Brown takes No. 2 spot in area coaches’ poll
In pre-season coaches' poll, Gardner-Edgerton's Ryan Highfill was selected as the Frontier League's top player.
But De Soto senior Danny Brown gave the 6-foot-1-inch senior Bronco guard a run for his money. Highfill earned top billing by garnering 74 points from the league's boy's basketball coaches. Brown tallied 72 points.
Brown earned five first-place votes to just three for Highfill. But the Trailblazer scored four runner-up votes, while Brown earned just one. The 6-4 Wildcat shooting guard fell short when he was placed as low as fifth on one ballot and fourth on another.
Points were calculated by giving a player 10 points for a first-place selection, nine for a second-place selection, eight for third place, and so forth.
Gardner-Edgerton coach Don Bechard said Highfill had an outstanding junior season for the Trailblazers last year.
Last year's All-Frontier League consensus choice led his team with 14 points and four assists last year. He also added three rebounds and 1.5 steals to his line on average every night.
"His work ethic is second to none," Bechard said. "I'm certain he will further develop into one of the top players in the metro this year. He is the consummate student-athlete and an outstanding young man."
Frontier league foe Louisburg and Kansas City Hogan Prep (Mo.) found out just how talented the Trailblazer was last season. Highfill scored 27 points, pulled down five rebounds, and dished out five assists in one game against the Wildcats last year. He butted the Rams for 25 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Brown split with Highfill by being tabbed the coaches' selection as the player in the league around whom they would most like to build a team.
The athletic 175-pounder averaged 17 points a game last season and led the Wildcats in scoring in 15 of the team's 22 games. He missed two games during the 10-12 season because of an ankle injury.
Brown, who has been pegged as one of the top players in Kansas regardless of class the past two years, signed with the University of San Diego to play basketball starting in 2005. The future Torero was the third-leading vote getter on the Kaw Valley All-League basketball team a year ago.
Joining Highfill and Brown on the first team was Baldwin's Jeremy Wright (6-3, guard), who probably won't play until after the holidays because of injuries, Paola's Anthony Onofrio and Louisburg's 6-6 senior Jake Worthington.
Worthington punished Wildcat opposition by scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds a game last season. He added two steals and three assists to his line on average.
Osawatomie junior Aaron French missed the cut for the first team by one point. Joining him on the second team were Spring Hill's Bryan Bollig, Ottawa's Caleb Blakesley, and Anderson County seniors Maurice Washington and Andrew Feuer.
Washington (6-2, senior) averaged 5.6 points and 4.5 rebounds game in 2003-2004, while Feuer (6-3, senior) was reliable for 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. He also dished out three assists a game last season.
The third team comprised of Gardner-Edgerton's Dylan Hale, Spring Hill's Jason Murphy and 6-5 Prairie View guard Zach Scribner. Osawatomie's Chad Jones, De Soto's Hunter Noe and Oklahoma football recruit Brody Eldridge (Prairie View) all tied for the final two spots with 10 points each.
Receiving honorable mention were Aaron Hannon (Baldwin), Chad Wagner (Louisburg), Tony Wilson (Central Heights), Austin Bloss (Wellsville), Dan Erlacher (Wellsville) and Thatcher Sterling (Wellsville).