Prep hoop season in review

After a good hoops season in this area, it's time that I cast my choices for player and coach of the year in our two local conferences: The Watauga and Watauga Valley.
   Some of the selections may be controversial, but you can't really deny them after the season they had. Here are my picks for
   WATAUGA CONFERENCE
   BOYS MVP:
B.J. Miller, Elizabethton
   Miller led the Cyclones in scoring this year and broke loose in some big games for the squad. Vince Redd also was dominant for Elizabethton, but it was Miller's poise from the outside and his added scoring edge that gave Elizabethton the boost they have needed this season.
   BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR: John McCrary, Sullivan North
   McCrary built his team from the bottom of the pile in the Watauga Conference to the fourth place slot within the last few weeks of the season. The improvement in his team was shown when they swept Volunteer, then avenged a 16-point loss to Sullivan Central with a big win late in the year.
   Elizabethton coach Tony Hardin deserves this award, but returning the amount of talent he had last season it was a no-brainer that Elizabethton would win the conference.
   GIRLS MVP: Rikki Baughman, Elizabethton
   Baughman paced the Lady Cyclones this season with her dominating scoring and rebounding efforts. She averaged around 15 points and ten boards per game.
   GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR: Ben Godsey, Happy Valley
   Godsey turned the Happy Valley girls basketball program around this season, with a team winning almost double the games it won the season before and finishing third in the Watauga Conference. The youth on the team looks poised to be a top contender for the next few years.
   WATAUGA VALLEY CONFERENCE
   BOYS MVP:
Rusty Chambers, Unaka
   Before the season, the hype was built around University High's Brandon Bradley for this award. Chambers proved his worth, leading the area in scoring and laying the smackdown on big teams during big games.
   BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR: Donald Ensor, Unaka
   Coming into this season, not many people gave Unaka the chance to be special losing as much talent as they did, but Ensor responded with a solid team who did what it took to win big games and take a hold of the Watauga Valley Conference.
   GIRLS MVP: Tara Hanson, Cloudland
   Hanson set the pace for the Lady Highlanders this season, leading them in scoring. The senior also broke loose with some big performances against Unicoi County, Daniel Boone and Unaka.
   GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR: Matt Birchfield, Cloudland
   In his second season at the 'Lander helm, Matt Birchfield earns yet another coach of the year award leading Cloudland to one of the best 1-A Girls records in the state. The Lady 'Landers are poised to reach the state tournament yet again, but the toughest road is still ahead of them.
   THE 'GREAT EIGHT' GAMES OF THE YEAR
   8. Elizabethton vs. Science Hill (Arby's Classic): Toppers outlast Cyclones in four quarter duel.
   7. Johnson County at Happy Valley (Boys): After being picked to lose earlier in the week by an anonymous sportswriter, the Warriors prevailed in this tight win in Bayless Gym.
   6. Unaka at University High (Boys):
Unaka ends Junior Buc win streak after trailing by 12.
   5. Elizabethton at Happy Valley (Girls): Happy Valley got the pay back victory on their home floor after losing by 15 earlier in the season.
   4. Elizabethton at Unicoi County (Girls): Lady Devils squeak out of their home gymnasium with a one-point victory against a stingy Lady Cyclone club.
  
3. Cloudland at Unaka (Boys): Unaka won this spirited contest in OT to earn their Watauga Valley Title.
   2. Unicoi County at Hampton (Girls): In perhaps the Lady Bulldogs' finest outing, they almost upset the top AA team in the area during this overtime classic.
   1. Hampton at Happy Valley (Boys): In one of the most controversial games of the season, the Warriors prevail in a big 43-42 victory at Bayless Gym. It was a game that people talked about for weeks.