Co-Players of the Year
In a season that could have easily gone sour, Green didn’t get frustrated and spearheaded Northwestern’s charge to its first state championship in 17 seasons. Green was a constant force for the Wildcats, averaging 18.9 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.1 blocked shots per game. In a 72-hour period, Green, a 6-foot-8 forward/center, helped end Oxon Hill and Roosevelt’s dominance of the 4A South Region playoffs. He had 24 points and 17 rebounds in a region semifinal win against defending state champ Oxon Hill, then added 19 points and 17 rebounds in the Wildcats’ region final win against Roosevelt. It was the first time since 1997 that a 4A South team other than the Raiders or Clippers advanced to the state Final Four. In the state semifinals against Glen Burnie, Green (14 points, six rebounds, three steals) swiped a shot away in closing seconds to preserve a 58-56 victory. Green’s 10 blocked shots in the contest are believed to be a state record. He had 23 points and a game-high nine rebounds in a 61-59 decision over Montgomery County’s Springbrook. In the two Final Four games, Green was 16-of-21 from the field with 15 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
Sam YoungThe weight of expectations didn’t seem to faze the smooth and athletic Young this winter. The Friendly Patriots claimed their second consecutive state championship, thanks to the efforts of Young, the first player to win back-to-back Star/Gazette Prince George’s County Player of the Year honors.The 6-foot-6 center averaged 25.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 blocked shots and two steals per game. In the inaugural county championship game, Young’s putback with eight seconds remaining was the difference in a 78-76 decision over defending state 4A champ Oxon Hill. He poured in 15 of his game-high 36 points in the third quarter as the Patriots stormed past Fairmont Heights for the 2A South Region title. Young totaled 46 points, 19 rebounds, six steals and a stunning post-title game somersault at Comcast Center as Friendly became the first county team since Forestville in 1991 and 1992 to win back-to-back titles. ‘‘That’s what we worked for all year,” said Young, whose team finished with an 18-game winning streak. ‘‘It’s something I’ll always cherish with my family and friends.”
Coach of the Year
Tony Dickens, Northwestern — After his team won the The Rock League title last summer and set itself up for lofty preseason expectations, Dickens said he thought a lot of things could happen.
Little did he know.
The Wildcats lost their first two games and had to play most their schedule on the road because of water damage to Northwestern’s gym floor. One starter was ruled ineligible and another missed a month of the season due to injury, leaving the Wildcats with a 5-8 mark midway through the season. But Dickens and his troops persevered and won the school’s first state 4A title since 1987. Northwestern won its five playoff games by a combined 17 points, including two-point wins in both the state semifinals and state title game. In three seasons, Dickens, who previously coached 11 seasons in Ohio, has a record of 43-26 at Northwestern.
Jared Gaither, Roosevelt, Sr. — Gaither finally became a dominant presence in the paint this season. The 6-foot-9 center averaged 12 points, 13 rebounds, five blocked shots and 2.5 steals for the Raiders, who lost to eventual state champ Northwestern in the region title game. Gaither will play football for Maryland instead of basketball — he had previously given a verbal commitment to South Carolina’s basketball program. He will participate in the Jordan Capital Classic Regional game next month at Comcast Center.
Chris Howard, Friendly, Sr. — Howard was the trigger man for the state’s best public squad again this season. The 6-3 guard averaged 17.5 points, 10.8 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 4.8 steals for the Patriots, who won their second consecutive state championship. He had a season-high 33 points against Crossland and scored in double figures in 25 of 27 contests. A repeat first-teamer on Star/Gazette squad, Howard will also participate in the Jordan Capital Classic Regional game.
Charles Richardson, Suitland, Sr. — Richardson formed one of the county’s best 1-2 punches this winter with teammate Bobby Maze. In 23 games, Richardson, a 6-5 forward, averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds. He and Maze will be on the Red squad at the Jordan Capital Classic Regional game.
John Vaughan, Laurel, Sr. — A repeat first-team selection, Vaughn was again the center of attention for the Spartans this winter. The 6-4 guard averaged 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. He had a season-high 41 points against High Point, and scored in double figures in all but two games. Vaughan, who will play in the Jordan Capital Classic Regional contest, is headed to George Mason.
Terrance Carter, Largo, Sr. — The 6-4 Carter was the most improved player in the county public schools this season. The senior went from being a good athlete, to the county’s top scorer in 2004, averaging 23.8 points per game. Carter, who was often forced to play power forward and center against taller competition, scored a school-record 53 points against High Point in February and has attracted interest from several colleges based on his breakout senior season.
Robert Diggs, Gwynn Park, Jr. — Diggs will be a player to watch next season for the Yellow Jackets in their quest for a state championship. The6-7 forward averaged 14.9 points, nine rebounds and nearly four blocks per game through the 3A East Regional. Diggs shot nearly 62 percent for the season and could make a run for Star/Gazette Player of the Year next season.
Frank Gerald, Oxon Hill, Sr. — Gerald went from being a role player on Oxon Hill’s 2003 state championship squad to team leader in 2004. He displayed versatility, primarily playing forward for the undersized Clippers. But he also saw time at center and would serve as the squad’s primary ball-handler in certain situations. Gerald averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and four steals.
Tywon Lawson, McNamara, Soph. — Difficult to guard one-on-one, the McNamara guard was a principal figure in a school-best 10-0 start to the season. A second-team selection last year, Lawson averaged 18.7 points, seven assists and three rebounds per game in 2004. He rebounded from a broken arm last summer to improve on an impressive freshman campaign.
Marcus Ashton, Gwynn Park; Gerald Belton, High Point; Ray Brewer, Roosevelt; Jameer Bush, DuVal; Gerale Daniel, Largo; Keith Edmonds, Fairmont Heights; Will Gill, Oxon Hill; Darshan Johnson, Bladensburg; Chaise Lancaster, Northwestern; Bobby Maze, Suitland; Niguel Munson, DeMatha; Noah Nichols, McNamara; Lloyd Phillips, Friendly; Jonathan Southall, Potomac; Jerrel Suber, Forestville; Wesley Sweet, Fairmont Heights; Devin Sweetney, Riverdale Baptist; Jerel Thomas, Pallotti.