Drew senior Lakiah Sims was named the Region 4-AAAAA Player of the Year after averaging a double-double this season for the region champion Titans. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
ALL-REGION 4-AAAAA TEAM
Player of the Year: Lakiah Sims, Drew
First team: Cassidy Williams, McIntosh; Katie Wilson, Starr’s Mill; Tynesha Parks, Mount Zion; Jada Coggins, Whitewater; Jada Hargrove, Drew; Breasia McElrath, Forest Park; Kelsee Arnold, Mundy’s Mill; Danielle Garcia, Starr’s Mill; Tiffany Wilson, Forest Park,; Kaeyln Dugger, Whitewater.
Second team: Kanisha Tharpe, Forest Park; Treva Hickey, Union Grove; Anna Watkins, Creekside; Katie Buck, Starr’s Mill; Ebonee Echols, Northgate; Christine Cerezola, McIntosh; Tyeisha Juhan, Mount Zion; Kristin Campbell, Alisha Tolbert, Mundy’s Mill.
Honorable mention: Danielle Ross, Whitewater; Bradleigh Hooper, Ola; Tamecia Blue, Forest Park; Shaunteria Gayden, Drew; Joi McCoughtry, Creekside; Deonna Williams, Union Grove; Alexis McDougald, Mount Zion; Katie Mitchell, Northgate; Maddie O’Rourke, McIntosh; Rena Jenkins, Whitewater; Jordan Barnett, Whitewater; Timaya Holloway, Drew.
Player of the Year: Phil Cofer, Whitewater
First team: Ed Jones, Creekside; Will Washington, McIntosh; Jeremiah Vrundy, Starr’s Mill; Maleek Taylor, Drew; Jay Shorts, Union Grove.
Second team: Tevin Henry, Creekside; Jordan Lyons, McIntosh; Coleman Seabolt, Ola; Timothy Pope, Forest Park; Paul Miller, Mount Zion; Phil Garner, Whitewater.
RIVERDALE — Coming into the season, Lakiah Sims knew she had to step up her game because Drew had a young team.
As the lone returning senior starter, Sims had to provide leadership both on and off the court if the Titans were going to reach the state playoffs.
Sims averaged 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Titans to the Region 4-AAAAA title. Teammate Jada Hargrove also made the first team all-region team that was chosen by the league’s 11 coaches.
Hargrove, a sophomore, averaged 11 points and four steals this season to help the Titans to a 22-3 regular-season record. On Friday, Drew won its first state playoff game in school history with a win over Evans.
“It is a great honor,” Sims said. “My whole focus this season was to help this team win. I knew I had to be a leader because we had a lot of young players.”
Sims’ coach, Candence Jackson, said the recognition is deserved.
“It goes without saying that she deserved it,” Jackson said. “She is a very dedicated player that deserves all the accolades she gets. It just shows that coaches in our region really respected her.”
Other Clayton County players that made the first team were Tynesha Parks of Mount Zion and Forest Park teammates Breasia McElrath and Tiffany Wilson. Kelsee Arnold round out the 10-player first team.
Parks averaged 12.9 points and 3.1 assists per game for the Bulldogs, who reached the first round of the playoffs. McElrath averaged a team-leading 10.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Wilson, a UNC-Ashville signee, averaged 9.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Arnold averaged 15.3 points, five assists, two steals while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range for the Tigers.
Four players from the county were named to the 10-team second team.
On the boy’s side, Maleek Taylor of Drew was the lone player from the county to make the five-man first team. Taylor averaged 23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for the Titans, who compiled a 17-6 record. Drew lost in the quarterfinals of the region tournament after being the top seed on its side of the subregion.
Making the second team from the county was Timothy Pope of Forest Park and Paul Miller of Mount Zion. Pope averaged 13.4 points, four rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for the Panthers while Miller chipped in 18 points, five rebounds and two assists per game for Mount Zion, which lost 64-51 to Northside-Warner Robins in the first round of the state playoffs.