The Arkansas Activities Association released its All-State players for the 2018-2019 basketball season. El Dorado’s B.J. Johnson, Joderrio Ramey and Tasia Richardson joined Junction City’s Taykeetria Rogers and Jerrodney Tubbs, Parkers Chapel’s Amari Bell, Smackover’s Jaqueze Modica and Strong’s Derrion Davis as players honored from Union County.
Richardson and Rogers were the only area girls to make the team.
Richardson, a 5-7 senior point guard, guided the Lady Wildcats to a 17-9 record. She scored 11 points per game and dished out three assists while shooting 78 percent at the line.
“She was our leader all year long,” said El Dorado coach Destinee Rogers. “She played with a bum ankle at least the last six or so games. We worked hard every day and stayed after practice almost every day to get extra shots and work. To me, those are the type of player that deserve those type of awards. Players who are willing to put the extra work in that it takes to produce. I’m proud of her and how far she has come.”
Rogers, a 5-7 senior guard, led the Lady Dragons to a 20-3 record and the regional championship. She averaged 12.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.2 steals per game.
“I think since her freshman year, when she took the last shot in the regionals, to now, being a senior, to make All-State says a lot about her work ethic and about how she’s improved from year-to-year,” said Junction City coach Henry Harrell. “To go through two knee surgeries and still come back out and play the way she played her senior year was outstanding for a young lady of her caliber.”
El Dorado’s boys, for the past two seasons, have been led by Johnson and Ramey, both 6-3 senior guards. Johnson averaged 17.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 74 percent from the line. Ramey led the team with 18 points per game along with 5.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists.
“They were both selected All-State, which I thought was a great deal. B.J. missed three conference games and still made it, with conference coaches voting on it. We finished third in the conference and got two. I thought that showed great respect from the coaches on how good these two could possibly be,” said El Dorado coach Gary Simmons, who was asked if they formed the best 1-2 punch in the league.
“Oh yeah, by far. On a consistent basis, we didn’t prepare for anybody else in the conference that between them averaged almost 40 points per game. Everybody in the conference had to deal with them. I think they’ve been the best duo in the conference for two years.”
Bell, a senior forward, helped Parkers Chapel to an 18-14 record. He averaged 9.3 points and 8 rebounds for the Trojans while shooting 48 percent from the floor.
“Amari Bell had a great year for us,” said PC coach Josh Langley. “He led us in efficiency for the second year in a row and was the rock that held us all together. Averaged just shy of a double-double for the season. We have big shoes to try and fill moving forward but players like Bell can’t be replaced.”
Davis, a 6-2 junior, averaged 23.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for Strong. He scored 30 or more points in seven of the Bulldogs’ final 10 games.
“He’s worked hard this year. Overall, he had a lot of good games. Still a lot of improvement to do but I’m very proud of him,” said Strong coach Champ Watson. “He didn’t have those guys from last year that actually made him look a little bit better. He had to step up this year and get it done because a lot of players hadn’t had that many minutes before that he had to play with this year.”
Modica, a 6-0 junior, played in the backcourt at Smackover.
“I thought he played exceptional,” said Smackover coach Reggie Turner. “He had to take up most of the scoring load. But, he rebounded well. He was probably our best rebounder and, at times, our best defender.”
Tubbs, a 6-3, 245-pound senior center, led Junction City to a 17-9 record. The Dragons won the regional championship and advanced to the 2A State Tournament.
“Jerrodney was always a player you had to game-plan for,” said Junction City coach Kendall Hutcheson. “He has very soft hands, good feet and can shoot from outside. But, the toughest thing about him is how physical he plays around the basket. He plays much bigger than 6-3. One of the best offensive post players I have ever coached.”