For the first time ever this year, our annual selection of the area’s top high school basketball talent will also include fan-voted all-star and all-county teams. The players and coaches will be selected by YOU, the reader.
Voting will begin today and run until Thursday, April 16 at 2 p.m. For further explanation, read here.
Now, let’s get to our coach of the year candidates:
Matt Backs, Clarkstown South: Backs guided the Vikings to their third appearance at the County Center in four years despite the graduation of four starters. They won the most dramatic game of Championship Week, beating 20-0 Arlington on Conor McGuinness’ pull-up to beat the buzzer. South advanced to the Class AA championship game and lost 78-67 to Mount Vernon. The Vikings finished 16-6.
George Gaine, Tappan Zee: Gaine’s team finished the season 15-6 and earned its fifth trip to the County Center in six seasons. The Dutchmen lost three of those games to eventual champ Spring Valley, including a 69-59 defeat in the Class A semifinals.
Willie Worsley, Spring Valley: In a long and successful career as a player and coach, Worsley had never coached a team to a championship — until now. His Tigers capped a terrific season by winning their first Section 1 title since 1996 and advancing to the Class A state semifinals. Spring Valley finished 23-2, which included an 18-game winning streak, one highlighted by Rickey McGill’s buzzer-beater against Saugerties to secure a trip to Glens Falls.
All-star/all-county fan votes:
• Rockland coach of the year
• Westchester/Putnam coach of the year
• Rockland first-team all-county (coming today at 12 p.m.)
• Westchester/Putnam first-team all-county (coming today at 1 p.m.)
• Rockland player of the year (coming today at 2 p.m.)
• Westchester/Putnam player of the year (coming today at 3 p.m.