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PREP BASKETBALL: Area players honored at Tip-Off Club banquet

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With the high school basketball season coming to a close, players and teams are receiving accolades for their hard work on the court this season.

The Northwest Georgia Tip-Off Club recognized some of the area’s top basketball players last Thursday at its annual Team of the Year Banquet at Berry College’s Krannert Center.

Earning awards in the girls’ division were Model for Team of the Year and head coach Sally Echols for Coach of the Year. The Lady Devils advanced to the Class AA Final Four this season, winning the Region 7-AA championship for the third straight year.

Junior center Victaria Saxton was named co-High School MVP of the Year along with Darlington’s Anna Claire Atha. Atha helped lead the Lady Tigers to the Class A Private Elite Eight in a late-season run in her senior year.

For the boys’ awards, Chattooga was named Team of the Year with Indians head coach Jared Groce earning Coach of the Year honors. Chattooga won the 7-AA title and advanced to the Elite Eight.

Seniors Jay Shropshire from Chattooga and Chapin Rierson from Calhoun were named the High School MVPs of the Year. Rierson and the Yellow Jackets made it to the Class 3A Final Four this season after winning the Region 6-3A championship.

Shropshire is currently in the final round of voting for the 2017 American Family High School Slam Dunk Fan Vote. People can vote for him at once each day through Friday with the winner going to Phoenix, Arizona, to compete in the nationally televised competition.

Along with the MVPs, several local high school players were also named to the club’s Team of the Year. These include Livia Skinner and Drew Cummings, Armuchee; Ziyah Underwood, Chattooga; Taylor Roberts and Kenon Dixon, Coosa; Chynah Johnson and Jamond Davis, Georgia School for the Deaf; Jackson Lively, Model; Tamiya Griffin and Dalton Melton, Pepperell; Taya Gibson and Nemo Reddish, Rome High; and Amelia Hoyt and Josiah Petro, Unity Christian.

Also honored at the banquet was special guest and longtime basketball official Louis “Gigi” DeAngelus, who refereed for nearly 40 years in Northwest Georgia, as well as former Trion and Chattooga basketball coach Lamar Turner.

College Players of the Year were Valerie McClure and Blake Jones, Berry College; Taylor Adams and Tyler Murray, Shorter University; and Pam Diokpara and Kyvon Davenport, Georgia Highlands College.