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Lockley is district’s top player

Ryheem Lockley
Michael Bess
2nd Team All-District
by Tom Hardin

Tidewater District coaches voted Middlesex High freshman 6’4” forward Ryheem Lockley as the district Player-of-the-Year.

In district games this year, Lockley averaged 13.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 2.4 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.

Others named first team All-District were senior Malcolm Doyal, junior Aaron Roane and freshman Jamie Wilson of West Point, and junior Akeem Holmes of King William.

Named to the second team were senior guard Michael Bess of Middlesex, seniors Blake Ballard and Daryl Powell of King William, and senior Shiheid Williamson and junior CJ Kelley of Mathews.

In addition, Bess and Scott Payne of Middlesex were named to the All-Academic Team.

Middlesex first-year coach Patrick Weller, who lead the Chargers to the district regular season title, was voted Coach-of-the-Year.

West Point won the Sportsmanship Award.

“It is certainly an incredible honor for a freshman to be selected the Player of the Year,” said Weller in reference to Lockley. “Although there were several other players in the district that had higher point and rebound averages on the season, I think Ryheem was honored with the award due to the fact he led our team in points and rebounds per game and that our team won the district title. 

“Ryheem is a fine young man and has worked incredibly hard to get to this point in his career,” continued Weller. “ Now, he will have to work even harder to maintain this level of recognition and performance.  I will certainly do all I can to continue to push him to work hard, remain humble, and be the best person and team player that he can be.”

The selection of Bess to the second team shocked many Middlesex fans, who though he should have been a first team pick.

Bess had been named second team All-District both as a sophomore and junior and had an outstanding senior year, averaging 10.3 points, 4.0 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.8 rebounds a game in addition to being considered the team’s best defensive player and ball-handler.

“I was disappointed that Michael wasn’t selected for first team as I know firsthand how valuable he is to our team.,” said Weller. “Unfortunately, I think sometimes that too much emphasis is put on points scored as the measure of a player. Although there were players that averaged more points per game than Michael, there was not one player in the district that had as few turnovers as he did and played as many minutes as he did with the ball in his hands.  For Michael to average over 30 minutes per game in district play and only turn the ball over 13 times is amazing.

“The other players named to the first team were certainly deserving of the honor, but there is no doubt in my mind that Michael was our team MVP this season for his all-around play and leadership on the floor,” said Weller.

On being named Coach-of-the Year, Weller said, “The way I look at this award is as a team award.  I am fortunate to have outstanding assistant coaches in Chris DiFulvio and Jason Daniel that do their jobs well and make my job much easier. 

“I am also fortunate to be involved with the young men on our team who worked incredibly hard and did everything that they were asked to do. This award is just another recognition of their success this season,” he said.

posted 02.24.2010

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