Unity Christian girls’ basketball coach Melanie Thornbury and the Lady Lions took home the top awards for the second straight year Tuesday at the 33rd annual Northwest Georgia Tip-Off Club banquet at Berry College’s Krannert Center.
This year, Unity Christian shared the honors with Northwest Whitfield.
The Lady Lions and the Lady Bruins were each named the 2018-2019 high school girls’ teams of the year by the group, while Thornbury and Northwest head coach Bob Williams shared the honor of high school girls’ coach of the year.
The boys’ high school team and coach of the year was awarded to Lafayette and head coach Hank Peppers.
Thornbury led her Lady Lions to a sixth straight region championship and a quarterfinal appearance in the GICAA state tournament.
Rome High’s Caleb Byrd shared the boys' Most Valuable Player of the Year award with LaFayette’s Alex Kelehear, and Jada Griffin of Northwest Whitfield was picked as the girls’ MVP.
Byrd helped carry the Wolves to second round of the GHSA Class 5A state playoffs and was a huge offensive weapon for the Wolves. The junior scored his 1,000th career point this past season and had a career game against Class 6A Forest Park when he put up 51 points.
Milestone awards were given to Darlington girls’ coach Hazel Hall and Georgia Highlands men’s coach Phil Gaffney. Hall picked up her 400th career win during her first year as the Lady Tigers' head coach, and Gaffney won his 500th game.
Chattooga’s Cash Allen won the club’s first ever Sportsmanship Award, and Carey Winkler was awarded the Basketball Official of the Year award. Johnny Farmer from Fannin County was awarded the Graham Woodell Award. Farmer retired in 2011 with a final tally of 577 wins, 239 losses and two state titles.
College players of the year honored were Berry’s Jana Morning and Elijah Hirsh, Shorter’s Jasmine Gaines and Tre Bonner, Georgia Highlands’ Ciara Thompson and Khalyl Waters , and Georgia Northwestern’s Tori Harvey and Jarret Gill.