By Jeffery Armstrong
Eagle's Landing's loss in the state baseball playoffs last Saturday meant the end of high school sports in the Southern Crescent this year.
Another school year has come and gone and I, for one, will miss the sports teams. I enjoy going to games and seeing high school athletes play hard and with passion. In fact, I've enjoyed this year so much that I've decided to give out my very own personal end-of-the-year awards for this season. So here are the recipients of the first annual "Strong Arm Awards."
n Female athlete of the year: Kirby Copeland, Morrow basketball.
It's fitting that the first Strong Arm award ever would go to senior basketball/volleyball player Copeland. Kirby had her volleyball team in contention for a region title and led her basketball team to a region title this year. And oh by the way, she became the girls basketball team's all-time leading scorer. One of the hardest things I had to do was interview an extremely disappointed Copeland after Morrow lost to Bradwell Institute in the state playoffs.
n Male athlete of the year: Toney Douglas, Jonesboro basketball.
Toney was incredible this season. He shot the long range jumper with the ease of NBA player Ray Allen and he even got better on defense. The junior hit clutch shots and was almost automatic at the free-throw line. Toney would be the LeBron James of Georgia if he were 6-foot-8. Runner-up in this award goes to Stockbridge's Quin Humphrey, who led his basketball team to state for the first time in years.
n Coach of the year: Yolanda Jenkins, Morrow.
Jenkins gets this award because of her striking presence on the volleyball and basketball sidelines. Translation: she's a beautiful woman and will most likely get this award as long as she coaches and no other area coach wins a state title.
Why? Because I'm a man and these are MY awards! But she's more than just a pretty face: the 2002 volleyball team made state and the 2003 girls basketball team won the region title in a great game over Warner Robins.
n Best game of the year: This was tough, but I have to go with Jonesboro's 64-61 overtime victory over Lovejoy in the state basketball playoffs.
This game had everything: good shooting, defense, clutch plays and drama. It's too bad the game was played in Savannah.
n Best play(s) of the year: It's a tie between Henry County softball player Emily Oglesby's leaping catch against Jonesboro and Lovejoy point guard Josh Barker's "ankle-breaking" moves against Wayne County in the state playoffs.
Oglesby showed nice "hops" in left field to snag a shot that should've sailed over her head. That catch won the game for the Ladyhawks. Barker's crossover dribble was so deadly that Wayne County forward Chris Byrd backed up to the basket when he found himself guarding Barker late in the game. Everyone, including Barker and Byrd, got a good laugh off that.
Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.