Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 6:00 am
For the first time since 2011, all four Clinton County high schools are represented on the All-County Boys’ Basketball First Team.
Clinton Prairie senior forward Kale Morris is the unanimous pick for 2016 Times’ Player of the Year, followed closely by Frankfort senior guard Jarrod Smith. Morris and Smith shared POY honors on last year’s All-County team.
The rest of this year’s first team is rounded out by Rossville junior forward Blake Miller, Clinton Central junior guard Keenan Orr and Frankfort junior center Carter Taylor.
Second-team All-County selections are Rossville senior guard Enrique Rangel, Clinton Prairie junior point guard Jared Stillwell, Clinton Central junior guard Axle Brandenburg, Frankfort senior guard Jordan Campbell and Clinton Prairie junior guard Drew Scott.
Honorable mention selections are Clinton Central senior forward Tommy Davidson, Rossville senior forward Christian Howard, Frankfort sophomore point guard Malik King, Clinton Prairie senior guard Jacob Price and Rossville junior forward Jared Warren.
Voting for the All-County team were Frankfort head coach Jared Catron, Clinton Prairie head coach Jeff Henley, Clinton Central head coach Fonso White and Rossville head coach Cory Dunn.
Clinton Prairie senior
The Gophers’ sharp-shooter connected on 50 percent of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc and shot 61 percent from inside. He averaged a county-high 21.3 points per game while adding 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Morris was also an 87-percent free throw shooter.
“Kale is a complete ballplayer,” Henley said. “He does everything that a coach could ask. He works extremely hard in practice, has a high basketball IQ and is very competitive.
“Kale always showed great composure, knowing that defenses were always designed to stop him,” Henley added. “I have been very fortunate to have coached some excellent shooters, and I would place Kale at the top of that list. Kale is an excellent leader because he leads by example. He makes my job as a coach very easy.”
Morris is a three-time first team All-County selection and earned honorable mention honors as a freshman.
The Hot Dogs’ tough-as-nails leader finished the season with a county-high 520 points. Smith averaged 20 points, 5.5 rebounds and one steal per game. The last point he scored in his career was his 1,000th.
“Jarrod developed himself into the strongest physical guard not only in the conference, but in the county,” Catron said. “Not only did he score from the perimeter, but could attack the rim and finish strong.
“With a schedule like ours, he always found a way to lead the team even when it wasn’t scoring points,” Catron added. “His leadership was key toward the end of the season and helped give us the chance to play in the sectional final. Jarrod scored his 1,000th point in the final minutes of his career and did it only starting varsity his junior and senior seasons.”
This is Smith’s second selection to the All-County First Team. After bursting onto the scene as a starter his junior season, he earned a share of the POY award with Morris.
The Hornet’s productive forward earns his second straight selection to the All-County First Team after averaging 15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shot an impressive 43 percent from 3-point range.
“Blake was our most consistent player all year,” Dunn said. “He almost led us in scoring, and he did lead us in rebounding.”
Clinton Central Junior
Coming off a winless season the year before, the Bulldogs’ versatile 6-foot-5 guard dedicated himself to ending the drought. He led Clinton Central with 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game as the Bulldogs won 11 games in their resurgent season under first-year head coach White. Like Miller, Orr also shot 43 percent from deep while adding 2 steals and 2.2 assists per game.
“Keenan is a versatile player and leader that did a lot of things well to help his teammates get better,” White said. “Defensively, he had the ability to block or alter the shots that other teams weren’t able to.”
Orr was a second team All-County selection last year.
Imposing and athletic at 6-foot-7, the Hot Dogs’ center took another step forward this season, averaging 15 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He was effective from both in the paint and outside. Taylor shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.
“Carter developed into a post player all teams had to be concerned about,” Catron said. “He became a large part of our offense and defense this season. Teams had to be aware of his position on the floor at all times because he could post up or hit the outside shot. Defensively, he became a great shot blocker and was able to save our team from some big scores down the stretch this season.”
Taylor was a second team selection to the All-County team last year.
The Hornets’ athletic guard led his team in scoring with 16.2 points per game and was another 43-percent shooter from 3-point range. He also averaged 3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and three steals per game.
“Enrique was the most improved player we had in our program,” Dunn said. “He led us in scoring and steals.”
Clinton Prairie junior
The catalyst for the Gophers as their point guard, Stillwell averaged 12.2 points per game while shooting 41 percent from deep and 88 percent from the foul line. He also averaged 3.3 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game.
“Jared is so important to our team because he thinks like a coach,” Henley said. “He understands game situations and what needs to be done. Jared is a very hard worker in practice and in a game. He has excellent leadership qualities. I love having Jared on my team because he is such a competitor.”
Clinton Central junior
Athletic and physical enough to work effectively as a guard or a forward, Brandenburg averaged 11.1 points and 7 rebounds per game. He was a 51-percent shooter from the field.
“Axle was the glue guy for our team,” White said. “If the team needed a charge, rebound or energy, he was the one that inspired the others to work harder on the floor.”
With an ability to get to the basket whether it was by slashing, bouncing or twisting through defenders, Campbell averaged 11.3 points a game. He shot 37 percent from beyond the arc, 47 percent within it and 85 percent from the line.
“Jordan played a consistent game for us,” Catron said. “Any time we had a struggle from other scoring threats, we could count on Jordan to step up and be a big time scorer for us. He was a leader by example and did a great job helping our team in the sectional stretch with big plays.
“Jordan is a very difficult person to guard on the perimeter,” Catron said. “Many teams underestimated that, and he scored many of his points attacking the rim and making the right play.”
Clinton Prairie junior
An athletic scorer and lock-down defender for the Gophers, Scott averaged 11 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He shot 53 percent from the field.
“Drew may well be the best defensive player I have ever coached,” Henley said. “Drew takes great pride in his defensive skills, and he works very hard in practice to improve all of his basketball skills. When I make defensive assignments, I always assign the best offensive player to Drew. He has been a great leader this year both on and off the court.”
Clinton Central senior
Davidson started all 27 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 12.4 points per game while shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.
“Tommy, although he was quiet, was our nails guy,” White said. “If we needed a shot, we could call a set play for him with the confidence of knowing he would make it.”
A consistent post player for the Hornets, Howard averaged 9.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1 steal per game. He shot 65 percent from the field.
“Christian had a great year,” Dunn said. “He was our glue guy, and the hardest-working guy we had. He almost set a new school field-goal-percentage record.”
King missed the early part of the season while recovering from an injury, but after returning to his starting spot at the point guard position, he averaged 6.8 points and 3.6 assists for the Hot Dogs while shooting 48 percent from the field.
“Malik runs the true point guard position,” Catron said. “Even though scoring is not a concern of Mailk’s, he can score in many situations. His true passion is creating and making the passing play. He can hit the open shots and attack the rim when he needs too. He has hit some big shots for us when we have needed him too and has stepped up in many games to be one of the top scorers for us.”
King was a second team selection last year.
Clinton Prairie senior
A solid all-around player and senior leader, Price averaged 7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game for the Gophers. He shot 47 percent from the field, 47 percent from deep and 81 percent from the foul line.
“Jacob does all of the little things that make a team successful,” Henley said. “He is an excellent 3-point shooter which helped keep other teams from double-teaming Kale. Jacob played solid defense, made the hustle plays, and took charges. He always showed great composure in the game regardless of the situation. Jacob worked very hard in practice every day to make himself and his team better. He is a great leader both on and off the court.”
Physical and athletic enough to play four of the five positions, Warren averaged 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for the Hornets.