Journal-World’s 2020-21 all-area boys basketball team

photo by: Photos by Chance Parker

Lawrence High's Zeke Mayo (top) and Mike Lewis (bottom) were named all-area boys basketball player of the year and coach of the year following the 2020-21 season. Both photos are by Chance Parker of the Lawrence Journal-World.

Player of the year: Zeke Mayo, Lawrence High

Just like last year, Mayo dominated Lawrence’s high school hoops scene. He averaged 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals per contest this year, was named the Sunflower League Player of the Year and ended his high school career with a 41-point performance in the Class 6A semifinals. Mayo plans to continue playing in college at South Dakota State University.

Coach of the year: Mike Lewis, Lawrence High

Lewis was named the Sunflower League coach of the year after Lawrence won all 13 of its games during league play and secured a third consecutive league title. LHS also secured a program-record seventh straight state berth and made it to the final four at the Class 6A state tournament.

First-team selections

Rylee Beach, Tonganoxie — During his senior season, Beach led the league in assists with an average of 4.7 per game and shot 41% from deep. Beach also averaged 11.0 points in over 30 minutes per game.

photo by: Nick Krug/Joural World Photo

Free State’s Mozae Downing gets up to block the shot of a Wichita Heights player during the first half on Monday, March 8, 2021 at Free State High School.

Mozae Downing, Free State — The three-year starting point guard embraced a leadership role as a junior. He averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game, and he set a program record for most assists in a game — 11 — on Jan. 27.

photo by: Courtesy photo

Jaden Hamm, Eudora sophomore

Jaden Hamm, Eudora — The 6-foot-5 sophomore was a well-rounded player this season, pacing the Cardinals in rebounding with an average of 8.8 rebounds per game. He was also second in scoring with an average of 10.3 points. On defense, he recorded 1.5 blocks per game.

Sam Hertzog, Bishop Seabury — The Seahawks experienced a lot of roster turnover from last year’s team, but Hertzog stepped up to lead the way. He could play both guard and post and averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Free State’s Cooper Jackson gets in for a bucket against Wichita Heights’ during the second half on Monday, March 8, 2021 at Free State High School.

Cooper Jackson, Free State — Thanks to active hands and good length, Jackson set a program record for most steals in a season — 60 — while helping FSHS to a 20-4 record and a trip to the 6A semifinals. He also averaged 11.0 points and 3.0 assists per game.

photo by: Chance Parker

Lawrence junior forward Pearse Long takes a shot against Shawnee Mission Northwest. Lawrence won at home 51-38 on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

Pearse Long, Lawrence — Long emerged as one of Lawrence’s more reliable scoring options. The junior forward averaged 9.5 points per game, had the ability to knock down jump shots and could beat defenders off the dribble. Long scored a season-high 24 points against Mill Valley on 9-of-15 shooting and was named to the All-Sunflower League second team.

photo by: Courtesy photo

Will Rau, Veritas senior

Will Rau, Veritas — During his final season with the Eagles, Rau filled up the stat sheet on a nightly basis. He averaged 24.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.7 steals and 4.6 assists per game, and he led Veritas to a runner-up finish in the KCAA state tournament.

Heston Robbins, Tonganoxie — The Chieftains wouldn’t have won their first league title in 35 years without key producers like Robbins, a 6-foot-4 senior. He was the best defender inside and on the wing, and he also averaged 12.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and shot 62% from the floor.

photo by: Courtesy photo

Parker Stone, Perry-Lecompton

Parker Stone, Perry-Lecompton — The senior guard improved his numbers across the board during his final year with PLHS. He averaged 17.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

photo by: Courtesy photo

Colby Zimmerman, Baldwin senior

Colby Zimmerman, Baldwin — In his final year with Baldwin, Zimmerman was a leader and set the standard for the team. He was the team’s best defender and worked hard all year, and he averaged 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game.

Honorable mention

Ty Abts, Eudora; Gunner Ball, Perry-Lecompton; Will Bartkoski, Veritas; Brennan Clements, Veritas; Kaden Doleman, Perry-Lecompton; Jackson Dooley, Lawrence; Justin Fawcett, Eudora; Truman Juelsgaard, Lawrence; Cole Mahaffey, Baldwin; Avion Nelson, Lawrence; Andrew Piper, Free State; Blake Poje, Tonganoxie.

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