Vols honor hoops aces

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By Robert Howey

KERSHAW - Andrew Jackson High School recently honored its hoops standouts at an awards cookout at the Lancaster County Class AA School.

Volunteers' senior Jonathan Belk, who led Lancaster County boys teams in scoring with a 14.5 average, was presented the AJ boys MVP Award. Belk also averaged 5.9 rebounds a game this season.

"Jonathan had a good, solid year for us," AJ coach Dale Reeves said. "He was a good leader for us as our only returning starter this season.

"He really improved his game, especially on defense," he said. "We're going to miss him."

Belk opened the AJ season, hitting 25 points against Lancaster High School and capped the campaign with a 20-point effort in a playoff loss at Dillon.

"Jonathan opened strong and finished well and in between he was pretty solid for us," Reeves said.

Belk, an all-region selection, shared the spotlight with sophomore forward Ryan Miller, who was named the Best Offensive Player.

Miller averaged 12.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds, tops in the county.

AJ senior forward Cedric Wright was presented the Best Defensive Player Award.

The team's Coaches Award was presented to senior Rashawn Miller.

The Vols, who finished 8-14 and tied for runner-up honors in Conference VIII-AA with a 4-4 record, earned a postseason bid and fell to Dillon in the first round of the Class AA Lower State basketball playoffs.

The Lady Vols also honored their top players, with senior Erica Ealy taking MVP laurels.

Ealy, an all-region pick, netted 12 points a game and nine rebounds for the 7-14 AJ girls, who earned a playoff bid.

Senior Caroline Phillips, who averaged eight points per game, received the team's Orange and White Award.

Senior point-guard McKenzie Stribling, the team's veteran playmaker, was presented the Coaches Award. Farmer noted Stribling averaged five assists per game.

Karmen Twitty, a senior forward, earned the Lady Vols Award.

"Karmen did those things that nobody really notices a great deal, but they mean so much in the outcome of the game," Farmer said. "She drew the toughest assignment and handled it well for us.

"Karmen was also our second-leading rebounder with an average of seven a game," he said. "In what we asked her to do this season, she responded real well."

Contact sports editor Robert Howey at 283-1157