2020 Tri-County Conference basketball awards released

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Cooter’s Jacob Watkins (pictured) is the Tri-County Conference Basketball Player of the Year.

The 2020 Tri-County Conference Boys Basketball Awards have been released.

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Gideon coach Jordan McGowan (pictured) is the Tri-County Conference Basketball Coach of the Year.

Cooter senior Jacob Watkins has been selected first-team all-conference and Tri-County Conference Basketball Player of the Year. Watkins, who scored 643 points his senior season, averaged 30 points per game in conference play and 25 points per game overall. He hit 122 3-pointers, brought down four rebounds per game, collected two steals per game, and averaged two assists per game.

“He’s the hardest-working kid I’ve coached on the floor,” Cooter coach David Mathis said. “He has no basketball flash or smoothness handling the ball. He just knows how to get to his strong hand. His game has developed from a spot shooter to an attacker and a very good high school 3-point shooter.”

Watkins was part of a Cooter basketball squad that finished 17-9 and won its first district title since 2007 before being eliminated by Delta in a Class 1 sectional.

“He has an unbelievable motor, never gets tired, and never quits,” Mathis added of Watkins. “This transformation seemed to happen overnight but he was the focus of every team’s defensive scheme. He’s absolutely a joy to coach and a person you would want your kid to watch because he works his [butt] off repeatedly with no negative emotion. He’s all gas and no brakes. He helped make our basketball program respectable.”

Gideon coach Jordan McGowan is the Tri-County Conference Basketball Coach of the Year. Gideon finished 22-6 and won the Tri-County Conference Tournament at the varsity level for the first time since 2016 under McGowan.

“I am honored to be chosen Tri-County Conference Coach of the Year,” McGowan said. “I want to begin by saying how thankful I am to receive this award. Our team went 11-0 in the conference, becoming regular-season conference champions and winning the Tri-County Conference Tournament. My coaching staff and I have put in countless hours preparing drills for practices and watching game films in preparation for upcoming games.

“I also want to thank my players for the effort they put in day-in and day-out,” McGowan added. “Without them buying into what we were trying to do, all of the things we wanted to do and accomplish would not be possible. I am always learning from my players. I think we played well together and did a lot of things right to win close games this season.”

Other players selected first team-all-conference along with Watkins are Gideon’s Sam Williams, Risco’s Andrew Rodgers, Risco’s Kamron Meese, and Clarkton’s Izaya Gorman.

Players selected second-team all-conference are: Southland’s Will Tomblin, Gideon’s Brevin Vires, Delta C-7’s Thomas Watson, Holcomb’s Nate Rhew, and Clarkton’s Rica Brown.

Players receiving honorable mention include Gideon’s Gage Stover, Cooter’s Lane McLevain, Delta C-7’s Ky’Ran Luster, Risco’s Evan Pipkin, Southland’s Hunter Wynns, Holcomb’s Eli Bader, and North Pemiscot’s Maverick Glass.

Editor’s Note: The Tri-County Conference coaches vote on the all-conference awards.

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