West Valley Preps
For the fifth year, West Valley Preps honors the best boys basketball players it covers. Here is the all West Valley Preps boys basketball team:
F – Jared Rodriguez (Senior) Mountain Ridge
F – Bryce Davis (Junior) Deer Valley
G – Cole Roether (Senior) Liberty
G – Cody Carmichael (Senior) Ironwood
G – Andrew Augustine (Junior) Northwest Christian
F – Jared Perry (Junior) Paradise Honors
F – Geoff Hibbitt (Senior) Ironwood
C – Mikel Beyers (Senior) Dysart
G – Dom Ciccaglione (Senior) Liberty
G – Pearce Nally (Junior) Glendale Prep
Just missed: Lahad Adehim, (Junior), Peoria, F; Zach Johnson (Junior), Northwest Christian, F; Adrian Van Cleaf, (Senior), Paradise Honors, G; Noah Foskit, (Senior), Ironwood, F. Saikou Gueye, (Sunior), Mountain Ridge, F
Underclassmen to Watch: Kaleb Brown, Soph., G, Peoria; Jacob Edahl, Soph., G, Liberty; Josh Holloway, Soph., G, Valley Vista; Dez Melton, Soph., F, Deer Valley; K.J. Patrick, Soph., G, Willow Canyon; Trenton Scales, Frosh., G, Ironwood.
Player of the Year — Cole Roether – He may look unassuming, until you realize he has 15 points at halftime. That was the common reaction among opposing coaches and fans who came in believing Noether was not tall or athletic enough to go for his customary 24 points a game on them. His long-range shooting may set things up but Roether also knows how to get to the rim and has a midrange game with an array of double pumps and floaters. He has been seen as the Lions’ Mr. Offense but his 3.4 steals per game were as much as longtime backcourt mate Ciccaglione and helped jump start the relentless Liberty press.
Runner-up — Bryce Davis – The rangy forward was more forceful this year. Yet you still get the sense Davis is only scratching the surface of his considerable potential. He continues to grow and has a nice baseline game for a kid nearly 6-8. If anything, Davis is at the stage in his career where he is figuring out which of his considerable gifts work the best on the court. This leads to him trying to do too much at times. But Davis is figuring it out and should be the premier player in the West Valley, by far, next year.
Coach of the Year — Jordan Augustine (Ironwood) – By far the toughest decision in five years of this award, with three legitimate candidates in Augustine, Northwest Christian’s Jason Cook and Liberty’s Mark Wood. All three managed their teams well enough to win in either of the last couple years. But Augustine receives the ever-so-slight advantage for his stunning turnaround of an Ironwood program that bottomed out two years ago. He has installed a selfless culture and thoughtful approach on both offense and defense to guide the Eagles through the brutal Metro Region (including a win over eventual 5A state champ Sunnyslope) plus mild playoff upset over an Avondale Agua Fria team that beat Ironwood by 27 in a preseason tournament. Augustine had a solid, team oriented senior class to work with but nothing resembling a go-to gut. No Ironwood player scored in double figures on the season but those four seniors all averaged between 9.4 and 9.9 points per game.
Runner-up — Mark Wood (Liberty) – Augustine gets the nod for this season but Wood is the Northwest Valley’s gold standard as far as establishing a program philosophy and culture. The Lions saw the fruits of that work during a stunning run to the 5A semifinals as a No. 15 seed, punctuated by the upset of the state playoffs at Arcadia. Wood does the best job we’ve seen of finding a role for nearly everyone on his roster and giving each player the freedom to make mistakes and grow on the court. Players, in return reward he and the Liberty staff with boundless effort that has made the program perhaps the biggest pain to play of anyone in Arizona. As anyone in basketball will tell you, that’s a compliment.