It’s a tradition on the Sports Connection at the end of each high school basketball season we select some award winners who stood out. We call them our ‘Jammies.’ Here’s a list of winners in various categories for this season. (These are strictly our opinions…you are entitled to your own).
Our ‘Best Underclassman’ award for the girls goes to Winnebago’s Miyah Brown. What a freshman season she had helping Winebago win a Sectional Championship and being named Honorable Mention All-State. She can score, she plays excellent defense, and she’s an excellent ball-handler.
Our ‘Best Underclassman’ award for the boys goes to Auburn sophomore Josh Ausler. He’s an athletic player who fits Auburn’s style pefectly. Ausler finished among the NIC-10 leaders in scoring, assists and steals.
Our award for the ‘Best Single Game Peformance’ for a girl goes to Rochelle senior guard Abby Lundquist. In a game in December against Genoa-Kingston she poured in 42 points. Lundquist also passed the 1500 point mark for her career in that game.
Our award for the ‘Best Single Game Peformance’ for a boy goes to Rockford Christian’s Marcus Hill. December 1 against Lutheran he erupted for 47 points in an overtime victory for the Royal Lions.
Our ‘Human Highlight Film’ award for the girls goes to Hononegah’s Jordan King. No one produces with more flare than she does. Whether she’s driving and scoring, or dishing to an open teammate…King is must-watch basketball.
Our ‘Human Highlight Film’ award for the boys goes to East senior Sha’den Clanton. He’s a dunking machine the way he runs the floor and with the spring in his legs. Clanton puts the ‘oop’ in ‘alley-oop.’
Our ‘Top Sharp-Shooter’ pick for the girls is Hononegah’s Hannah Malcomson. She’s been solid all season from distance, but she’s been especially deadly down the stretch and in the postseason.
Our ‘Top Sharp-Shooter’ pick for the boys was an easy call. East junior Sincere Parker walks away with this one. The first key for any team that faces East is defending Parker at the three-point line.
Our ‘Showtime’ Award goes to East. The E-Rabs don’t just win. They entertain with their free-wheeling style, fastbreaks, and dunks.
Our ‘Tough Competitor’ award goes to Boylan senior guard Frankie Schiro. She’s feisty on the court, and she bounced back quickly from a nasty blow to the head at Hononegah during the final game of the regular season to play the next week in the Regionals.
Our ‘Top Swatter’ award goes to Rochelle’s 6’8 center Johnny Beck. Good luck getting a clean shot off under the basket when he’s in the neighborhood.
(Our award for the ‘Best-Dressed Coach’ goes to Rockford Christian’s Isaiah Johnson. Whether he’s in his eye-popping blue, plaid suit or in his all-blue ensemble, or wearing his dapper black suit…he’s always the sharpest dresser in the gymnasium.
Sticking with Rockford Christian…we’ve picked their student section, as the ‘Best Student Section’. These kids are all-in every game with their themed costumes and enthusiasm.
Our award for the ‘Best Halftime Perfomance by a Dance Team’ goes to Harlem. (Sound of music)
Our ‘Giant Heart’ award goes to DeKalb sophomore Trent Kyler. On January 17 he gave his pair of autographed Steph Curry shoes that he had won in a raffle to fellow DeKalb student Christopher Canaday. Canaday was rebounding from heart transplant surgery.
Our award for the ‘Best Clutch Basket’ goes to Hononegah senior guard Zach Hedrington. In a game January 25th he drove the length of the court in the final seconds and beat the buzzer with a layup giving Hononegah a 65-63 win over Jefferson.
(Scott) Our pick as the ‘Top Game of the Year’ is the Dakota-Forreston Regional Championship game last Friday night. These two teams grinded through four overtimes. Dakota’s Evan Flynn sent the game to the fourth overtime by draining a three-pointer with one second on the clock. In the fourth overtime Forreston’s Breadon Fyock ended it with his own three-pointer at the buzzer.
Our award for the ‘Girls Team of the Year’ is a split decision. The Eastland Cougars receive it after winning 31 games and advancing all the way to the 1A state championship game. They share the honor with Hononegah. The Lady Indians knocked off Boylan twice. They also advanced to the State Tournament in Class 4A for the first time in school history.
Our award for the ‘Boys Team of the Year’ goes to the East E-Rabs. They ran the table in the NIC-10 going 18-0. They won the school’s first conference championship in boys basketball in 38 years. They also set a school record for most wins in a season.
Our ‘Girls Small-School MVP’ is Ashton-Franklin Center senior Jaynee Prestegaard. She averaged almost 19 points and 11 rebounds per game. She also averaged almost six blocked shots per game and four and a half assists.
Our ‘Boys Small-School MVP’ is Byron senior guard Tony Eddy. He averaged more than 20 points per game while leading Byron to 24 wins. He’s great in the open court and he’s dangerous from the three-point line.
We’re going with co-champions for our ‘Girls Large-School MVP’. Boylan junior Peyton Kennedy was dominate inside and outside. She averaged 19 points and nine rebounds per game. She also added two-and-a-half steals and she was a strong shot-blocker. She dominated despite opposing defenses constantly focusing on trying to shut her down. Kennedy shares the award with Hononegah’s Jordan King. She led the NIC-10 in scoring, steals, assists and blocked shots. King doesn’t have any holes in her game. She’s the NIC-10’s all-time scoring leader. She might be the best female player in NIC-10 history.
(Scott) Our ‘Boys Large-School MVP’ pick is East senior point guard Chris Burnell. He might be the most well-rounded player in the NIC-10 between his scoring ability, his passing and his rebounding. He also gets high marks for his consistency and his leadership, and for his willingness to be a team player and do whatever the E-Rabs need him to do to win games.