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Shasta County Sports 2019-20 All-County boys basketball team

The Shasta County Sports 2019-20 all-county boys basketball team is led by first-teamers (from left) Enterprise's Demarreya Lewis-Cooper, Foothill's Luke Lindsey and Josiah Palumbo, U-Prep's Tanner Stephens and Redding Christian's Drew Nelson-Crowell. (Illustration by Aaron Williams, photos by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports).

There was never a dull moment during the 2019-20 prep boys basketball season. Rivals clashing filled the weeknight festivities, highlight-reel plays left us all wanting more and three Shasta County boys teams reached the Northern Section finals.

The 2019-20 All-Shasta County boys basketball team, sponsored by Clear View Auto Glass, is here to showcase the top 15 players and another handful honorable mention honorees who stood above the rest. Players were chosen by the Shasta County Sports staff and picked through extensive game coverage throughout the season. In addition to the “eye test,” players were also evaluated using statistics and coach input.

All graphics were made by Aaron Williams/Shasta County Sports and photos are a collection from photographers Mike Daly and Maddie Harrell (Shasta County Sports).

COACH OF THE YEAR — Mark Stephens, U-Prep

Mark Stephens guided the U-Prep boys basketball team to a second straight Northern Section Division IV championship in 2019-20 and is the Shasta County Sports boys basketball Coach of the Year. (Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

What did U-Prep do for an encore following the program’s first Northern Section championship season? Duplicate the efforts and in dominating fashion.

The Panthers finished the year 23-9 overall — 19 wins by double-digits, winning the Northern Athletic League title with a 9-1 mark and eventually capturing the Northern Section D-IV title with a 52-44 win over Pierce. Returning key players in all-county picks Tanner Stephens, Trevor Jones and Logan Hawes certainly helps and coach Stephens got the most out of Kevin Cox and newcomer Aiden Lipman to put out one of the best balanced and starting five in the county.

But the difference from last year to this year was the schedule — and the Panthers didn’t shy away from any challenges. U-Prep played an upper division opponent in 15 of its 16 non-league games, winning eight of those. But faced more established and powerhouse programs such as Foothill, Enterprise, Shasta and Pleasant Valley, along with out-of-section squads Branson of Ross, Richmond, Cosumnes Oaks and Golden Valley of Merced. How U-Prep is able to schedule those games is a testament to how far the program has come under the guidance of Stephens and for the Panthers to be competitive and win more often than not in those games proves the “other westside team” could be a mainstay going forward.

FIRST TEAM

Guard — Josiah Palumbo | Foothill | Sr.

Notable stats: 12.8 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, 2.6 steals per game, 2.3 assists per game, 61 3FGM,

Palumbo already had the speed and quickness to be an unstoppable force but he improved his shooting ability and leadership to become an elite player. The Shasta County Sports and Northern Section MVP dazzled with acrobatic layups, passes and could hit from range, all while leading the Cougars to 27-6 season and a run in the NorCal Division III semifinals.

The senior scored in double figures in 24 of the 33 games during the season and scored a season-high 26 points in a home victory over Pleasant Valley. His per-night averages were solid with nearly 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals and his 61 made 3-pointers ranked second in Shasta County and sixth in the section. But he was the electrifying catalyst for Foothill’s success, supplying the energy to his teammates on the way to an MVP season.

Guard — Demarreya Lewis-Cooper | Enterprise | So.

Notable stats: 14.9 points per game, 1.6 steal to turnover ratio,

There isn’t another player in Shasta County who controls the floor like Lewis-Cooper. A quick-driving point man with excellent court vision, he squeezed everything out of his teammates all while playing nearly every minute of every game and getting the 16-13 Hornets to the Northern Section Division III semifinals.

The Enterprise sophomore was better in every aspect in his second varsity season, recording team-highs in points (14.9), rebounds (4.8), assists (3.7), steals (2.4) and blocks (0.5), emerging as an MVP finalist with an unlimited upside. A developed outside game made Lewis-Cooper a productive deep threat this year with 39 made 3s, forcing opponents to guard more on the perimeter to unclog the passing lanes. His 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio was second in Shasta County along qualified players (min. 60 assists).

Lewis-Cooper picked up all-EAL honors and was a first-team All-Northern Section selection, the only underclassman to be listed on both the All-Section and All-Shasta County team.

Forward — Luke Lindsey | Foothill | Sr.

Notable stats: 12.2 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, 1.9 assists per game, 1.6 steals per game

A fierce competitor, Lindsey was not only a reliable source of offense and pesky on defense but he wasn’t afraid to remind opponents who they’re battling against under the rim for a rebound. The lanky Cougar could play inside and out, knocking down 41 3-pointers and delivered a momentum shifting dunk from time to time. His athleticism gave him an extra edge and honed in his skills to make sure  Foothill coach Bill Elliott would squeeze every ounce of production out of him as he could.

The result was a fine one — about 12 points, four boards and a handful of steals and assists per night. He scored a season-best 23 points in the Harlan Carter Invitational semifinal win over Placer and dropped 18 in back-to-back state playoff road victories of Palma and Sequoias. Lindsey was a second-team All-Section and EAL all-league selection.

Forward — Tanner Stephens | U-Prep | Jr.

Notable stats: 13.7 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game

There’s something to be said about a fundamentally sound player who lets his play do the talking. Stephens may not be beaming with flashy plays but he always seems to get the job done one way or another, whether it’s scoring, rebounding, moving without the ball to draw defenders or his defense.

The Panthers’ junior forward led the team in scoring and rebounding this season, earning NAL MVP and first-team All-Northern Section honors. He recorded five double-doubles, had five games of 20-plus points and also had six different games with double-digit rebound totals — his season-best coming in a 21-point, 17-board performance in a win over Red Bluff. With two successful varsity seasons under his belt, expect Stephens to be a member of the 1,000-point scoring club next year.

Center — Drew Nelson Crowell | Redding Christian | Jr.

Notable stats: section-best 23 double-doubles and 124 blocks, 13.9 rebounds per game

If there’s one thing Nelson-Crowell proved this season, it’s that he can be a reckoning force for any opponent and it will have to take an entire team to take him down.

The paint belongs to the 6-foot-10 center out of Palo Cedro. A stronger, tougher and more confident Nelson-Crowell was a brutal task for anyone to handle this year. At times, No. 34 cleans up a miss down low with one arm because the was using the other to carry a defender back up to the rim with him.

The Five-Star League MVP and second-team all-section selection led the Lions to a 25-4 overall record. Nelson-Crowell posted a section-best 23 double-doubles on the year and averaged a double-double with 16.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game — the latter of which was second-best in the section. He totaled a section-best 124 blocks (4.6 per game) and turned in his best game of 34 points and 20 rebounds in a home win over Burney — going up against another top rebounder in the section in the Raiders’ Marc Lopez.

SECOND TEAM

Guard — Jermaine Mondaine | Enterprise | Sr.

Notable stats: 14 points per game, 20 double-figure scoring games, 4.7 rebounds per game.

Practically an unknown as a junior with eight points in 10 games, Mondaine exploded on the scene to be one of the more reliable scorers in Shasta County during his senior season.

For Enterprise to be a tough out, the Hornets needed someone to step into a scoring role alongside Demarreya Lewis-Cooper. Mondaine filled the void to perfection. The guard put up 14 points on a nightly basis, scoring in double figures in 20 of his 29 games with a season-high 29 points against Shasta on Feb. 7. His deadly mid-range game and athleticism led to a growing confidence as the season wore on.

Mondaine earned all-EAL honors as well as being voted to the All-Northern Section squad as a second-teamer.

Guard — Christian Teague | Anderson | Sr.

Notable stats: 18.0 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game, nine games of 20+ points, 12 double-doubles

It would take about two seconds when you walk into the gym to see Teague was usually the best athlete on the floor. Give it a half and you’ll realize there isn’t a he play he can’t make.

Night after night, there was no doubt Teague was going to take over the game at some point. His 18.0 points, 9.4 rebounds per game and 12 double-doubles were all third-best in Shasta County. His aggressive nature mixed with a boosting confidence, the green light to shoot once he passed half court and his drive to make others better around him earned him all-NAL and third-team all-section honors.

He had team-highs in practically every statistical category, nearly doubling his averages in points, rebounds, assists and blocks per game across the board. Teague scored a season-high 32 points in a 68-41 win over Central Valley on Dec. 21 and scored at least 20 points in five of his final six games of the regular season.

Guard — JT Beasley | Shasta | Sr.

Notable stats: 13.7 points per game, 22 games in double-figures

One look at Beasley after a game and you knew the senior guard had given all he had each and every night. Drenched in sweat, looking like he’d run a marathon, the Wolves’ hybrid guard made sure, win or lose, there was nothing left in the tank. Tasked with running the point, defending the like of Josiah Palumbo or Demarreya Lewis-Cooper, or coming up with a clutch shot, Beasley approached the moment with a ferocity he showed all three years on varsity.

In 2019-20, he led the Wolves in points, assists and steals per game. He dropped double-figures in 22 contests, was a calming presence on a floor and was warrior-like while emptying his tank on the court each night, earning all-EAL honors.

Forward — Bekdoo Lewis | Foothill | Sr.

Notable stats: 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.4 assists, 21 double-digit scoring games

A 6-foot-5 forward who could swing down to guard at any time is a nice weapon to have. Lewis was frequently on the positive side of a mismatch and Foothill tried to exploit his athletic ability as much it as it could. The EAL honorable mention selection was a finesse post player who could beat his defender to the rack but also wasn’t afraid to let it launch from downtown and mixed in a steady mid-range game.

He finished the year scoring in double figures in 21 of his 32 contests, including nine of his final 11 and he scored a season-high 26 points and 14 rebounds in a lopsided win over North Coast Section D1 Berkeley.

Lewis’ confidence provided Foothill a threat at both ends of the floor and he averaged 16 points across the three state playoff games.

Forward — Simon Turner | Shasta | Sr.

Notable stats: 10.8 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per night, seven double-doubles

In the guard-heavy Shasta offense, Turner gave the Wolves that much-needed grit and muscle in the paint. That’s not to say the Bucknell University baseball commit couldn’t find the bucket from range — he could. But Turner was a versatile cog in the machine, able to score in multiple ways as well as holding down the fort along with newcomer Jacob Singleton in the paint.

He showed his clutch ability with a pair of free throws in the Wolves’ lone win over rival Enterprise to send the game to overtime. And while James Weaver’s heroics might be long-remembered from that game, it was his ice-in-the-veins moment that allowed the Wolves to continue.

THIRD TEAM

Guard — Dojah Alido | Central Valley | Sr.

Notable stats: 14 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game, 20 double-digit scoring games, 71 percent FT shooting (fifth-best in Shasta County)

There wasn’t a challenge Alido backed down from and often played above his skill level when he tapped into his heart and hustle to leave it all on the floor every night.

The third-year varsity starter was a consistent force for the Falcons and always looked to get his teammates involved as a pass-first point guard. Yet, his 14 points per night average was sixth-best in Shasta County and he dropped double-digits in 20 of his 26 games with a season-high 29 coming in a 76-72 win over Fortuna.

His scrappy defense led the way to a team-best 38 steals and was the second-leading rebounder for the 11-14 Falcons.

Guard — Trevor Jones | U-Prep | Sr.

Notable stats: 11.3 points per game, 8 charges, 25 games with a steal

When you combine all-out energy, quickness and the ability to create with and without the basketball you get Jones. The Panthers’ senior guard wrapped up his prep career with 2.5 varsity seasons to his name, leaving the program at its highest point.

Jones was a solid contributor this season, averaging 11.3 points along with a handful of rebounds, assists and steals per game. He also drew eight charges, good enough for eighth-most in the section. The all-NAL pick scored in double figures in 18 games, scoring a season-high 21 twice — in upper division wins over Enterprise and River City and recorded a steal in 25 of 29 games.

Guard — Tim Westlund | Fall River | Sr.

Notable stats: 11.0 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 94 steals.

With an influx of talented sophomores seeing valuable varsity minutes, Fall River was going to need a senior leader to guide the Bulldogs back to the Northern Section championship game. And much like he did with being the go-to guy on the football field during fall, Westlund fit the bill on the hardwood.

Named the Shasta Cascade League MVP and picked to the third-team All-Northern Section squad, Westlund was that guiding force for the youth-infused Bulldogs. He recorded a steal in all 28 games and his 94 steals was fourth-best in the section with a season-best 10 coming in a win over Trinity on Feb. 11 combined with 17 points for his only double-double of the year. Westlund scored in double figures in 14 games, topping out with a season-high 23 points in a win over Loyalton.

Forward — Logan Hawes | U-Prep | Sr.

Notable stats: 12.0 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, 11 double-doubles, 20 games with at least one steal.

The minutes Hawes provided the Panthers as part of their “Big 3” were crucial to their season-long dominance. A 6-foot-5, 200-pounder with the ability to play away from the basket meant his versatility put him in rare company for big men. He could finesse his way to the rim or bully down low to get a high-percentage shot as a reliable source to deliver big buckets for the section champion Panthers.

Hawes earned all-NAL honors for his efforts, improving on his junior year averages in points (12.0), rebounds (8.6), steals (1.6) and blocks (1.1) per game. He totaled 11 double-doubles on the year — fourth-best in Shasta County and ninth-most in the section — and scored a season-high 22 points in a win over Yreka and pulled down a season-best 15 rebounds in the semifinal victory over Oroville.

Forward — Brandon McCracken | Foothill | Sr.

Notable stats: 7.4 points, 7.7 rebounds per game, eight games with double-digit rebounds, four double-doubles

Foothill’s big man progressed as the year went on and his 6-foot-8 athletic frame was hard to stop. He owned the glass and it was late in EAL play where his confidence peaked, helping the Cougars to an EAL title and the top seed in the Northern Section D-III playoffs.

In a four-game stretch against Shasta, Enterprise, Pleasant Valley and Red Bluff, McCracken averaged 12.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game and demonstrated how he could be a complementary piece to the other weapons around him on a loaded squad.

Staff Reports is content produced by the Shasta County Sports team.

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