The Florida Dairy Farmers awarded Sagemont’s Adam Ross its Class 3A Coach of the Year for leading Broward’s first undefeated boys’ basketball season and American Heritage’s Charles Stephenson its 5A Coach of the Year on Thursday.
Pines Charter 6-5 swingman Haanif Cheatham, an ESPN four-star recruit, won 6A Player of the Year and Heritage 6-9 center Drake Lamont took 5A Player of the Year.
Cheatham, who averaged 26.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists, highlighted by four triple doubles, got the nod over Norland senior guard Zach Johnson, who beat Cheatham head to head in the Class 6A regional semifinals and went on to win his second consecutive Class 6A state final four MVP.
“I was kind of surprised, I thought a senior would get it this year,” Cheatham said. “I was kind of shocked. Once I heard the news, it put an exclamation point on my season.”
Ross and Stephenson faced similar challenges in getting talented teams to buy into team goals geared toward a state championship.
The result was Ross incorporating newcomers Lance Crawford, 6-4 Connecticut commit Prince Ali and 6-11 UCLA signee G.G. Goloman with holdovers Jordan Cooper and Joe Kirby into a Lions squad (33-0) that ran the table.
Finishing as Florida’s lone undefeated team earned Sagemont a jump to No. 4 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 poll and a berth in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament in New York from April 3 through April 5.
Stephenson returned a month after recovering from surgery to help the Patriots (25-7) capture a state title that had proved elusive after two previous state final-four visits that came up short.
With Lamont, who averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game, providing the lone inside presence the Patriots showed their mettle with three regional road playoff victories before overwhelming Lakewood 98-70 in the Class 5A state championship game.
“A lot of people said that’s all I had to do, was drive the bus,” Stephenson said. “That it’s all the talent I had. But you still had to manage those egos. Our team had to understand its all about us and not about you. They come off the AAU circuit touted as No. 1 players and then have to play in a team concept, makes it different. They did a great job in it.”
•Late Wednesday - Spanish River 12, University School 6:
US: Zack Miot 2 goals. Danny Eisdorfer 2 goals. Raul Mendy 5 CT’s, 7 ground balls.
•Cardinal Gibbons d. Pine Crest 25-23, 25-23, 25-11:
Corry Short 21 kills, 8 digs, 4 aces, 11 points, 3 blocks. Jake Leventhal 30 assists, 5 digs, 3 aces, 6 points, block.
•Belen d. St. Brendan 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22:
Andres Perez 17 kills, 5 blocks, 4 aces. Johnathan Alvarez 5 kills, 3 aces. Michael Diaz Silveira 7 kills, 9 aces.
•Archbishop McCarthy d. Chamimade-Madonna 25-23, 26-24, 25-21:
Michael Moreiras 9 points, 18 kills. David Maniglia 8 points, 12 kills, 3 blocks. Joe Figueroa 16 points, 38 assists.
•Late Wednesday - Columbus d. Belen 25-18, 19-25, 26-24, 25-21:
Christian Sires 14 kills. Nicholas Diaz 14 kills. Peter Cancio 12 kills, 2 blocks. COL 7-3.
•South Dade 7, Brito 0:
WP: Erik Manoah (5-1). Top performers: Erik Manoah 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 BB, 9 K's, 2-3, 2 doubles. Artie Paula 2-4, Triple.
•Reagan 5, Columbus 4:
WP: Carlos Mancilla, 5 2/3 IP, 4 runs. SV: Steven Feierabend. Top performers: Raul Cortes 2-3, double, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, SB.
•Arlington C. Day School 6, Pines Charter 3:
LP: Anthony Garcia (1-1). Top performers: Danny Rodriguez 2-4, 2 RBI. Brett Alayon 3.1 IP, No runs, 3 hits allowed. Alex Monge 2-4.
•Pines Charter 4, Clearwater School 3:
WP: Derick Garcia (5-1), Complete game, 9 K's. Top performers: Danny Rodriguez 1-3, HR. Jake Jacobs 2-4, RBI.