By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SPRINGFIELD -- Excellent play on the basketball courts led to high honors off the court for a couple of Effingham County stars when the Region 2-AAAAAA postseason awards were announced Monday.
Keion Wallace was named the region’s co-player of the year and Caleb Williams was the region’s defensive player of the year in a voting of the region’s coaches.
“To have two guys, both returning (next year), earn two of the top awards in the region says a lot about our future,” said Rebels coach Jake Darling, whose squad finished the 2020-21 regular season with an 18-7 record and advanced to the Class AAAAAA state tournament against Evans tonight.
Wallace, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore forward, averaged 16 points and eight rebounds and was at his best in ECHS’ big games. He scored 27 points in a key win over Richmond Hill late in the season and averaged 20.5 points during the region Final Four.
“The way he plays, the way he handles himself and loves his teammates, as a coach, you’ve got to love a player like that,” Darling said.
Williams, a 5-8, 150-pound junior point guard, averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 steals and three pass deflections while defending the opposing team’s best ballhandler.
“Part of our defensive strategy was ball pressure and Caleb set the tone for us,” Darling said.
The seven-team region picked 10 players for both first-team and second-team honors and 12 honorable mentions.
ECHS’ Khiry Wallace was on the all-region first team and Ashley Thompson, Timmy Brown and Rashad Scott made honorable mention.
For South Effingham, Mitchell Pollard earned first-team honors, Andrew Butler and Ameer Pollak were on the second team and Devin Hallman was an honorable mention.
Keion Wallace shared the region’s player of the year honor with Richmond Hill’s Jaeden Marshall. Statesboro’s Albert Mikell was the offensive player of the year and Richmond Hill’s Bill Henderson was the coach of the year.