If you like high school sports, you probably were sad to see the winter come to an end.
Teams across Northeast Philadelphia had exceptional seasons during the indoor sports month. There were championships and school records, and Cinderella teams kept dancing long after people predicted their ball would end.
But now it’s spring, and all of the winter sports are a memory. Before we completely turn the page, it’s time to hand out our yearly awards. The winter winners, like the fall honorees, will be celebrated on May 17 at the annual banquet.
Boys Basketball Catholic League Player of the Year
This award could be renamed the Izaiah Brockington Award. This is the third time the talented guard won the honor, and this was his finest season yet.
Yes, Brockington had plenty of talent to work with, but this year he brought his game to a new level, especially on the defensive end.
Whenever the Raiders were facing a tough player, Brockington would draw the assignment and his tenacity proved to be a huge disruption. His offense didn’t suffer as a result of his defensive responsibilities. He averaged more than 18 points a game while leading Ryan to the semifinals of both the Catholic League and the PIAA AAAAAA state playoffs.
“With Izaiah, I knew we could set the highest of expectations right away because it was easy to see what we had in our best player,” said Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski. “He was the hardest worker and a great teammate. Izaiah took it another level this year and would not let the team settle for anything less than what we were capable of. In the end, his team had the highest winning percentage in Ryan history and he came out as arguably the best player in history.
“It is the combination of his athletic ability, hard work and great attitude that makes him a special kid and what pushes his teammates to follow his lead. He has made a huge impact not only on his teammates and coaches but the whole Archbishop Ryan community. I am very proud of him and grateful to have had a chance to coach him.”
Boys Basketball Public League Player of the Year
Lincoln had its best season in recent memory and its point guard was one of the biggest reasons for the success.
Sharpton was the floor general, and he did his best to get the ball to his talented teammates, but when the situation called for it, Sharpton would drive to the hoop and light up the scoreboard.
Also, because the Railsplitters had depth at the position, Sharpton was able to play stout defense and apply pressure to opponents’ point guards. It paid off, as the Railsplitters’ defense was one of their strengths.
It was that leadership that helped the Railsplitters win the Public League Class AAAAAA championship and advance to the second round of the PIAA Class AAAAAA tournament.
Sharpton’s success didn’t end on the floor.
He is ranked №10 in his senior class and maintains a 3.9 grade point average in the classroom.
“He’s a great leader and he’s gotten a lot better during his career,” Lincoln coach Al Brown said. “We (were) very confident when he has the ball because he makes great decisions, and he’s a great kid off the court.
Boys Basketball Coach of the Year
The Archbishop Ryan basketball coach is as good a fortune teller as he is game manager.
When he first came back to the school a year ago to take over as coach, Zeglinski told his troops that they had the ability to be winners. And since he arrived back, the team has been a winner.
A year after guiding Ryan to the Catholic League semifinals as a rookie, Zeglinski helped the Raiders get back to the Palestra, this year giving eventually champion Archbishop Wood all it could handle.
After the Catholic League was over, Zeglinski guided Ryan to three victories in the PIAA state playoffs, which brought them to the semifinals of the AAAAAA playoffs, where the Raiders fell to Reading, which went on to win a state crown.
In fact, Ryan had six losses this year, and four of them were to teams that went on to win a state championship.
Girls Basketball Catholic League Player of the Year
Apparently, Monee Moore doesn’t like to wait her turn.
This year, the talented sophomore helped the Ragdolls become one of the top teams in the Catholic League, and she did it by doing a little bit of everything.
She averaged 11 points agam, while leading the team in rebounds (seven a game), steals and assists (three per contest).
She also improved as the season went on, and led the Ragdolls into the Catholic League quarterfinals.
This year not only helped excite Ryan fans about the present, it gave them a lot of hope for the future. Moore will be back for the next two years and assuming she continues to improve, she’ll be one of the top players in the Catholic League during her final two years in high school.
“Monee is a basketball player that does everything well and is willing to be coached to get better,” Ryan coach Mike McCusker said. “Monee will have the chance to break Ryan records as she continues to get better every year.”
Girls Basketball Public League Player of the Year
Taylor Fritz was everything to Philadelphia Academy Charter.
When the team needed a bucket, the team put the ball in her hands.
When it needed a player defended, Fritz was called to duty.
And with her leading the way, Philadelphia Academy Charter advanced to the Class AAA state playoffs. Overall, the team finished 17–6, including a 9–1 mark in the division.
Fritz poured in an average of 15 points per game, and this year became the first player in school history to score 1,000 points.
Girls Basketball Coach of the Year
The George Washington girls basketball team wasn’t supposed to be a contender this year.
The team started no seniors and just one junior. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year as the Eagles prepared to make a run next year and beyond.
But the team jumped out to win its first 11 games, and in the process won the American Division. According to Reid, it was the first division championship in school history.
Because it played in a lower division, Washington went into the tournament as the 25th seed and the Eagles went on to knock off two higher-seeded opponents, Sayre and Simon Gratz.
This year’s strong season gives the Eagles plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into next season.
Wrestler of the year
Father Judge had a lineup full of wrestlers who could score points, but none were more consistent than Trevor Elfvin.
The senior 152-pounder was the key cog for the Crusaders, who repeated as Catholic League champions. This year, he finished with 43 victories, and he scored bonus points in 28 of those contests.
Elfvin went on to compete in the state tournament, where he won two matches before being eliminated.
Overall, Elfvin leaves high school with 141 victories.
“Trevor has been a stalwart for our program since his freshman year,” Judge coach Jim Savage said. “He has been a big part of our three district championships and always sets lofty goals for himself. What’s even better is as good as a wrestler Trevor is, he is a better teammate and person.” ••