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Reading's Lonnie Walker picked as Class 6A player of year

Written by Michael Bullock/Associated Press | Apr 14, 2017 4:32 PM


(Harrisburg) -- Lonnie Walker certainly saved the best for last.

Not only for himself, but also for his school and the basketball-happy community that he happily calls home.

Capping a tremendous career, the 6-5 Walker put an exclamation point on his four-year career last month by leading the Red Knights (30-3) to their first PIAA Class 6A championship before a record crowd at Hershey's Giant Center.

As a result of that win in the 6A final and an assortment of other individual accolades -- Reading defeated Pine-Richland 64-60 in the Class 6A championship game on March 25 -- Walker has been chosen the Class 6A player of the year by the panel of Pennsylvania sports writers that selected the all-state teams. Walker averaged 18.4 points per game.

Rick Perez, who piloted Reading to its elusive first state championship, was tagged the Class 6A coach of the year.

Joining the Miami-bound Walker on the first team are 6-1 Nick Smith of North Hills, 6-6 Sam Iorio of Parkland, 6-4 Andrew Petcash of Pine-Richland, 6-1 DeShawn Millington of Carlisle and 6-4 Izaiah Brockington of Archbishop Ryan.

All six first-team selections are seniors.

And while Reading giddily celebrated its first state boys basketball championships, one night earlier Archbishop Wood eagerly put the finishing touches on its first state tournament appearance by pocketing the PIAA Class 5A title with a convincing 73-40 triumph over Meadville at Hershey's Giant Center.

The Vikings (28-3) closed in style, too, by winning their last 22 games.

Senior floor general Collin Gillespie, who nearly popped a triple-double in Wood's championship-game appearance, fittingly capped his career as Class 5A's player of the year. The 6-2 Gillespie, who averaged 22.7 ppg, is headed for Villanova.

Fourth-year skipper John Mosco, who directed the Warminster school to Philadelphia Catholic League and District 12 titles before hoisting its first state championship trophy, is the Class 5A coach of the year.

Joining Gillespie on the 5A first team are 6-1 Eli Brooks of Spring Grove, 6-4 Robby Carmody of Mars, 6-2 Armoni Foster of Meadville, 6-9 Taylor Funk of Manheim Central and 6-8 Jarrod Simmons of Moon.

Of the six first-teamers, only Carmody is a junior.

Although Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter collared its fifth state championship since 2009 -- Andre Noble's powerful Panthers (31-2) decked Erie Strong Vincent 80-52 in the Class 4A title game -- capturing state gold was one of the few things missing from senior guard Daron Russell's impressive basketball resume.

Not now.

That said, the 5-11 Russell (18.0 ppg) can add another line while he's at it since the Rhode Island recruit was named Class 4A's player of the year. Noble, the Class 4A coach of the year, made it an Imhotep sweep of the individual awards.

Joining Russell on the Class 4A first team are 6-3 teammate David Beatty, 6-1 David Morris of Erie Strong Vincent, 6-7 Josh Creach of Beaver Falls, and 6-5 Germantown Academy teammates Evan-Eric Longino and Kyle McCloskey.

All six Class 4A first-team selections are seniors.

Quade Green also added to his growing resume during Pennsylvania's exhausting postseason, as the 6-0 Neumann-Goretti senior now owns four state championship medals after leading the Saints past Lincoln Park 89-58 in the Class 3A final.

Green, the Kentucky-bound recruit who averaged 22.8 ppg for the perennially powerful Saints (24-7), was tagged the Class 3A player of the year.

Carl Arrigale, who has been on the sidelines for all seven of Neumann-Goretti's state championship runs, was named Class 3A's coach of the year.

Joining Green on the Class 3A first team are 6-8 teammate Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, the Westtown triumvirate of 6-11 Mohamed Bamba, 6-5 Brandon Randolph and 6-7 Cameron Reddish, and 6-0 Nelly Cummings of Lincoln Park.

Only Reddish is a junior.

Another Philadelphia-based Green was recognized by the statewide panel, as Constitution's diminutive Tamir Green was tagged the Class 2A player of the year after leading the Generals to the Class 2A championship game.

Despite 21 points from the 5-8 senior -- Green, who missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation, averaged 20.0 ppg for the Generals (19-10) -- Constitution lost 68-63 in overtime to Sewickley Academy.

Win Palmer, who led Sewickley Academy (25-4) to its first state title since 2010 and its third overall, was named Class 2A's coach of the year.

Joining Green on the Class 2A first team are 6-6 teammate Maurice Waters, the Sewickley Academy duo of 5-10 Chris Groetsch and 6-5 Nate Ridgeway, 6-4 Malik Archer of Math, Civics & Sciences and 6-5 Brock Burleigh of North Penn-Mansfield.

Ridgeway, just a sophomore, is the lone underclassman on the Class 2A first team.

Pennsylvania's smallest classification also sported plenty of talent, as 6-5 Kevin Anderson of Williamsport's St. John Neumann was named the Class 1A player of the year after averaging 19.2 points per game for the Golden Knights (27-1).

Anderson, who will continue his career at the University of Delaware, never lost a regular-season game in his four seasons at Neumann.

Rick Mancino of Kennedy Catholic, who piloted the Golden Eagles (26-2) to their second straight PIAA championship, was named Class 1A coach of the year for the second year in a row. Mancino's club defeated Girard College 73-56.

Joining Anderson on the Class 1A first team are the Kennedy Catholic tandem of 6-5 Maceo Austin and 6-2 Drew Magestro, Monessen's potent 6-2 pair of Jaden Altomore and Justice Rice, and 6-8 Mikeal Jones of Girard College.

Austin is a sophomore, while Jones is a freshman.

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