GIRLS ALL-COUNTY FIRST TEAM
Player of the Year Addie Wray, Bunker Hill
Although she has signed to play softball at Appalachian State University next season, Wray was also a standout on the hardwood at the high school level. The 5-foot-7 senior guard improved during every season of her prep career, culminating in her being selected as Catawba County’s top girls basketball player for the 2020-21 season.
The Bears’ second all-time leading scorer with 1,775 career points — she would likely have reached the No. 1 spot if not for having her final season cut short due to COVID-19 — Wray is also the program’s all-time leader in free throw percentage. A two-time Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference player of the year (2019-20, 2020-21), she also made the All-District 10 First Team after averaging 21.5 points, 5.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game for a Bunker Hill squad that posted an unbeaten regular season and advanced to the 2A state quarterfinals.
Perfectly capable of slashing to the basket for layups or dishing it off to her teammates for open shots, Wray was also a proficient 3-point shooter. She shot 47.5% from behind the arc to pace Bunker Hill’s offensive attack.
Finley Lefevers, Hickory
Voted as the top player in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference, Lefevers also landed on the All-District 10 Second Team after leading the Red Tornadoes in scoring at 17.5 points per game. The senior wing averaged 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game as well, and she will continue her basketball career at Queens University of Charlotte next season.
Grace Loftin, Newton-Conover
A do-it-all type player, Loftin averaged a double-double of 15.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the defending 2A state champions, who began the season with 15 straight wins before losing in the second round of the playoffs. A member of the All-District 10 Second Team and the All-South Fork 2A Conference squad, the senior forward also finished with 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per contest.
Cassidy Geddes, Newton-Conover
Last season’s Catawba County Girls Freshman of the Year, Geddes took on an even larger role for the Red Devils during the 2020-21 campaign. The sophomore guard, who joined the aforementioned Lefevers and Loftin on the All-District 10 Second Team while also earning South Fork 2A Conference player of the year honors, was Newton-Conover’s leading scorer at 17.4 points per game while also pacing the team in steals (5.4 per game) and assists (3.5 per game), as well as pulling down 4.8 rebounds per contest.
Alexis Wolgemuth, Fred T. Foard
Wolgemuth was a scoring machine once again, finishing as Catawba County’s top scorer — male or female — at 22.5 points per game a year after finishing second to only current Rutgers University forward Chyna Cornwell, who was last year’s Catawba County Girls Player of the Year. The junior guard also pulled down 5.4 rebounds per game while dishing out 4.3 assists per contest en route to a spot on the All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference team.
GIRLS FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Damireona Burch, Bunker Hill
No Freshman of the Year was selected on the boys’ side this season due to a lack of candidates, but Burch was the clear winner of this award. During her freshman campaign with the Bears, the 5-foot-11 center scored 9.7 points per game to go with 6.8 rebounds per contest, helping Bunker Hill win the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference and make a deep state playoff run.
GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR
Lee Swanson, Bunker Hill
In his second year at the helm of the Bears’ girls basketball program, Swanson guided Bunker Hill to a 10-0 regular season and a 12-1 overall record. The Bears reached the third round of the 2A state playoffs before losing to eventual state runner-up West Stokes, earning 10 double-digit victories along the way. Since Swanson took over Bunker Hill’s girls hoops program after previously serving as the head coach of the boys’ team, the Bears are 33-9 overall and 21-3 in conference play with a pair of state playoff appearances.
BOYS ALL-COUNTY FIRST TEAM
Player of the Year
Zane Redmond, Newton-Conover
The Red Devils didn’t enjoy their best season team-wise, but Redmond was a force on both ends of the court during the 2020-21 season. As a result, the 6-foot-4 junior wing was selected as Catawba County’s top boys basketball player of the year.
The county’s leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, Redmond was also Newton-Conover’s leader in rebounds (7.7 per game), assists (3.6 per game), steals (2.9 per game) and blocks (1.8 per game). In 14 games for the Red Devils, he had four double-doubles and 10 double-figure scoring performances, including a career-high 39 points at Maiden on Jan. 22.
Redmond made 47% of his field goals and was also a threat from 3-point range, with his efforts landing him on the All-South Fork 2A Conference team. All of the aforementioned numbers were monumental improvements from what he accomplished during his sophomore season, as he at least doubled his outputs in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks.
Jayden Maddox, Hickory
Maddox had a breakout season for the Red Tornadoes, finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer at 11.2 points per game. The sophomore guard was also second in rebounds (5.0 per game) and assists (2.9 per game) while leading Hickory in steals (3.7 per game) on his way to a spot on the All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference team.
Ethan Hildebran, Bunker Hill
The only Catawba County player to make the all-district team — doing so as an All-District 10 Third Team performer — Hildebran’s 15.2 points per game were topped only by Redmond’s 16.5. Additionally, the All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference selection pulled down 3.5 rebounds per game to go with 1.4 assists and 1.0 steals per contest, and the senior guard also shot 43% from the field and 39% from 3-point range.
Dru McClough, Maiden
As a junior forward, McClough averaged 11.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils, earning himself a spot on the All-South Fork 2A Conference team. He had eight double-doubles in 14 contests and was a 55% field goal shooter who also dished out 3.0 assists per game, with a 27-point, 10-rebound performance against West Lincoln on Feb. 2 representing his standout game of the season.
Rico Walker, Hickory
Another sophomore sensation for the Red Tornadoes, Walker was a frontcourt player who averaged a team-best 11.3 points per game to go with 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals per contest, both ranking third on the squad. Following a season in which Hickory finished 10-2 overall and 8-1 in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play while reaching the second round of the 3A state playoffs, Walker was one of three Red Tornadoes to fill a spot on the all-conference squad.
BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR
Daniel Willis, Hickory
Willis took over a Red Tornadoes boys basketball program that is used to winning, and promptly led Hickory to another successful season on the hardwood. The Red Tornadoes finished 10-2 overall and 8-1 in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play en route to a league title, capping the regular season with nine straight double-digit victories after a season-opening loss at McDowell. Also the Northwestern 3A/4A coach of the year, Willis guided Hickory to the second round of the 3A state playoffs as a No. 3 seed.
GIRLS ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM
Olivia Ellis, Bunker Hill
The Bears’ second-leading scorer at 15.1 points per game, Ellis earned a spot on the All-District 10 Third Team for her efforts during the 2020-21 season. The junior guard was also an All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference honoree after making 45% of her 3-point attempts while averaging 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and she was chosen by the Bunker Hill coaching staff as the squad’s most improved player.
Logan Dutka, Bandys
Another stellar junior wing, Dutka filled the stat sheet on a nightly basis for the Trojans. In addition to averaging a team-high 15.6 points per game, the All-South Fork 2A Conference performer also pulled down 8.8 rebounds per contest to go with 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game for a Bandys team that finished above .500 for the third consecutive season.
Maggie Andrews, Maiden
An All-South Fork 2A Conference selection, Andrews was the Blue Devils’ leading scorer at 16.4 points per game. Additionally, the senior guard was second on the team in rebounds (6.4 per game) and steals (3.6 per game) while registering the third-most assists (1.9 per game), shooting 42% from the field and 34% from 3-point range to finish first and second, respectively, in those categories.
Faith Isenhour, Bunker Hill
A steady presence for the Bears, Isenhour averaged 14.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The junior wing also dished out 5.2 assists per game on her way to an All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference selection, while her 2.1 steals and 1.7 blocks per contest showed that she’s more than just an offensive threat.
Aysha Short, Hickory
One of five senior starters for a Red Tornadoes group that reached the 3A West Regional title game, Short finished second on the team at 11.7 points per game. Not only that, but the 5-foot-8 wing also finished with 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game for a Hickory squad that won three straight road games in the playoffs before falling in the state semifinals, earning herself a spot on the All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference team in the process.
BOYS ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM
Jackson Mullins, Newton-Conover
The second Red Devil named to the All-South Fork 2A Conference team, Mullins averaged 12.9 points per game during the 2020-21 campaign, with his 37 made 3-pointers representing the highest total among Newton-Conover players. The senior guard also finished with 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game while scoring in double figures in all but three games.
Chris Culliver, Maiden
During his first season as a Blue Devil, Culliver showed off the same athleticism he displayed as a freshman at Bandys. The sophomore guard and All-South Fork 2A Conference selection scored 13.0 points per game to go with 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals per contest while shooting 55% from the field, and he scored a career-high 26 points against Lake Norman Charter on Jan. 12.
Izaiah Morgan, Maiden
Morgan was a consistent performer for the Blue Devils, scoring 11.3 points per game to go with 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. In addition to his work on the inside, the senior 6-foot-6 forward also shot 34% from 3-point range while averaging a near double-double of 14.8 points and 9.2 rebounds over the final 10 games of his high school career.
Dayton Anderson, St. Stephens
The only All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference performer for the Indians, Anderson scored 9.3 points per game as a sophomore wing. He also pulled down 4.2 rebounds and dished out 2.0 assists while shooting a solid 38% from the field — numbers that are particularly impressive for an underclassman that still has a chance to improve dramatically over the next two seasons.
Kaliq Ramseur, Bunker Hill
Senior guard Ramseur averaged 8.1 points per game for the Bears during the 2020-21 season, shooting 36% from the field and 33% from 3-point range. The All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference selection also dished out 7.6 assists per game to go with 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game for a Bears squad that surpassed its win total from the previous season despite playing 15 fewer games.
GIRLS ALL-COUNTY THIRD TEAM
Macy Rummage, Bandys
Like her teammate Dutka, Rummage is capable of filling the stat sheet in any given contest, and the All-South Fork 2A Conference selection did just that plenty of times during the 2020-21 season. As if her 11.2 points per game weren’t noteworthy enough, the junior guard also led the Trojans in assists (2.7 per game) and steals (3.4 per game) while pulling down 3.4 rebounds per game as well.’
Lainee Hentschel, Maiden
Speaking of filling the stat sheet, Hentschel is another player who did so time and time again, which led to her making the All-South Fork 2A Conference team. The Blue Devils’ second-leading scorer at 10.2 points per game, the senior guard also dished out a team-high 6.2 assists per game and came up with a team-best 3.8 steals per contest while pulling down 4.8 rebounds per game and finishing as one of three Maiden players with at least 10 3-pointers made.
Emma Fox, Newton-Conover
The third and final Red Devils player to land on the All-South Fork 2A Conference squad, Fox had big shoes to fill during the 2020-21 season while serving as the program’s first starting center in the post-Chyna Cornwell era. The 6-foot-4 junior ultimately acquitted herself quite well, averaging 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for the unbeaten conference champions.
Carley West, Fred T. Foard
A vital member of the Tigers’ roster, West finished her high school career by averaging a double-double of 11.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. The senior forward, one of three captains along with teammates Alexis Wolgemuth and Samaria Tipps, also finished with 1.4 steals per game on her way to earning All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference honorable mention accolades.
Samaria Tipps, Fred T. Foard
After filling a spot on Catawba County’s All-Freshman Team a season ago, Tipps averaged 10.5 points per game for the Tigers in 2020-21 to land on the Third Team this year. The sophomore guard, an All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference selection, also averaged 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game while helping Alexis Wolgemuth run the show for a Fred T. Foard squad that finished 7-4 and just missed making the 2A state playoffs.
BOYS ALL-COUNTY THIRD TEAM
Lane Essary, Fred T. Foard
Despite a winless 2020-21 season, the Tigers received strong play from Essary throughout. Also a standout for Fred T. Foard’s baseball squad, the junior All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference honoree averaged a team-high 14.7 points per game during basketball season, where he was a threat from both inside and outside the arc.
Landan Maddox, Hickory
Like his younger brother, Jayden, junior guard Landan Maddox was an important piece of the puzzle for the Red Tornadoes. The All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference selection scored 8.1 points per game to go with 4.2 rebounds and a team-high 3.8 assists per contest, also finishing with 3.3 steals per game for a Hickory team that won a conference championship.
Maverick Davis, Newton-Conover
A senior guard for the Red Devils, Davis was both a leader and a capable scorer. One of three Newton-Conover players to average double figures in scoring, he finished with 10.6 points per game to go with 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest, scoring at least eight points in 11 of 14 contests while finishing with double-digit points on seven occasions.
Zane McPherson, St. Stephens
The Indians’ leading scorer, McPherson averaged 11.3 points per game as a senior wing. Additionally, he pulled down 3.1 rebounds and dished out 1.3 assists per contest while serving as a proficient shooter from the inside, behind the 3-point arc and at the free-throw line, finishing with a career-high 28 points and knocking down a career-best eight 3-pointers in a 20-point victory over Alexander Central on Jan. 12.
Kaden Robinson, Bunker Hill
An honorable mention on the All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference team, Robinson scored 11.1 points per game for the Bears while also pulling down 6.4 rebounds per contest. With 1.8 steals per game, the junior wing also provided a spark on the defensive end for a squad that finished with a .500 record under first-year head coach Anthony Church.
GIRLS ALL-COUNTY HONORABLE MENTION
Camryn Bryant, Bunker Hill
A senior All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference performer, Bryant finished with 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while serving as what head coach Lee Swanson called “the glue of our team.”
Joselin Turner, St. Stephens
A sophomore guard for the Indians who landed on the All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference team, Turner averaged 7.2 points, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
Kellen Morin, Hickory
The Red Tornadoes’ third and final representative on the All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference squad, Morin scored 9.1 points per game as a senior center to go with 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 assists per contest.
Marley Mingus, Maiden
An important inside presence for the Blue Devils, Mingus averaged 8.1 points per game as a senior to go with a team-high 8.4 rebounds per contest along with 1.6 steals and 1.2 assists per game.
Davoney Dellinger, Fred T. Foard
Dellinger was the Tigers’ fourth-leading scorer behind their three captains at 9.8 points per game, and the freshman guard also averaged 1.1 rebounds and 1.0 steal per contest.
Cailyn “Marty” Huggins, Bandys
The Trojans’ senior center, Huggins scored 9.2 points per game and pulled down 5.4 rebounds per contest to go with 1.4 steals per game.
DaLesha Linebarger, Bunker Hill
Another member of a talented Bears lineup, Linebarger was an All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference honorable mention performer after averaging 4.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
BOYS ALL-COUNTY HONORABLE MENTION
Nick Everhart, Hickory
A beast for the Red Tornadoes in the low post, Everhart registered 7.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per contest as a junior, pacing Hickory in each of the latter two categories.
Justin Simpkins, Fred T. Foard
Although he only averaged 2.6 points per game during his senior season with the Tigers, Simpkins’ all-around play was enough to garner him a spot on the All-Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference honorable mention list.
EJ Habschied, Bandys
The Trojans’ leading scorer at 8.9 points per game, junior guard Habschied also pulled down the third-most rebounds on the squad at 3.1 per contest and dished out more assists than any other Bandys player at 2.1 per game.
JI Ikard, St. Stephens
Despite being limited to seven games, junior guard Ikard was a difference maker for the Indians, averaging 12.0 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while finishing with double-figure points on five occasions.
Josh Barkley, St. Stephens
A junior center for the Indians, Barkley averaged 6.8 points per game and was the team’s leading rebounder at 7.6 rebounds per game; he also dished out 1.2 assists per contest.
Quentin Hoover, Bunker Hill
Hoover shot 51% from the field as a junior wing for the Bears, scoring 8.6 points per game to go with 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
Harrison Fulbright, Bunker Hill
Fulbright made 64% of his field goal attempts for the Bears as a senior forward, including 5 of 6 3-point tries, finishing with 8.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest.
Josh McKinney is the sports editor for the Hickory Daily Record.