Though it’s not quite as stacked as it was last season — with a slew of Division I signees — the 2013-14 Aurora Sentinel All-City Boys Basketball Team is full of emerging talent.
Sophomore De’Ron Davis and junior Austin Conway of the Centennial League champion Overland team that went further than other city team when it made the Class 5A state semifinals lead the way on the starting five, which was selected by the Sentinel with balloting of city coaches.
Rangeview star Jeremiah Paige repeats on the All-City first team, where he’s also joined by Vista PEAK senior Romello Washington and Eaglecrest junior Blend Avdili.
Boosted by nearly every vote from Aurora coaches, Paige — a 6-foot-4 guard who signed with Colorado State prior to the season — is the Sentinel’s Player of the Year.
Paige continued his development into one of the state’s elite players, as he finished as the No. 3 scorer in 5A with an average of 23.0 points per game — which trailed only Lincoln‘s Michael Sparks (23.7 ppg) and Denver East‘s Dominique Collier (23.4 ppg) — knocked down 59 3-pointers while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc and wowed crowds nearly every game with an assortment of dunks and acrobatic takes to the basket in helping the Raiders made the Great 8.
Along the way, the EMAC Player of the Year set school records in a variety of offensive categories, including points in a single game — 52, which he registered against Prairie View — career points (1,577), 3-pointers (139) and free throws made (336).
Paige also came away with 2.9 steals per game, matching the number of his dynamic backcourt mate and fellow senior Trey Bridges, and helping him become Rangeview’s all-time leader in the category. He also has the school record in blocked shots.
The Overland duo of Conway and Davis both made the All-City second team last season, but each stepped forward and it was a big reason why the Trailblazers advanced to the state semifinals. Both players joined Paige in The Show all-star game — where Davis finished with 19 points and Conway four — both made the All-Centennial League first team and All-City first team as well.
Though coach Danny Fisher always emphasizes that the 6-9 Davis could probably lead the team in scoring every night, he doesn’t need that from his rare big man. Working within the framework of the team and eager to pass the ball to teammates when he was double-teamed, Davis still contributed 15 points per game, which was second-best in the Centennial League behind Arapahoe‘s Ethan Brunhofer. His monster 46-point, 21-rebound effort in Overland’s 5-overtime victory over Cherokee Trail might have been his signature game statistically, but his defensive domination in the ‘Blazers Great 8 win over Rangeview also stood out in a big way.
The All-Colorado selection led the Centennial League with 3.5 blocked shots per game and altered many more attempts with his length and instincts.
Conway also excels in football, but has decided to pursue the chance to play basketball in college, where he has interest from almost a handful of Division I schools.
Overland’s ability to get scoring from a lot of places meant Conway didn’t have to carry as much of the offensive load as he had in the past, so his scoring average dipped to 10.5 points per game — from 15.8 ppg last season — but he still had some big scoring games such as the semifinal against Denver East, when he tallied a season-high 21 points. His focus for next season is to come back a better shooter.
More importantly, Conway finished as the Centennial League’s leader in assists at 4.2 per game and also improved on the defensive end, as he also topped the league in steals per game at 2.2.
Avdili’s grit, guile and knack for making a big play at the right time earned the attention of a lot of city coaches.
The 6-5 junior post player’s mark was all over an Eaglecrest team that followed up its 5A state championship run by nearly winning the Centennial League championship and fell just short of a return to the Final Four.
At 13.2 points per game — sixth-best in the Centennial League — Avdili came in just behind Jaisean Jackson (13.7 ppg) for the team scoring lead and finished in double figures in all but a handful of games, cracking the 20-point mark four times in Centennial League play. He also averaged 6.8 rebounds per game and recorded three double-doubles, all in wins for coach John Olander‘s Eaglecrest squad.
Coach Josh Brenning‘s Vista PEAK’s program blossomed once it fully incorporated the talents of Washington, who had a tremendous impact in just one season after coming over as a transfer from Kennedy.
The Bison won 19 games — 10 more than last season — finished 12-0 in the Colorado 7 to win their first league championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the 4A state playoffs, where they lost to eventual state champion Pueblo East.
The 5-11 Washington provided a significant spark, as he averaged 18.7 points per game and scored more points than any other player in Aurora (429) on his way to Colorado 7 Player of the Year honors. Washington torched powerhouse Valor Christian for 31 points and averaged 27 points in two contests against Elizabeth, Vista PEAK’s top competition in the league.
Washington — who has yet to commit to a college program — also led Vista PEAK in assists with 65 (2.5 apg) and was one of four players on the team averaging more than 2.0 steals per contest.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2013-14 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-CITY BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM
Blend Avdili, Eaglecrest, jr.; Austin Conway, Overland, jr.; De’Ron Davis, Overland, soph.; Jeremiah Paige, Rangeview, sr.; Romello Washington, Vista PEAK, sr.; Player of Year: Jeremiah Paige, Rangeview, sr.; Coach of Year: Danny Fisher, Overland
KyRon Allen, Grandview, sr.; Trey Bridges, Rangeview, sr.; Trent Clay, Smoky Hill, sr.; Jaisean Jackson, Eaglecrest, sr.; Taylor Kallsen, Regis Jesuit, jr.
Ronnie Barfield, Cherokee Trail, soph.; Kamrin Bell, Gateway, jr.; Kip Boryla, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Devon Brown, Grandview, sr.; Jarred Burr, Grandview, jr.; Noah Butler, Vista PEAK, jr.; Elijah Coleman, Aurora Central, soph.; Chance Drake, Hinkley, sr.; Unwana Ekiko, Smoky Hill, sr.; Keanu Flores, Grandview, sr.; Austin Hall, Gateway, sr.; Colby Johnson, Smoky Hill, sr.; Marquise Johnson, Aurora Central, fr.; Devin Kadillak, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Tahleel Khabir, Aurora Central, jr.; LaDerian King, Eaglecrest, sr.; Tyler Larkin, Cherokee Trail, sr.; Brolon Moton, Hinkley, sr.; Ahonsi Ohimai, Hinkley, jr.; Solomon Proctor, Hinkley, soph.; Elijah Ross, Eaglecrest, jr.; Ayo Sanusi, Vista PEAK, sr.; Zach Smith, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Bryan Staerkel, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Tarren Storey-Way, Rangeview, jr.; Ryan Swan, Overland, jr.; Ladarius Thomas, Aurora Central, soph.; David Thornton, Cherokee Trail, soph.; Chris Williams, Smoky Hill, sr.; T’Aren Williams, Overland, sr.