NET announces winter winners for sports awards

Congratulations to the winners of the Northeast Times winter sports awards.

Shikeir Morrison (left) was one of the major reasons Lincoln made the state finals. TIMES FILE PHOTO

It seems like every season, the bar is raised.

After an exciting and successful fall, the winter sports season was even more exciting in Northeast Philadelphia. In boys basketball, we had a city champion and a state runner-up in Abraham Lincoln High School. The Railsplitters’ memorable run was the absolute highlight of the winter season, but there were more success stories.

Wrestling may have been our best sport, as Northeast won a Public League championship, Archbishop Ryan advanced to the Catholic League championship, and Father Judge was its usual rough and tumble self.

And in girls basketball, both leagues were full of good players who put up monster numbers.

As always, picking the best in each sport was tough because there are so many deserving.

The award winners will be honored on May 17 during the annual Northeast Sports Awards Banquet.

Boys Basketball

Catholic League Player of the Year

Tom Quarry, Judge

They say good things come to those who wait. For Father Judge, good things came in the form of Tom Quarry.

A four-year member of the basketball program, Quarry played sporadically as a junior before becoming one of the top basketball players in the city during his senior year.

Quarry averaged 19 points per game for the Crusaders. He also became one of the top three-point shooters in the city, draining 72 of them on the season, and broke the longstanding school record for points in a game with 39. Next year, he’ll continue his career at Johns Hopkins.

Public League Player of the Year

Shikeir Morrison, Lincoln

One of the reasons the Railsplitters were so successful this year was because every game a different player would step up. But one of the most consistent players on the team was Shikeir Morrison, a senior guard who did everything for the team.

While he wasn’t the most dynamic scorer, he always seemed to score the most meaningful points during the season, such as the two free throws he sank to send Lincoln to the state championship game. He also performed well in that game.

Morrison was arguably the best defensive player on Lincoln and that’s saying something because that was the Railsplitters’ calling card during their run to the championship. Morrison hasn’t picked a college yet, but hopes to play at the next level.

Coach of the Year

Al Brown

Public League teams aren’t supposed to knock off Catholic League squads in the city championship, at least not at the 6A level. Also at that level, it’s rare that a Public League squad can make a run to the state championship, especially in a year like this, when the competition was at an all-time high. But that’s exactly what Lincoln did.

Lincoln shocked the state by making it all the way to Hershey before falling to the same Roman Catholic team that it defeated in the city championship game.

Brown was also able to keep his team happy while using many different players. The depth meant less scoring for many top players, but it allowed the Railsplitters to play the smothering defense that made them such a force throughout the season.

Lincoln finished the campaign 25–7.

Girls Basketball

Catholic League Player of the Year

Monee Moore, Ryan

Last year as a sophomore, Moore won this award because she had a phenomenal year.

It’s possible this year she was even better.

Moore scored 14.5 points per game for the Ragdolls, while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out six assists per game. The Ragdolls enjoyed a strong season that included 17 wins and a playoff appearance in the tough Catholic League.

Moore will return to the mix next year for a young Ryan team that will once again have championship aspirations.

Public League Player of the Year

Isabella Vazquez, George Washington

Last year was a great year for the Washington girls basketball team. That was the good news. The bad news was because of that great year, the Eagles moved up to a tougher division. Couple that with the loss of three talented starters, and this could have been a bleak year for Washington.

But thanks to Vazquez, as well as starting point guard Ireland Smith, the Eagles had another strong campaign.

Vazquez scored an average of 20.2 points per game for the Eagles, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the Public League playoffs.

Next year, Vazquez will return to Washington, where she is on pace to surpass the 1,000-point mark early in the season.

Coach of the Year

Mike McCusker, Ryan

Archbishop Ryan jumped out to an amazing start to the season, winning its first 17 games. That’s even more impressive when you consider the Ragdolls played a challenging nonleague schedule to prepare for the grueling Catholic League schedule. Among the teams they defeated were Bishop Shanahan, Germantown Academy, Penn Charter, Villa Joseph Marie and Perkiomen Valley.

The rest of the year was trying because Mike McCusker’s troops had to play against the top teams in the Catholic League. Those teams boasted more talent than the Ragdolls, but Ryan hung tough, losing three of its final four games by a total of six points.

The Ragdolls fell in their first playoff game, but the team was loaded with underclassmen who will use this year’s disappointing close to help them next winter.

Wrestling

Catholic League Wrestler of the Year

Caesar Fountain, Father Judge

Both Ryan and Judge had strong lineups, but Caesar Fountain succeeded in a very trying weight class.

The junior wrestled in the 138-pound weight class and piled up 37 victories with 16 pinfalls en route to leading Judge to the Catholic League semifinals. He also scored bonus points in 31 of those victories, and suffered just five defeats on the year.

Fountain, who sits at 92 career victories, was First-Team All-Catholic and won a district championship.

Public League Wrestler of the Year

Jameel Coles, Northeast

It’s fair to say Jameel Coles made an impact in his first year at Northeast.

Coles, the Vikings’ 220-pound junior, piled up 39 wins in 42 matches, and played a huge role in helping Northeast claim the Public League championship. In 24 of those triumphs, Coles won by pinfall and he earned bonus points in 32 of those victories.

Coles, who transfered from the Phelps School in Malvern, enters his senior year with 49 career victories.

Coach of the Year

John Swift, Ryan

When John Swift arrived at Ryan, he hoped to turn the Raiders into a contender. He didn’t think it would happen so swiftly.

This year, Swift helped Ryan advance to the Catholic League championship, where it fell in a close match to Archbishop Wood. That was the team’s only loss in Catholic League play.

Ryan had a solid lineup up and down, and most of the guys on the team were novices to the sport before they arrived at Ryan.

Ryan’s biggest win of the year was when it knocked off Father Judge, which is always one of the top teams in the league. ••

If you go…

The Northeast Sports Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, May 17, at Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, at 11630 Caroline Road. Additional winners will be announced for the spring season and our overall winners. For more information, visit NortheastTimes.com

These winners will join our fall winners at the banquet. Those winners are Catholic League Football Player of the Year Timmy Moulton (Archbishop Ryan), Public League Football Player of the Year Sam Karr (Abraham Lincoln), Football Coach of the Year Phil Gormley (Northeast), Catholic League Boys Soccer Player of the Year Will Stackhouse (Ryan), Public League Boys Soccer Player of the Year Mohammed Khalafalla (Northeast), Soccer Coach of the Year Kraig Feldman, Catholic League Girls Soccer Player of the Year Hailey O’Neill (Ryan), Public League Girls Soccer Player of the Year Arryanna Coleman (Franklin Towne Charter) and GIrls Soccer Coach of the Year Jon Geist.