By Jeremy Balan
Brenden Glapion, Johnny Mrlik and Noah Springwater really have a lot in common.
All three are left-handed guards, stone-cold scorers, senior leaders and candidates for City Player of the Year.
While Glapion averaged 23 points per game to lead Washington to its first Academic Athletic Association title in 29 years, and Springwater wrapped up a four-year varsity career as University’s top scorer in school history en route to three consecutive Bay Counties League West titles, no player carried his team quite like Mrlik this season.
He averaged 18.4 points per game on the season for St. Ignatius, and led the West Catholic Athletic League in scoring with more than 17 points per game in league. He led the WCAL in made three-pointers and free-throw percentage and set a league record for free throws made in a season.
Mrlik also had a distinct sense for the dramatic, with big showings in the Bruce-Mahoney game against Sacred Heart Cathedral and a shocking upset over eventual Division II state champion Mitty (one of just two losses for the Monarchs on the year).
That’s why he’s the SanFranPreps.com boys basketball Player of the Year.
Mrlik may have edged out a deep group of guards for Player of the Year, but the first team is loaded with talent and athleticism.
Glapion was Washington’s leading scorer all season, and Columbia-bound Springwater (the City’s only Division I recruit this season) dominated the stat sheet, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks per game.
Bucking the trend of solid guard play were Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forwards Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox, who led the Irish to a Central Coast Section title on the strength of their frontcourt play and imposing defense.
The pair could impact the momentum of a game with a thundering dunk just as much as a highlight-reel block.
Aaron Anderson, Riordan’s top scorer and rebounder, was also a lockdown defender. In a down year for the Crusaders, it’s hard to find another player who gave more effort on the floor, even when it meant playing against rival St. Ignatius with a debilitating sickness.
While the entire All-City team is ruled by mostly seniors, the favorites for next year’s Player of the Year are on our second team.
Johns and Fox should factor into the discussion, but just as it did this year, the fact that they play on the same team hurts their chances. But Marshall’s Theoatis Hill and St. Ignatius’ Stephen Domingo (both second team) will likely have to carry the load for their respective teams.
Domingo’s still-developing game should mature nicely, and Hill has already proven that he can carry the load, averaging a city-high 24.7 points per game this year, to go along with nearly 13 rebounds per game.
Our selection for Coach of the Year, like Player of the year, was also a three-horse race.
Randal Bessolo led University to a second consecutive NorCal title game and Lincoln’s Matt Jackson took over the reins of the program after the sudden death of coach Mike Gragnani, coaching both the Lincoln varsity and junior varsity programs, but our nod goes to Mission coach Arnold Zelaya.
Along with the pitfalls that can accompany coaching at any public school in San Francisco, and after winning the AAA championship last year, Zelaya led an almost entirely new lineup back to the league championship game.
Additional reporting by Bonta Hill
SanFranPreps.com Player of the Year
Johnny Mrlik, senior guard, St. Ignatius
Coach of the Year
Arnold Zelaya, Mission
Aaron Anderson, senior guard, Riordan
Joshua Fox, junior forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Brenden Glapion, senior guard, Washington
Taylor Johns, junior forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Noah Springwater, senior guard, University
Stephen Domingo, sophomore forward, St. Ignatius
Zio Enriquez, senior guard, University
Theoatis Hill, junior forward, Marshall
Jeremy Jetton, senior guard, Washington
LeVander Moore, senior center, Washington
Brian Benavides, senior guard, International
Aaron Brown, senior forward, Wallenberg
Jonathan Burnoski, junior guard, Balboa
Francisco Chacon, junior guard, Leadership
Terrance Ching, junior guard, Burton
Nate Cohen, sophomore forward, Urban
Kevork Demirjian, senior center, Lincoln
Javaughn Duty, senior forward, Drew
Gione Edwards, junior forward, Mission
Henry Gale, junior guard, Bay
Jonathan Gergen, senior forward, Jewish Community
Kishan Jay, senior forward, Lick-Wilmerding
Rahsaan Johnson, senior forward, Stuart Hall
Antoine Porter, sophomore guard, Mission
Herman Pratt, sophomore guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Ricco Price, senior forward, Lowell
Alexander Woodhouse, junior forward, Waldorf
Chris Young, junior guard, Lincoln