By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Barbourville’s Devon Mills and Whitley County’s Brandi Smith are the 2013 Times-Tribune Boys and Girls Players of the Year.
Mills becomes the first Barbourville High School player to win the award while Smith becomes the first player to win the award in consecutive years since former South Laurel Lady Cardinals Lauren Wombles accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.
Mills led the Tigers with a 22.8 scoring average along with 9.4 rebounds per game. He also guided them to a 19-12 record this season along with a trip to the 13th Region Tournament.
“Devon really stepped up for us this year,” Barbourville coach Dinky Phipps said. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into the season, but he never lost focus, was a great student and is a nice young man on and off the court. He’s very deserving of the award.”
Smith led the Lady Colonels in scoring with a 19.6 scoring average. She hurt teams with her versatility and was a major threat from the outside, knocking down 55-of-148 shot attempts from three-point range. She guided Whitley County to a 20-11 record along with a trip to the 13th Region Tournament semifinals. Her game-winning shot at the buzzer eliminated four-time defending 13th Region champion Clay County in the first round of the tournament.
“Brandi hit big shots for us the entire season,” Whitley County coach Larry Anderson said. “She is such a hard worker. She’s the hardest worker I have coached and when you take the talent she has along with the work ethic, then you have a special player.”
Mills joins former boys’ winners Eric Fields (South Laurel, 2005), Walt Allen (South Laurel, 2006), Ty Proffitt (South Laurel, 2007), Cody Miller (Knox Central, 2008), Josh Crawford (Corbin, 2009), Isaac Wilson (Corbin, 2010), Tyler Wagner (Lynn Camp, 2011) and Jonathan Barger (Knox Central, 2012) while Smith joins former girls’ winners Taran Johnson, (South Laurel, 2005), Heather Clouse (Corbin, 2006), Lauren Wombles (South Laurel, 2007 and 2008), Caitie Jackson (North Laurel, 2009), Jessica Dean (South Laurel, 2010) and Tamara Crawford (North Laurel, 2011) and herself in 2012.
Other awards winners are as follows:
Boys Newcomer of the Year
Peyton Broughton, North Laurel — Broughton turned in a stellar season as an eighth grader for the Jaguars. He averaged 9.6 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 3.8 steals per game and 4.1 assists per game.
Girls Newcomer of the Year
Hannah Lawson, North Laurel — After freshman Kayla Bruner was lost to an injury before the season began, someone had to step up on both sides of the ball for Eddie Mahan’s squad and seventh grader Hannah Lawson did just that. She was one of the top scorers for the Lady Jaguars this season averaging 7.4 points per game and turned in a solid year defensively, too.
Boys Coach of the Year
Tony Pietrowski, Corbin — A lot of the media didn’t know what to expect out of Corbin this season and once again, the Redhounds turned in another solid season under Pietrowski. He guided Corbin to its fifth straight 50th District championship along with a 24-7 record.
Girls Co-Coaches of the Year
Richard Jones, Lynn Camp — The Lady Wildcats entered the season coming off a 10-win campaign and they surprised many by turning in a school-record 23 wins while going 23-10 during the process, which also included a trip to the 13th Region Tournament.
Jennifer Parsons, Corbin — Parsons’ Lady Redhounds started off slow, but finished with a bang by winning the school’s first 13th Region championship in 31 years. Corbin also went 27-9 during the process.
Boys All Tri-County First Team
Player of the Year — Devon Mills, Barbourville
Guard — Zac Baxter, South Laurel
Guard — Hunter Grubb, Corbin
Guard — Skylar Griffith, Williamsburg
Guard — Matt Barger, Knox Central
Center — Robbie Igo, Corbin
Boys All Tri-County Second Team
Guard — Jeffrey Adams, Knox Central
(tie) Guard — Marcus Carson, North Laurel
(tie) Guard — Blake Sanders, South Laurel
Forward — Michael Powers, Whitley County
Center — Jake Allen, North Laurel
Center — Zach Smith, Lynn Camp
Girls All Tri-County First Team
Player of the Year — Brandi Smith, Whitley Co.
Guard — Miranda Wilson, Corbin
Guard — Kayla Wilson, Corbin
Forward — Mariah Johnson, Whitley County
Center — Taylor Arthur, South Laurel
Forward — Kara Erslan, Barbourville
Girls All Tri-County Second Team
Guard — Jenna Mills, Knox Central
Guard — Bethany Powers, Whitley County
Guard — Kayla Smith, Lynn Camp
Forward — Kelsey Erslan, Barbourville
Forward — Sarah Ashley, Corbin