Each year, with input from area coaches, The News Tribune selects its All-Area boys basketball team.
This year, nine local schools are represented of the more than 65 in the South Sound region with players and coaches selected to the All-Area first and second teams.
The 12 spots, broken down by leagues are 4A North Puget Sound League (four), 4A South Puget Sound League (one), 3A Pierce County League (three), 3A South Sound Conference (two), 2A SPSL (one) and 2B Pacific (one).
ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM
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Lincoln High School
Guard, 6-2, junior
Bio: A big reason for Lincoln’s undefeated success so far this year is Anderson’s ability to be cool and collected in the game’s most clutch moments. His best nights have come against the biggest competition. In regular-season matchups against Wilson, Anderson scored 33 points and 28 points, helping Lincoln roll through a league that sent three teams to state. The 3A PCL MVP is averaging 18 points, five rebounds and four assists while also holding a 3.5 GPA.
What coach Aubrey Shelton says: “Ultimate competitor. Fears no one and plays his best against the toughest teams and in the biggest moments. … He can get to the rim at will, is a very accurate shooter and makes great decisions while running our offense and setting up his teammates.”
Federal Way High School
Forward, 6-7, senior
Bio: Any player to earn a league MVP honor like Cola did this year has to work hard. But Cola’s case is different. A sprained knee cost him most of his junior season and he re-aggravated it in the spring. It makes what he’s done this year all the more impressive, averaging 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks per game. As intimidating of a presence as there is in the state around the basket. Requires double teams. Also has a 3.4 GPA.
What coach Jerome Collins says: “He’s huge for us. He really anchors the middle of the key. To have a rim protector and a rebounder — that’s really huge. And he’s a constant teammate. He’s so unselfish. You have to try to program him to be more selfish. He just thinks team.”
Life Christian Academy
Guard, 6-foot-8, senior
Bio: Lovelady would excel in any classification. He scored 35 points against 3A Spanaway Lake, and no other individual broke for 30 in a game against the Sentinels. Lovelady is a three-time 2B Pacific MVP and signed with Point Loma (Calif.). He has more than 1,505 career points and 1,000 rebounds, led Life Christian to a 79-6 record in his four years and is averaging 23.1 points, 13.6 rebounds. 6.1 assists and 4.2 blocks this season (and had a 3.6 GPA).
What coach Mark Lovelady says: “Luke is a high-character kid who fills up the stat sheet, is a leader with his teammates and is easily one of the most unselfish players I have coached.”
Kentwood High School
Guard, 6-0, senior
Bio: District championships, regionals, Tacoma Dome, state championship game — there’s nothing LuBom hasn’t seen in Washington high school basketball. The two-time league MVP has the physical strength on the wing like Rodney Stuckey did at Kentwood. LuBom goes by the nickname “ROE.” It stands for Run Over Everybody, which started in middle school as a football player. The four-year varsity starter is averaging 15 points, four assists, and four rebounds and also earned the 4A NPSL Cascade’s defensive player of the year.
What coach Blake Solomon says: “Darius is a pit bull. Physically you can’t knock him off his spot and he can knock you off of yours. He will switch onto bigs — he can guard 1-4. … Strong, physical, great handles and makes big shots.”
EMMITT MATTHEWS JR.
Wilson High School
Forward, 6-foot-7, junior
Bio: You can see why so many have raved about Matthews. His length and athleticism pass all of the eye tests. The left-hander isn’t afraid to shoot from just about anywhere on the court and he’s averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds a game. But what has taken him to another level this year is his strength. No longer just long and lanky, Matthews added about 10 pounds of muscle in the past year.
What coach Dave Alwert says: “One — his athleticism. Then two — his drive. He wants to be a great player. He has really taken advantage of the weight room, and you’re seeing the growth. He’s able to get position on defensive rebounds and he’s not getting pushed under, yet he’s still a prototypical guard.”
All-Area player of the year
Foss High School
Forward, 6-5, senior
Bio: Gittens outsoars everybody — whether it’s Markelle Fultz in a dunk contest at the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational in Oregon, or the entire 2A classification (he had 79 dunks this season). But there’s so much more to the Boise State commit than his athleticism. His court vision, ball handling and versatility — combined with that daunting strength and leaping ability — take his game to another level. Gittens is averaging 22 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and two blocks per game.
What coach Mike Cocke’ says: “People rave about his athleticism, but he’s a complete basketball player. We play him at the point, we play him at the five, we play him at the three. He’s our best passer, he’s our best screener, he’s our best scorer. He makes everyone around him so much better.”
Coach of the year
Lincoln High School
Bio: This year, with this group, Shelton has fallen in love with basketball all over again. He’s coached his alma mater, Lincoln, to a 25-0 record — the best start to a season since 1976, when the Abes reached the state title game — and its fifth league title in a row. And Lincoln has done so with a starting five of all juniors and by spreading the wealth. That’s meant multiple games where every player on the Abes’ deep bench has scored.
ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM
Rayvaughn Bolton, Kentwood, sr.
TJ Mickelson, Capital, sr.
John Moore, Curtis, sr.
Marcus Stephens, Federal Way, sr.
Erik Stevenson, Timberline, jr.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677