had. Those things are usually directly correlated. If you win, usually you’re going to have guys on the all-league team. It just shows how successful our season was.”
Named to the High Desert League’s first-team for Reed were senior guards Dylan McKenzie and Kyle Ross.
“We’ve known since Kyle stepped on campus how talented he was,” Hall said. “He didn’t get to show it the first couple of years, but this year he grew up a lot and he became a leader for the team. Dylan is probably, of our three seniors, the most improved from his freshman year to his senior year. He put in a lot of hard work in the offseason and I thought he had a great year.”
Other Blue and Gold basketball members to be honored were second team HDL selections, senior A.J. Silva and junior Devin Gray. Additionally, junior point guard Ty Shepard was named to the honorable mention list.
With three award-winning seniors graduating this spring, the Raiders will have a lot to replace next season.
“It’ll be tough to see those three guys go,” Hall said. “They were four-year guys and those are so rare nowadays, so they will always have a special place here. A lot of our offensive production came from those three. A lot of leadership came from them as well. So obviously it will be hard to lose them, but the way high school sports go you’re always going to lose guys.
“We bring back 10 guys and that starts with Ty and Devin. I expect them to be leaders next year. The guys look up to them just based on how hard they play and how hard they work every day in practice. They’re such good teammates. They’re probably the two most unselfish guys on our team. I think we have as much coming back as anybody next year and I think next year’s group could be real special.”
At Spanish Springs, the Cougars had three all-league winners with senior swingman Brandon DeLong leading the way, earning a first-team HDL honor.
“Obviously his play speaks for itself,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “Everyone knows he’s a first-team player based off talent on a game-by-game basis. As far as our team goes, he was our team. He was a rock for his teammates. He made his teammates better because they played better with him on the court. He’s just a unique senior to be able to coach because of everything he brought. Not just his ability to play basketball, but the type of kid that he is. He’s a guy who’s been a four-year guy in our program, including three years on varsity, so that’s a huge loss.”
Two other Cougars were recognized with senior Brian Smith and sophomore Jake Longero being named to the honorable mention list.
“Brian came a long way with only two years in the program,” Penney said. “He was very good for us defensively, blocking shots. We’ve never had anyone with his size before. Without Brian, we’re not as good of a defensive team. If you look at our stats and as far as our goal to holding teams to a certain amount of points, he’s a big part of that.
“With Jake, he plays so hard and does what we ask and teach, you can’t really take him off the court because of how hard he plays and the energy he brings.”
In the 3A ranks, Sparks took home an abundance of Mount Rose League recognition, highlighted by senior Erik Garcia earning Co-MVP of the Mount Rose League along with being named to the 3A all-state first-team. Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said that the accolades Garcia received are deserved.
“That was just on complete and great work ethic from him,” Schreiber said. “He worked hard for everything that he got, from taking charges to rebounding. A lot of his points came from second effort. It is very well earned.”
The other Railroaders to receive all-league recognition were senior guard Brian Morgan, who was named to the first-team, and senior Xavier Rodriguez and junior D.J. Devine, who were second-team honorees. Senior point guard C.J. Sampang was named to the honorable mention list.
“They had good seasons and they earned those spots,” Schreiber said. “Brian is a great perimeter shooter. He really came along with his dribble-penetration and jump-stopping and getting that little eight-foot shot off. D.J. had a great presence around the basket and Xavier always drew the challenge of guarding the best offensive player of our opponent. He gave up a lot of scoring opportunities just to play the defensive end. C.J. is a real a good point guard and I think that throughout the whole league he was one of the few true point guards.”
Losing four key seniors, Schreiber said that the Maroon and Gold will have large shoes to fill next season.
“It’s going to be a big loss, not just from the standpoint of scoring, but just the leadership. That will definitely be missed. Hopefully we can get somebody to step up into that role. The thing with high school basketball is one door closes and another door opens. Other kids are going to have to step it up and that’s kind of what we’re looking at. They’ll definitely be missed. Their guidance this year will help next year’s players develop their roles.”