By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
March 19, 2014 — The East and West Carter boys and girls basketball teams earned plenty of success on the court this past season.
Their efforts were rewarded last Monday during the EKC Awards Luncheon at Carter Caves State Resort Park.
East Carter’s girls earned many awards including Offensive Player of the Year (Kristen Mayo), Defensive Player of the Year (Bryana Greenhill) and Coach of the Year Hager Easterling. Juniors Kelsey Stumbo, Megan Stickler and Haley Hall were named to the first team for the girls.
“They’re a great bunch of kids and had a great year,” Easterling said. “You go 31-3, it’s not because of coaching. It’s because you have great players and you just don’t take pieces of a puzzle and hope they land in the right place. Pieces fit together on this team because the kids made it happen.”
The Lady Raiders were crowned conference champions. Lewis County is the girls runner-up and Fleming County’s boys earned a conference title. Rowan County came in second place.
Junior Kaylee Limings won the EKC Commissioner’s award. Limings had returned from a torn ACL her sophomore year to help the Lady Raiders have the best year in school history.
“She’s our enforcer,” Easterling said. “When she comes in the game, they know it because she battles and knocks people around to get rebounds. She’s our most physical player. She’s a very valuable part of what we accomplished this year.”
West Carter seventh grader Morgan Berry and her sister Lexie both earned All-EKC first team honors.
“They’re the mainstay of this program,” Lady Comets Coach Bart Stevens said. “Morgan is probably one of the better seventh graders in the state. Not many of them lead their varsity team in scoring.
“Lexie is very deserving of her award. She’s become a good leader since Christmas and I’m glad for that and when next year rolls around, she’ll be ready to take on more in her senior season.”
Fleming County was also a big winner. Senior Troy Steward scored 23.1 points a game while shooting 50 percent from the field. He also grabbed seven rebounds a contest. Panthers Coach Mark Starns was named Co-Coach of the Year, sharing honors with East Carter’s Brandon Baker.
East Carter’s Cole Brammer, Qua Davis and Cameron Sparks were tabbed to the All EKC First team. Baker’s ball club went 15-14 and won the 62nd District Championship for the second time in the past three seasons.
“It’s always a good feeling when your players can get rewarded for their hard work,” Baker said. “The time, commitment and energy they have put in to East Carter basketball did not go unnoticed and I’m just so excited for them.”
While West Carter’s boys season ended in the district tournament, the efforts of Jacob Layne Dalton Spurlock and Ben Jordan did not go unnoticed as they were also named to the first team.
“They’re very deserving,” Coach Jeremy Webb said. “When you’re talking about our season in general, those guys did a fine job all year long for us. I could not be more proud of those three guys.”
Lewis County’s Brett Ruckel was tabbed as the EKC Offensive Player of the Year. Rowan junior Justin Graham was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Randy Taylor was named girls’ Official of the Year while Bobby Hall was selected as the boys’ Official of the Year.
First-Team Girls All-EKC: East Carter: Megan Stickler, Haley Hall and Kelsey Stumbo. Fleming County: Martina Lytle, Cristi Petersen and Journey Steward. Lewis County: Savannah Anderso, Jaycey Fite and McKenzie Thompson. Morgan County: Cheyenna Ferguson and Abby Ross. Rowan County: Faith Conn, Candace Justice and Sarah Purdy. Russell: Lexi Berry, Shelby Huddleston and Maggie Jachimczuk. West Carter: Lexie Berry and Morgan Berry.
First-Team Boys All-EKC: East Carter: Cole Brammer, Qua Davis and Cameron Sparks. Fleming County: Austin Crisp, Brady Saunders and Bryson McKee. Lewis County: Trenton Walker and Sammy Holder, Russell: Zach Tackett. Morgan County: Jordan Perry, Jarred Burton and Mikie Whisman. Rowan County: Tyler Thacker, Ryne Callahan and Larry Whelan. West Carter: Dalton Spurlock, Jacob Layne and Ben Jordan.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.