By Jeremy Balan
It’s almost scary how similar the statistics are for Sacred Heart Cathedral standout forwards Joshua Fox and Taylor Johns.
Even with largely different offensive games, the two UC Riverside-bound seniors both averaged about the same amount of points (Johns had a slight edge at 14.5 per game compared to Fox’s 14.4) and rebounds (Johns again held a slight edge at 8.1 to Fox’s 7.1), and the two were far-and-away the best players in the City all season.
That, along with their kinship on and off the court, made the decision for SanFranPreps.com Player of the Year significantly more difficult.
Fox had a flair for the dramatic, hitting some of the biggest shots of the season, but the determining factor came on the defensive end of the floor. Fox was a plus defender and had his share of blocks and steals, but Johns’ ability to block and alter shots was a game-changer.
That’s why he’s our Player of the Year.
Johns’ shot blocking, as well as his ability to change the emotional flow of games with emphatic dunks, were a invaluable weapons for the Irish all season and the impact of his defense was displayed in the Division III state championship game.
With Johns off the court with foul trouble for much of the second half, the athletic Alemany guards drove through the Sacred Heart defense without worrying about the senior’s 6-foot-6 frame and long arms meeting them in the paint.
Fox headlines a first team that acknowledges versatility and all-around effectiveness rather than pure scoring.
Fox scored, rebounded, distributed, shot 40 percent from 3-point range and showed a taste for taking clutch shots.
Mission senior forward Gione Edwards led all City scorers with 19.5 points per game, but also led the Bears in rebounding (10.3 per game), blocks and was second on the team in assists.
Academic Athletic Association Player of the Year Mark Alexander, Marshall’s 6-foot-6 center, had a triple-double in the AAA championship game and was one of the best inside defenders all season.
Urban junior guard Nate Cohen, the Bay Counties League West Player of the Year, led the Blues to their first winning season since 2004-2005 by averaging over 17 points per game in league play, taking in 7.2 rebounds per game, while leading the team in assists (5.2 per game).
The final first-team selection, Sacred Heart junior guard Herman Pratt, made his greatest impact as the best on-the-ball defender in the City and scored 10 points per game. He didn’t average a ton of rebounds or assists, but always seemed to do something late in games to help the Irish win.
The drop-off from the first team is far from steep, with highly-sought recruit Stephen Domingo, human highlight-reel Trevor Dunbar, sharpshooter Chris Young, inside-outside threat Harold Getz and explosive Isaiah Boone all pushed down to the second team.
Bonta Hill contributed to this report
2012 SanFranPreps.com All-City Team
Player of the Year
Taylor Johns, senior forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Coach of the Year
Darrell Barbour, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Mark Alexander, senior center, Marshall
Nate Cohen, junior guard, Urban
Gione Edwards, senior forward, Mission
Joshua Fox, senior forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Herman Pratt, junior guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Isaiah Boone, senior guard, Lick-Wilmerding
Stephen Domingo, junior forward, St. Ignatius
Trevor Dunbar, sophomore guard, St. Ignatius
Harold Getz, junior forward, University
Chris Young, senior guard, Lincoln
Ares Brown, senior guard, Lincoln
D. J. Harvey, senior guard, Riordan
Khalil James, junior guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Chris Mah, junior guard, University
Miles Prescott, senior forward, Mission
Max Betkowski, senior forward, Galileo
Joshua Blueford, sophomore guard, Leadership
Jonathan Burnoski, senior guard, Balboa
Francisco Chacon, senior guard, Leadership
Terence Ching, senior guard, Burton
Armani Collins, freshman forward, Stuart Hall
Tim Connolly, senior guard, Stuart Hall
Preston Demings, sophomore forward, Marshall
Grant Fineman, senior guard, Jewish Community
Anthony Gumberg, junior forward, Jewish Community
Franeka Hall, senior guard, Jordan
Aumen Holliday, junior guard, Marshall
Nick Johnson, senior guard, St. Ignatius
Gordon Kwan, senior guard, Washington
Geru Mabrey, junior guard, Riordan
Connor Mattoon, senior guard, Bay
Julian Matulich, senior forward, Urban
Demonta McFarland, senior guard, ISA
David Medoff, junior guard, University
Matt Monges, junior guard, Urban
Kevin Murray, junior guard, Mission
Avery Nicastro-Aikman, senior guard, Lowell
Mizell Parker, sophomore guard, Marshall
Tyler Petroni, senior guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Antoine Porter, junior guard, Mission
Ray Porter, junior forward, Gateway
Ben Schneider, junior forward, Lick-Wilmerding
Phillip Stone Jr., senior guard, Lick-Wilmerding
Al Woodhouse, senior forward, Waldorf
Nick Young, senior guard, Lincoln