Chase Arnold’s numbers were simply too hard to ignore.
The Sullivan North star averaged an area-best 26.4 points, 10 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game to be named the Johnson City Press All-Northeast Tennessee Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-5 Arnold was a four-year starter for the Golden Raiders and ended his career with over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. His 2,150 point total is a North school record.
Arnold edged out last season’s Northeast Tennessee player of the year C.J. Good of Science Hill for the top honor. Others on the first team were Daniel Boone guard Ryan Gaitor, Sullivan East sharpshooter David Casaday, Science Hill’s lockdown defender Will Adams and Unaka’s versatile Billy Bales.
Lucas Honeycutt of Elizabethton was named the coach of the year after going 25-8 in his rookie season with the Cyclones. He led his team to the District 1-AA championship and within a game of the state tournament.
Others who received strong consideration included Science Hill’s Ken Cutlip, following the Hilltoppers’ 37-3 season highlighted by Big Eight Conference, district and region championships, and Unaka’s Aaron Dugger, who led the Rangers to both Watauga Valley Conference and district championships.
Marcus Taylor of University High headed up the second-team selections, which included Zac Potter of Cloudland, Stanley Valentine of Hampton, Reed Hayes of Science Hill and Zeke Clark of Elizabethton.
Defensive player of the year was awarded to Zach Norwood of Elizabethton, and Patrick Good of Science Hill was an easy choice for most promising underclassman.
C.J. Good, a 5-foot-11 senior, averaged 18.7 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game leading the Hilltoppers to another stellar season. He hit 46.7 percent behind the 3-point line and 88.9 percent at the free-throw line.
Gaitor, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, led Daniel Boone’s offense with 17.6 points and 4.3 assists per contest. He was also a force defensively with 2.5 steals per game
Casaday, another 6-2 senior guard, scored 18.9 ppg and knocked down over 41 percent of his 3-pointers for the Patriots. Adams, a 5-foot-10 senior, was Science Hill’s best defender and collected 117 steals. On offense, he scored 13.5 ppg, dished out a team-best 3.1 assists per game and shot 40.5 percent from 3-point range.
Bales, a 6-foot-1 senior, led the Rangers to three wins in four games against rival Hampton and two wins in three games against Cloudland. He averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game.
Taylor, a 5-9 junior, was the main offensive threat for the Junior Bucs. He shot 41.1 percent behind the arc and 83 percent at the foul line as part of his 19.2 ppg average.
Potter, a 5-11 senior, stood out on Cloudland’s talented team with 13.1 ppg, 2.9 apg and 2.1 steals per game. Valentine came on strong in the postseason for Hampton. The 6-2 sophomore ended with 11.2 ppg and 8.6 rpg.
Hayes, a 6-2 senior and one of Science Hill’s top all-around athletes, averaged 11.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 2.5 apg. Clark, the Cyclones’ 6-1 junior point guard, finished with 12 points, six assists and three steals per game.
Norwood, also of Elizabethton, was named defensive player of the year, thanks in part to the 6-3 senior coming up with 3.1 steals per game. The younger Good brother was a no-brainer for the Most Promising Award. Only a freshman, he played in all 40 games for the ’Toppers. He led the team with 4.5 assists per game and came up with 2.4 steals per game in just 18 minutes per contest.