Sullivan South’s Ben Diamond, Elizabethton’s Nico Ashley and Sullivan East’s Dylan Bartley were recognized for their seasons. Kaleb Meredith of University High was selected for the Class A team.
Diamond, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, had an exceptional season, leading the Rebels to a school-record 30 wins. He averaged 18.5 points and four assists per game, while hitting 76 percent of his tries from the free-throw line. He was cool under pressure, hitting 10 free throws in a row in the fourth quarter in a sectional win at Alcoa.
For his efforts, he was named Northeast Tennessee player of the year by the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times-News. He was also selected as Three Rivers Conference player of the year.
Ashley, a 6-4 senior guard, led the Cyclones in scoring at 21.8 points per game. Also a force on the defensive side, he led the team in blocked shots. He was a force throughout the season, leading the team in a 63-61 triple-overtime loss against Sullivan South in the District 1-AA championship game.
Bartley led the Patriots’ record-setting, 3-point barrage, hitting 3.2 per game as the team made 377 shots behind the arc overall. It was only part of the 6-foot-2 sophomore’s overall game as he averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and two steals per contest.
Meredith, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, averaged a Northeast Tennessee 25 points per game for the Bucs. The University High star, who is committed to Tennessee for baseball, also averaged 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 steals a game.
In the postseason, he hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer in University High’s 62-60 victory over Hampton in the District 1-A championship. It gave him 2,000 points for his career. He followed that performance up with 38 points in a Region 1-A semifinal win over Jellico to put the Bucs in the sectional round.
Other Region 1 players named to the all-state teams included: Wes Maples of Sevier County and Micah Simpson of Morristown East in Class AAA, Reid Satterfield of Greeneville in Class AA and Trey Johnson of Cosby in Class A.