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When the Indian Land Warriors captured the 2012-13 Region IV-AA basketball championship with a 10-0 record, few could recall IL’s last league hardwood crown.
Veteran Warriors’ fans and officials could not remember the last IL region title, some saying as far back as 30 years ago. Chances are few, who back the royal blue and gold, will forget the latest Warriors’ region title in IL’s banner hoops campaign.
Many made for the memorable season, which saw the Warriors advance to the Class AA Upper State semifinals before falling to Class AA power Keenan.
Warriors’ coach Nate Smith and freshman sensation Rakym Felder were key parts of IL’s special hoops season.
For their accomplishments, Smith was named The Lancaster News Coach of the Year for boys basketball and Felder is the Player of the Year.
Felder, the Region IV-AA Player of the Year, reaped Class AA All-State honors, averaging 21 points and five assists a game.
The Warriors’ MVP capped his season, netting 42 points in IL’s season-ending 86-76 playoff loss to No. 3 Keenan.
Smith called Felder’s season “outstanding.”
“He put in a great deal of work over the summer to be ready to contribute to our team in a big way,” Smith said. “There’s not many freshman who could come in and play the way he did. His hard work paid off. Rakym deserves his accolades, but this is a team honor and we all share in it. He will be the first to tell you our veteran players, especially our seniors, made a difference.”
Smith, the Region IV-AA Coach of the Year, was the guiding force, helping the Warriors capture their first league title since the early 1970s.
“Nate did a good job,” Buford coach Neil Couch said. “Indian Land made a deep run in the playoffs, and when you can go unbeaten in the region, that’s an outstanding season.”
Smith is assisted by Frank Barnes, Cliff White and Ricky Montgomery.
Two Warriors who were integral in IL’s success were senior guard Haydan Sawyer and freshman guard Darnell Rogers.
Sawyer, an all-region pick who reached the 1,000-point plateau this season, averaged 16 points, three rebounds and four assists a game. Sawyer shared the Warriors’ Offensive Player Award with Rogers.
Rogers, in his third season with IL, hit 18 points with five assists and three boards.
Andrew Jackson High School junior star Quadarius Fair is a first-team selection after averaging 17 points and 7.1 rebounds a game. Fair, the Volunteers’ MVP, reaped all-region honors and earned AJ’s Best Offensive Award.
Lancaster High School junior guard Deuce Dunlap, the Bruins’ MVP and an all-region pick, netted 16.5 points a game for the 12-13 Bruins.
Buford High School’s Kholby Pate completes the squad.
The Jackets’ all-region pick, Pate hit 12.8 points a game and had 3.3 rebounds for the Buford boys.
Second-team: Corey Bracey (BHS), Dustin Eddins (AJ), Lee McCall (IL), DeMarcus Montgomery (LHS), C.D. Pelham (LHS), Avalon Truesdale (AJ).
The coach of the year, player of the year and the all-county selections were made from nominations by the four county coaches.