In normal years, choosing ten players for an All-County basketball team would suffice. But the overall wealth of talent in Chatham County in the 2019-2020 season on the hardcourt made that virtually …
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In normal years, choosing ten players for an All-County basketball team would suffice. But the overall wealth of talent in Chatham County in the 2019-2020 season on the hardcourt made that virtually impossible. One only needs to wade through the results to discover that fact. Thus the Baker’s Dozen was formed, and I present to you the 2019-2020 Chatham News + Record Baker’s Dozen All-County Boys Basketball Team.
The latest edition of the All-County team features five players from Northwood, three each from Chatham Charter and Chatham Central, and two from Jordan-Matthews. It features talented guards, wing players and post players with talent that can run the floor, bang the boards, hit treys, and score off the dribble and transition. Simply put, depth-wise it is one of the best ever in the county.
In Pittsboro, coach Matthew Brown did a fabulous job as his Chargers came within minutes of beating a special 29-0 unbeaten Fayetteville Westover team to advance to the NCHSAA 3A State Championship game.
Coming into the season, Northwood was expected to be good and this was a proverbial “this is the year” club with all five members making the All-County team as seniors and in at least their third season at the varsity level.
Leading the way is Deuce Powell and Aaron Ross. The two are almost clones performance-wise in that they can do it all, with Ross being a bit more of an inside player and Powell more of an outside threat.
Powell averaged 14.8 per game and Ross 14.4 to lead the way in scoring for a Chargers team that had so many offensive weapons to provide points.
As far as Powell goes, who will ever forget one of the greatest finishes in Chatham County sports history when the senior guard heaved up a trey at the buzzer from the right sidelines off an inbounds pass from midcourt to beat Fayetteville Terry Sanford 56-54 in the second round in Pittsboro?
Powell could hit the trey and score off transition and the dribble while providing stellar defense and also rebounding for the 27-3 Chargers.
Ross, well, he is just silky smooth and was a slicer through opposing defenses going to the hoop while also a top rebound for the Northwood squad. The senior left-hander who has a lot of ups was uncanny positioning himself in the paint against taller players while also exploding down the court in the transition game.
Also making the squad from Northwood were Alex Snively, Jalen Mcafee-Marion, and Jack Thompson.
Snively coupled with Powell in taking care of most of the ball-handling duties for the Chargers who saw virtually all five players on the court with the ability to do so. Snively edged out Powell for the most treys on the team, with 35, as Powell closed with 32. Despite his thin frame, the 6-foot-2 Snively could also rebound when needed while also running the court, collecting assists, and steals like virtually the entire roster.
Mcafee-Marion was simply the most explosive player in the county, providing some highlight reel dunks. At 6-foot-4 with a great vertical, Mcafee-Marion played above the rim more so than any other player this season in Chatham County and the senior collected some great games defensively and on the glass while also providing a wing that could get up and down the court and score, proving to be a nightmare match-up for opposing teams.
Thompson had the potential to score much more than he did but the 6-foot-3 senior was the ultimate team player, doing whatever needed to help the Chargers win. Much like a Swiss Army knife serves multiple purposes, Thompson rebounded, played tenacious defense, set picks, collected assists and steals, and scored when needed. His role was invaluable.
In Siler City at Chatham Charter, what else can you say about what coach Jason Messier and his Knights boys team did — 32-2 and had six-time state champion Winston Salem Prep on the ropes entering the final minutes before falling in a heart-breaker 65-60 in the 1A West Regional Final.
Leading the way for Chatham Charter is all-everything Jordan Hamilton, the one true Old School post player in the county this season. At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Hamilton averaged 20.1 points and just under 10 rebounds per game. The senior was the force in the middle for Chatham Charter and wasn’t really stopped all season long. He also has great feet and post moves for a big man, and could block shots and score in transition while his physical presence led to 134 points from the charity stripe.
Also from Chatham Charter, senior wing Connor Murphy and junior forward Trevor Golden were also chosen for the team. Murphy, much like Thompson, did it all for the Knights with the lone difference that Murphy was counted on for more scoring and tallied 10.5 per game for what was a balanced attack after Hamilton. Murphy also was part of a senior-laden team that seemingly knew exactly where the other players would be, which led to a lot of assists to go along with points, steals, rebounds and defense.
Golden, meanwhile, burst onto the scene, and along with Ryan White and Cole Milholen, gave the Knights some additional scoring especially in the second half of the season and through the players where the 6-foot-4 southpaw forward really stepped up his game. Golden, a great passer with a soft left-handed touch, also pounded the boards with Hamilton and was capable of stepping out to hit the trey.
In Bear Creek, Michael Moore, a 6-foot-5 guard, proved to be one of the top players in the area without question for coach Robert Burke and the 22-6 Bears.
Moore could hit from behind the arc, from the elbow, off transition, and in the paint. Simply put, he could do it all and made his team better while opening things up for his teammates despite being who opposing defenses game-planned to stop. Moore has draw P5 attention in football and basketball and will be one of the top players in the state of N.C. next season in both.
Also on the team from Chatham Central are Preston Cox and Lucas Skertich. Cox was the a true point guard in every sense of the way plus he could score. The junior was the premiere ball handler for Chatham Central and basically the quarterback of the team, getting the offense set and stabilized, and the ball where it needed to be. A great passer, Cox led the team in assists while also providing some scoring in transition and from behind the arc with some huge performances which helped CC to a share of the 1A YVC regular season title.
Skertich, meanwhile, was the second leading scorer for the Bears and could score the ball in transition, off the dribble, and from behind the arc. Much like Snively, the senior provided points in bundles when needed and when hitting from the outside took the and elevated Chatham Central to a different level. Skertich also gave the Bears some real tenacity on defense while providing some relief with ball handling when needed.
At Jordan-Matthews in Siler City, the regular season was a disappointment for the Jets, who lost close game after close game in agonizing fashion. But coach Rodney Wiley’s squad showed just how much talent J-M had when the locals rolled off three straight wins to take the 2A PAC 7 crown and earn a berth into the NCHSAA 2A State Playoffs.
The leaders in the run were senior Camden Fuguay and sophomore Lanice Hedgepeth.
Fuquay, at 6-foot-1, banged and battled inside much like Ross of Northwood all season long against taller players. But the senior was never out-hustled, and he consistently rebounded and played defense. Fuquay was also a good passer and could score down low, off the transition and from behind the arc while also providing senior leadership by example.
Hedgepeth, meanwhile, is a slicer who provided scoring off the dribble and on the break. A solid rebounder on both ends of the court, Hedgepeth has the talent to be one of the better players the next two seasons in Chatham County.
The Chatham News + Record Baker’s Dozen All-County Boys Basketball Team
Preston Cox (junior, Chatham Central)
Camden Fuquay (senior, Jordan-Matthews)
Trevor Golden (junior, Chatham Charter)
Jordan Hamilton (senior, Chatham Charter)
Lanice Hedgepeth (sophomore, Jordan-Matthews)
Jalen Mcafee-Marion (senior, Northwood)
Michael Moore (junior, Chatham Central)
Connor Murphy (senior, Chatham Charter)
Deuce Powell (senior, Northwood)
Aaron Ross (senior, Northwood)
Lucas Skertich (senior, Chatham Central)
Alex Snively (senior, Northwood)
Jack Thompson (senior, Northwood)
Honorable Mention: Justin Brower (Northwood), Cole Milholen (Chatham Charter), Seth Moore (Jordan-Matthews), Ryan White (Chatham Charter)