It’s almost scary how similar the statistics are for Sacred Heart Cathedral standout forwards Joshua Fox and Taylor Johns.
Even with largely different offensive games, the two UC Riverside-bound seniors both averaged about the same amount of points (Johns had a slight edge at 14.5 per game compared to Fox’s 14.4) and rebounds (Johns again held a slight edge at 8.1 to Fox’s 7.1), and the two were far-and-away the best players in The City all season.
That, along with their kinship on and off the court, made the decision for the San Francisco Examiner and SanFranPreps.com Player of the Year that much more difficult.
Fox had a flair for the dramatic, hitting some of the biggest shots of the season, but the determining factor came on the defensive end of the floor. Fox was a plus defender and had his share of blocks and steals, but Johns’ ability to block and alter shots was a game-changer.
That’s why he’s our Player of the Year.
Johns’ shot blocking, as well as his ability to change the emotional flow of games with emphatic dunks, were invaluable weapons for the Irish all season, and the impact of his defense was displayed in the Division III state championship game.
With Johns off the court with foul trouble for much of the second half, the athletic Alemany guards drove through the Sacred Heart defense without worrying about the senior’s 6-foot-6 frame and long arms meeting them in the paint.
Fox headlines a first team that acknowledges versatility and all-around effectiveness rather than pure scoring.
Fox scored, rebounded, distributed, shot 40 percent from 3-point range and showed a taste for taking clutch shots.
Mission senior forward Gione Edwards led all city scorers with 19.5 points per game, but also led the Bears in rebounding (10.3 per game), blocks and was second on the team in assists.
Academic Athletic Association Player of the Year Mark Alexander, Marshall’s 6-foot-6 center, had a triple-double in the AAA championship game and was one of the best inside defenders all season.
Urban junior guard Nate Cohen, the Bay Counties League West Player of the Year, led the Blues to their first winning season since 2004-05 by averaging more than 17 points per game in league play, taking in 7.2 rebounds per game, while leading the team in assists (5.2 per game).
The final first-team selection, Sacred Heart junior guard Herman Pratt, made his greatest impact as the best on-the-ball defender in The City and scored 10 points per game. He didn’t average a ton of rebounds or assists, but always seemed to do something late in the game to help the Irish win games.
The drop-off from the first team is far from steep, with highly-sought recruit Stephen Domingo, human highlight-reel Trevor Dunbar, sharpshooter Chris Young, inside-outside threat Harold Getz and explosive Isaiah Boone all pushed down to the second team.
Player of the Year: Taylor Johns, senior, forward, SHC
Coach of the Year: Darrell Barbour, SHC
Mark Alexander, senior, center, Marshall
Nate Cohen, junior, guard, Urban
Gione Edwards, senior, forward, Mission
Joshua Fox, senior, forward, SHC
Herman Pratt, junior, guard, SHC
Isaiah Boone, senior, guard, Lick-Wilmerding
Stephen Domingo, junior, forward, St. Ignatius
Trevor Dunbar, sophomore, guard, St. Ignatius
Harold Getz, junior, forward, University
Chris Young, senior, guard, Lincoln
D.J. Harvey, senior, guard, Riordan
Khalil James, junior, guard, SHC
Chris Mah, junior, guard, University
Miles Prescott, senior, forward, Mission
Ares Brown, senior, guard, Lincoln
Max Betkowski, senior, forward, Galileo
Joshua Blueford, sophomore, guard, Leadership
Jonathan Burnoski, senior, guard, Balboa
Francisco Chacon, senior, guard, Leadership
Terence Ching, senior, guard, Burton
Armani Collins, freshman, forward, Stuart Hall
Tim Connolly, senior, guard, Stuart Hall
Preston Demings, sophomore, forward, Marshall
Grant Fineman, senior, guard, Jewish Community
Anthony Gumberg, junior, forward, Jewish Community
Franeka Hall, senior, guard, Jordan
Aumen Holliday, junior, guard, Marshall
Nick Johnson, senior, guard, St. Ignatius
Gordon Kwan, senior, guard, Washington
Geru Mabrey, junior, guard, Riordan
Connor Mattoon, senior, guard, Bay
Julian Matulich, senior, forward, Urban
Demonta McFarland, senior, guard, ISA
David Medoff, junior, guard, University
Matt Monges, junior, guard, Urban
Kevin Murray, junior, guard, Mission
Avery Nicastro-Aikman, senior, guard, Lowell
Mizell Parker, sophomore, guard, Marshall
Tyler Petroni, senior, guard, SHC
Antoine Porter, junior, guard, Mission
Ray Porter, junior, forward, Gateway
Ben Schneider, junior, forward, Lick-Wilmerding
Phillip Stone Jr., senior, guard, Lick-Wilmerding
Al Woodhouse, senior forward, Waldorf
Nick Young, senior guard, Lincoln