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Hodges named. Mr Basketball

Cole Hodges could win an Academy Award for his versatile role onthe basketball court. In three yeas of varsity basketball, he hasplayed three different positions for Brookhaven Academy coach DaleWatts.

Hodges, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, was called upon to play inthe paint and rebound with the giants this season. He didremarkably well, leading the Brookhaven Academy Cougars to a 34-2record and the MPSA Class AA State Tournament championship.

For his performance, Hodges has been selected The DAILY LEADER’sMost Valuable Player on the All-Lincoln County Boys BasketballTeam. Mr. Basketball averaged 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per gamefor the Cougars. He also averaged 4.0 assists and 2.4 steals pergame.

Joining Hodges on the Dream Team are Tyler Williford of LoydStar, Bud Chatman of Brookhaven, Tyler Smith of West Lincoln andJeremy Winborne of Brookhaven Academy. The team was selected by DLsports staff members, with input provided by area high school andcollege coaches.

“Basically, my inside game improved this season,” said Hodges.”Rebounding became a necessity.”

As a sophomore, Hodges played point guard. He was a shootingguard as a junior and a post this season.

“It all depended on what our team needed,” said Hodges. “Everynight I played against bigger people. I had to be morephysical.”

A standout All-District football player, Hodges stepped from thegridiron directly into John R. Gray Gymnasium last November. He andbackup forward Cameron Achord were the only seniors on theteam.

“I learned a lot of things from Coach Watts,” said Hodges. “Heteaches discipline, dedication and hard work. He’s the toughestcoach I’ve played for.”

Hodges said toughness in basketball helped him become a betterfootball player, too. “The toughness (Watts) teaches helps infootball and every area of life.”

Asked about his teammates, Hodges said, “I had a lot of talentedteammates to help me be successful this year. I’m expecting them torepeat as state champions.”

Named to the MPSA Class AA-AAA All-Star Team, Hodges pulled down14 rebounds in the showcase. In late December, against HillcrestChristian in BA’s Holiday Classic, he recorded a rare quadrupledouble. He accounted for 19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10steals in the 74-47 victory.

“When Cole got 14 rebounds in the all-star game, he could havebeen MVP,” said Watts. “Whatever it takes for his team to win, hewill do his part.

“Cole is an extremely mature athlete,” said Watts. “He has kepthis sights and goals pointed in the right direction.”

Tyler Williford, a 5-11 junior guard, averaged22 points per game for the Loyd Star Hornets who finished 17-11. Hemissed 7 games due to injury.

“Tyler has good speed and he shoots the ball well from theoutside,” said Loyd Star coach Gene (Moochie) Britt. “He can handlethe ball, too.”

Bud Chatman, a 6-4 senior forward, led the OleBrook Panthers in scoring and rebounding after earning all-statehonors as a wide receiver on Brook’s Class 4A state championshipfootball team. In basketball, he averaged 14.6 points and 9.2rebounds as the Panthers finished 9-20 in a major rebuildingyear.

“Bud is a raw talent,” said Ole Brook coach Ronald Hines. “He’sstrong and he’s a good leaper. He has good shooting range,too.”

Tyler Smith, a 6-foot senior guard, averaged21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game forthe Bears who were runners-up in the Division 7-1A race.

“Tyler handles the ball real well and that helps him get open ona lot of shots,” said West Lincoln coach Lane Young. “He shoots theball well from the outside. He has improved on offense and defensethis year.”

Jeremy Winborne, a 6-foot junior guard, isrecognized for his offensive and defensive skills. He averaged 15points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 1.8 assists per game for theCougars.

“Jeremy is probably the most gifted, naturally talented playeron the team,” said Watts. “He’s a gamer, too. When the game is onthe line, he wants the ball.”