Local Sports

Smooth operator

When the game was on the line, Avon Park point guard Alfred Brown did whatever it took to help the Red Devils win.

Whether it was scoring, driving and dishing to an open teammate or playing great defense, Brown had the knack for making the right play at the right time to help the Red Devils go 20-8, win the Class 4A-District 9 championship and defeat Tampa Catholic in the regional quarterfinals.

Brown, an experienced senior, averaged 10.5 points, 2.1 assists and 3.1 steals a game and fueled a remarkable comeback from a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit in the state playoff victory over Tampa Catholic.

"Alfred started every game for us and was our best on-ball defender," said Avon Park boys basketball coach Marty O'Hora. "He is a tremendous athlete, was a team player and did anything he could to help us win games."

Brown, who was the quarterback on the Avon Park football team and is the starting center fielder on the baseball squad, used his quickness and athleticism to spark the Red Devils offense on the hardwood.

For his ability and accomplishments, Brown has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

"It means to a lot to me to win this award," said Brown. "It shows all of the hard work I put in paid off.

"We had a great season and we learned to stay together, play hard and trust in each other."

The Team

Connor Cook, sophomore, Sebring - Running the Blue Streaks offense from his point guard spot, Cook averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals a game to help the Blue Streaks go 20-8, win the Class 5A-District 11 championship and advance to the regional semifinals in the state playoffs.

"Connor was the main cog in our engine," said Sebring boys basketball coach Princeton Harris. "He ran our offense, was our leading scorer and responded well to the extra responsibility we put on his shoulders."

John Mason, sophomore, Avon Park - Mason averaged 11 points, 6.2 rebounds and led the Red Devils with 10 double doubles.

"We asked John to do a lot as a sophomore," said O'Hora. "He was a scorer, rebounder and defender on much bigger and stronger guys in the paint. "He has a great opportunity to be a special player if he listens to the right people and works on his weaknesses."

Anfernee Munnings, sophomore, Lake Placid - Munnings played point guard and averaged 20 points, 5.2 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 steals a game for the Green Dragons.

"Anfernee was a leader on the floor for us," said Lake Placid basketball coach Dan Coomes. "He has the ability to drive to the basket or shoot the jump shot and is very coachable."

Gary Demarest, senior, Sebring - Demarest was a force at forward and averaged 8.1 points and 7.2 rebounds a game for the Blue Streaks

"Gary was tough to stop once he got the ball in the paint," Harris said. "He was physical and didn't mind banging against bigger guys."

Recarus Burley, junior, Avon Park - Burley averaged 8.1 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game for the Red Devils.

"Recarus played great down the stretch for us," said O'Hora. "He made two free throws to win the district title game and played great defense in our win playoff win over Tampa Catholic."

Scott Colley, junior, Lake Placid - Colley averaged 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds at his forward position for the Green Dragons.

"Scott could shoot from outside or score inside the paint," Coomes said. "He's a team player and is only going to get better."

Terrell Williams, senior, Sebring - Williams played guard and averaged 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game for the Blue Streaks.

"Terrell sacrificed his own game to help the team," said Harris. "He played shooting guard and point guard and did whatever it took to help us win."

Gus Owens, junior, Avon Park - Owens averaged 10 points and 2.5 steals a game for the Red Devils.

"Gus was our most explosive player at times," said O'Hora. "He could score 20 points in a hurry and if he works on his off-hand and jump shot we could have a special team next year."

Quantre Rouse, junior, Sebring - Rouse played small forward and averaged 7.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game.

"Quantre was our swing guy," said Harris. "He could put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket or he could shoot from outside.

"Very disciplined player and if he keeps working hard has a chance to be good."

Tyrone Perry, junior, Avon Park - Perry averaged 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds a game to help the Red Devils win the district title.

"Tyrone was one of our best rebounders and inside scorers," O'Hora said. "He took a lot of charges and his attitude improved this year."

Keizhan Hester, sophomore, Sebring - Hester averaged 8.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2 steals per game.

"Keizhan came on strong and exceeded our expectations," Harris said. "He played a lot and can shoot the 3-pointer and defend when he wants to."

Luke Ancrum, junior, Sebring - Ancrum averaged 7.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks a game playing inside the paint.

"Luke is our anchor on the inside,"Harris said. "He's a shot blocker because of his length and is a hard worker. "He improved during the season and was a force down low for us."

Honorable Mention

Ahmaad Smith, freshman, Avon Park - Smith averaged 2.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 block per game for the Red Devils.

"Ahmaad has great instincts on the court," O'Hora said. "He has quick hands, plays with a lot of effort and has a bright future."

Issic Neverson, junior, Lake Placid - Neverson averaged 8.1 points and 6.2 rebounds a game for the Green Dragons from his center position.

"Issic has a great work ethic," Coomes said. "He is going to get in the weight room to get stronger because he wants to improve."

Rolando Powery, sophomore, Sebring - Powery averaged 6.3 points, 4.1 blocks and a team-leading 10.1 rebounds a game for the Blue Streaks.

"Rolando gave us a spark off the bench," said Harris. "He has lots of potential and I look for great things from him the next two years."

Coach of the Year

For guiding their respective teams to district titles and quarterfinal wins in the state playoffs, Sebring's Princeton Harris and Avon Park's Marty O'Hora are the Highlands Today All-Highlands Boys Basketball Co-Coaches of the Year. mpinson@highlandstoday.com