All-Banner: Parker makes his mark
BENNINGTON >> LSU's Ben Simmons and Mount Anthony senior Jonas Parker have a few things in common.
They both played one season and are moving on to the next level.
The 6-foot-6 Parker, who along with his twin brother Josh, came into the Bennington school district this fall, was a dominant force who led the Patriots to the Division I semifinal this season.
In fact, his 465 points — Parker averaged a double-double this season, 20.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game — puts him in the top 35 on Mount Anthony's all-time scoring list.
To put his season in perspective, Parker's scoring total is fourth for a single-season, behind only Dave Christie (1990-91), A.J. Mahar (2003-04) and Jared Callanan (2003-04).
"Jonas was super-coachable and it's a treat when your better players are the hardest workers," said MAU coach Dan Sleeman. "He's under the spotlight as a statistical leader, more often than not, he competed and that's priceless."
Parker, who came to Mount Anthony from Middletown High School in New York state, gave the Patriots a dimension they hadn't had for a few seasons — a dominant big man.
"Jonas was our last line of defense and it allowed us to play and not get hurt against dribble penetration," Sleeman said. "He protected the rim, but he also started the break for us."
And as many teams found out this season, if Parker started the break, he'd likely finish it with a slam at the other end.
"He has such an ability to gobble up misses and he can bail out the perimeter guys," Sleeman said.
After the Patriots lost to Rutland at Keefe Gym, Parker — usual a quiet, lead by example type — was vocal to the team. Sleeman said that happened several times during the season.
"It's a nice combination to have, someone who leads by example, but isn't afraid to be vocal," Sleeman said.
Burr and Burton Academy coach Dave Shehadi, whose team faced and lost to Mount Anthony both times this season, said that Parker was a very tough matchup.
"You're not going to shut down those guys," said Shehadi, referring to Parker and Tyler Champagne. "You just don't want them to have a career day against you."
Tyler Champagne, senior, Mount Anthony
Champagne was the vocal leader for the Patriots this season as they went 19-4 overall, the team's best season since 2010-11. The 6-foot-4 point guard was that rare talent that could get to the rim and through a defense and step outside and drain shots easily from 20, 25 or 30 feet. There were a couple he hit this season from Steph Curry range.
"Tyler is a great story, he's shown different strengths every year he's played," said MAU coach Dan Sleeman. "Now, in his senior year, he put it all together. That's a tribute to all his hard work."
Champagne was second in scoring at 13.8 points per game and led the way with 3.6 assists a game. His 318 points this season gave him 723 for his career, 14th all-time in MAU history.
"As a junior, Tyler shot 14 percent from [three-point range]," Sleeman said. "This year it was a strength. He was our Peyton Manning, our quarterback on the floor. He had the ability to pace the game like a good point guard does."
In his junior year, Champagne was forced to play much more inside the paint. Over the next season, he learned how to become a point guard and do it well.
"He was the MVP of our team and that's why," Sleeman said. "He was A-plus for us all season. So many times when we needed a big basket, Tyler was the one getting it done."
Connor McCart, senior, Hoosick Falls
Despite being the focus of most teams' defenses, McCart was the second-highest scorer in the area with 18.8 points per game, including a career-high 46 points against Granville to help coach Mike Lilac win his 300th career game in December.
Out of 22 games, McCart went for double-digits in 18 of them, leading Hoosick Falls to the second round of the Class B playoffs.
Damon Burgess, senior, Mount Anthony
Burgess was part of the Patriots' Big Three, averaging 11.8 points a game and hitting 35 percent of his shots from distance. The senior was consistent, something that gave MAU coach Dan Sleeman confidence to look Burgess' way.
"He was always good for that one big quarter," Sleeman said. "He was more aggressive early, looking for shots. Then against CVU (in the playoffs) he just went off (scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter and 21 overall)."
Because of that explosiveness, teams had to guard him, opening the lane for other teammates. And on the other end, he had a nose for the ball, finishing fourth on the team in steals with 36. You couldn't foul him either as Burgess was 41-of-47 from the line, 87 percent.
Carter Vickers, junior, Burr and Burton Academy
Vickers led the way for the Bulldogs, who finished 12-10 and reached the quarterfinals in Division I. Vickers led BBA in scoring with 15.3 points per game, shooting 40 percent overall and 35 percent from three-point range.
"He had such a solid year, he works so hard," said BBA coach Dave Shehadi. "He's such a terrific athlete and he has good size for a guard in our league."
More than just a scorer, Vickers also had the toughest defensive assignment on the floor most nights.
Vickers had some of his best games against the top teams in the division, including two 20-plus-point efforts against eventual D-I semifinalist MAU.
"He's really deserving of this for his play at both ends of the floor," Shehadi said.
Remington Hickey, senior, Hoosick Falls
Hickey was one of the few returning players for the Panthers this season and he became a major part of the offense. Hickey was a strong three-point shooter and averaged 12.3 points per game, but he also was a good rebounder with six per game and he shared the basketball, averaging three assists.
Hickey, a three-sport athlete, was second on the team with 271 points and was the most profilic outside shooter for the Panthers.
Nathan Mattison, senior, Arlington
Arlington coach Chris Taft described his senior as the best and most skilled player for the Eagles this season. Mattison averaged better than 13 points a game.
"He produced a lot of offense and defense for us," Taft said. "He gained a lot of confidence as the season went on."
Mattison was the top rebounder, Taft said he was close to averaging a double-double on the year.
"He protected the rim for us, he could score outside, inside, rebound, play off the dribble," Taft said. "His inside game was very strong."
Alex Mendez, senior, Hoosick Falls
Mendez' game evolved this season, turning from more of an outside shooter to someone who could get to the basket and through a defense in the tough Wasaren League.
Mendez averaged 11 points a game, along with three rebounds and three assists.
Mendez was second in three-point shooting, with 43 makes from beyond the arc and he also took the focus off McCart with season-highs of 24 against Mechanicville and Stillwater, along with a 22-point effort against Greenwich and another 20-point effort against Mechanicville.
Griffin Stalcup, junior, BBA
Stalcup 'quietly' racked up a double-double for the season, scoring 11 points and getting 10 rebounds a game, an amazing stat for a guard that's 6-foot-2.
According to BBA coach Dave Shehadi, there was nothing quiet about Stalcup's rebounding ability.
"He's a guard playing underneath the basket," Shehadi said. "He does a phenomenal job on the boards and he's strong physically and he has a lot of heart."
He also averaged 2.8 assists and led the team with 2.3 steals per game.
Daniel Genevick, senior, Cambridge
Genevick started the season with a 30-point effort against Berlin and continued to roll throughout the Indians' season. He averaged 14.4 points per game, fourth overall in the area.
He scored a season-high 31 points against Mechanicville and 28 in the team's second game against Berlin. Genevick was Cambridge's most consistent player with 14 double-digit games.
Matthew Anderson, junior, MAU
Anderson was a starter for the Patriots, played some point guard at the end of the year for coach Dan Sleeman's team and is expected to play a huge role next season.
Anderson averaged just under seven points a night, was second on the team in rebounding, second in blocks, just three behind Parker and he was third on the team in steals.
"A strength of his was his ability to block shots and to play on the back line of the zone," Sleeman said. "He was one of our better rebounders in critical moments and clutch from the foul line."
Keyshawn King, sophomore, Arlington
King came into his own in 2015-16, becoming a big force for the next few years for the Eagles.
"He's picking up things so quick, the sky's the limit for him," said coach Chris Taft. "His effort is endless. Even if he's not scoring or putting up stats, he's still putting the effort in."
King didn't score a ton of points (around eight per game) but had an effect in the rebounding game, including one night this season where he had 17 boards.
"He's benefitted so much from the summer program and the experience he got this year will be huge," Taft said.
Ryan O'Neill, junior, MAU
If anyone could have complained about losing playing time this season, O'Neill was the guy. But he took all the changes for the Patriots in stride.
"He was the ultimate team player," said coach Dan Sleeman. "He always tried to find his opportunity. He knew his role and wasn't afraid of the bright lights."
O'Neill had an uneven schedule, playing a few minutes one night, then not at all for two games, then a few minutes the game after that.
"He didn't always play, but he was a spark," Sleeman said. "He did that [in a win] against Hoosick Falls. If he's not in it beforehand, that doesn't happen. He was always ready to go."
Jared Lacoste, junior, Arlington
Lacoste might not have been the highest scoring or rebounding player for the Eagles this season, but according to coach Chris Taft, he was Arlington's most important player.
"Jared was the guy at the helm and he put the entire team on his back in the playoffs against Danville," Taft said, referring the Division IV quarterfinal that Arlington had to come back to get into overtime. "He scored 25 points that day. He's good at ball pressure and handling the fast break and I know he'll do even more next year."
Jake Nicholson, freshman, BBA
Nicholson is the only freshman on this list and BBA coach Dave Shehadi said that's not an accident.
"I brought his up for a reason," Shehadi said. "He can play the two or three and he has vital skills to be a point guard."
Nicholson's breakout game came against Fair Haven in January, when he scored 15 points, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Shawn Lemieux, junior, Cambridge
Lemieux was third in scoring for the Indians on the year and its most profilic 3-point shooter. In half of the team's games, Lemieux ended up in double-digits, including a stretch of four games in a row to end the season.
He looks to be a big part of coach Tim Oglivie's offense next season.
Guy Milliman, sophomore, Hoosick Falls
Milliman averaged 6.6 points per game before injuring his hand partway through the season, but he made his varsity count, scoring a career-high 16 points in the opening game of the year against Hoosic Valley. Milliman will be tasked with running the offense next season as older players graduate.
Bryce Little, sophomore, BBA
Little played in all 22 games for the Bulldogs, starting a handful of them. He averaged just over four points a contest, but showed that he wasn't afraid to shoot the basketball from deep. Between Nicholson and Little, the Bulldogs have a solid young core for the next couple of seasons.
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