Before we break out the baseball gloves and bats, let’s put a bow on the 2018-19 boys basketball season with my annual Greene County Messenger Boys Hoops Teams.
West Greene was once again the lone county team to qualify for the postseason, as the Pioneers fell to St. Joseph, 78-45, in the first round of the Class A playoffs. West Greene has garnered a playoff berth for a school-record four years in a row.
Carmichaels had the most wins in the county with 11, followed by nine from Waynesburg Central. Jefferson-Morgan was one game out of a playoff spot in Section 2-A, while Mapletown broke a lengthy losing skid this winter.
A lot of kids have stepped up this season and a lot of individuals have really increased their scoring output from previous years.
As a writer’s note, this team is not in any way associated with the Greene County Athletic Directors winter sports team. They are two different teams and are chosen differently. The All-GCM squads are based on what you do on the court this season.
So let’s start this year’s team with the POTY.
Player of the Year — Lucas Garber, Waynesburg Central: Garber has been in the Raiders’ starting lineup since his freshman year and in his first two years at the varsity level he was known for his jump shot.
In his junior campaign, Garber added another element to his game and was more of a slasher for Waynesburg this winter. His aggressiveness and strength were on display on the court every night, as the Raiders faced off against some tough opposition in Section 3-AAAA.
The 6-foot-3 Garber led Waynesburg in scoring in all but one game this year. He reached the 30-point mark four times this winter against the likes of Belle Vernon (39), Elizabeth Forward (38), South Park (37) and Uniontown (32).
Garber was the seventh leading scorer in all of the WPIAL with 23.5 points per game. He was also a solid defender and has excellent court vision. Garber will look to lead the Raiders to the postseason next year.
All-GCM First Team
Matthew Barrish, Carmichaels: The senior guard once again made the GCM boys hoops team and capped off a brilliant career with the Mikes with a stellar senior season. Barrish reached double-figures 11 times this winter and handled most of the ball-handling duties for Carmichaels.
Tahj Jacobs, Jefferson-Morgan: Relatively unknown, this freshman guard exploded onto the scene this season and was a factor from the beginning of the year. Jacobs averaged 15.9 points a game this winter and has a well-balanced game with a quality jumper and good moves to the rim.
Richard Bortz, Waynesburg Central: The 5-foot-10 junior guard elevated his game this year and was a consistent secondary scorer for the Raiders. Bortz averaged close to 12 points per game and was relentless on defense with active hands and quick feet.
Nathan Brudnock, West Greene: The versatile senior, which can play guard or forward, went over 1,000 career points this season and was the 17th player at West Greene to accomplish the scoring milestone. Brudnock, who averaged 16.5 points per game, was also strong on defense.
Al Cree, Carmichaels: The 6-foot-2 forward once again had a monster year with Carmichaels and was a dynamic scorer in the county. Cree averaged close to 17 points per game and reached double-figures for the Mikes 15 times, including 31 points against Benworth on Jan. 8.
All-GCM Second Team
Austin Crouse, West Greene: The senior guard was a reliable scorer and a consistent ball-handler for the Pioneers this season, while also playing with energy on defense.
Dylan Wilson, Carmichaels: For the second year in a row, Wilson is on the GCM second team and provided Carmichaels with points in the perimeter and also in the lane in his junior season.
Devin Stoneking, Jefferson-Morgan: As one of two seniors for the Rockets, Stoneking provided leadership and once again was one of the county’s best 3-point shooters.
Ryan Tuttle, Mapletown: The 6-foot-4 center dominated the inside for the Maples this year and really improved his post movements in the paint. He was also Mapletown’s top rebounder.
Ben Jackson, West Greene: Probably one of the most improved players in Greene County, Jackson gave the Pioneers an interior presence and averaged 16.6 points in his final six games.
All-GCM Third Team
Joey Reed, West Greene: Reed was a steady defender for West Greene and added a solid offensive game in his final year on the court for the Pioneers
Lance Stephenson, Mapletown: Stephenson was a consistent scorer for the Maples in the second half of the season and the sophomore was one of the most athletic guards in the area.
Jimmy Straight, Waynesburg Central: The 5-foot-10 senior guard may not have reached the box score on most nights, but was an excellent man-to-man defender for the Raiders.
Garrett Ponick, Carmichaels: Ponick had his best season for the Mikes in his senior year and provided valuable minutes down the stretch run for Carmichaels.
Elijah Saeson, Jefferson-Morgan: Saeson has excellent length for the Rockets and the junior forward was one the most consistent rebounders and interior scorers in the area this winter.
Chris King, Waynesburg Central: In his first year as a starter, King improved his overall game and showcased a lot of scoring touch for the Raiders with a solid jumper for a 6-foot-5 forward.