Taylor Groves delivered on his unfinished business.
The Ole Miss football signee returned to East Robertson basketball with hopes of bringing the school its first state title since 1989. Groves made good on his end of the deal, and it earned him The Connection’s All-Robertson County Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
His teammate and cousin, Elijah Groves, won the county’s Defensive Player of the Year as well. East Robertson coach Kurt Caton took home Coach of the Year honors.
The All-Robertson County boys basketball team is made up of players from five schools: East Robertson, Greenbrier, Jo Byrns, Springfield and White House Heritage. White House players will be named to the All-Sumner County team.
Nominations and statistics were pulled from all five head coaches, and The Connection staff made final decisions on awards.
The full team is listed below:
Player of the Year: Taylor Groves, East Robertson senior
Resume: 22.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, District 8-1A MVP, Class 1A Tournament MVP
Is there anything Taylor Groves can’t do? After an impressive six-game senior season on the gridiron, the four-star safety put together one of the greatest basketball seasons in Robertson County history. He averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and two assists in three state tournament games to lead East Robertson to its first state championship in over 30 years.
Defensive Player of the Year: Elijah Groves, East Robertson sophomore
Resume: 10.7 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.4 SPG, 1 BPG, Class 1A All-Tournament Team
Elijah Groves will be remembered for his game-winning shot in the Class 1A quarterfinals for quite some time, but his defense shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Groves averaged two blocks and two steals a game in the state tournament, and his three-steal, two-block effort in the championship helped limit state runner-up Peabody to a season-low 42 points.
Team of the Year: Greenbrier
Resume: 25-5 season, District 9-3A runner-up
The Indians could easily sweep all four awards, but Greenbrier’s historical season does deserve some credit. The Bobcats started the year 17-1 and were ranked as the sixth-best Class 3A team in the final statewide Associated Press basketball rankings.
Greenbrier finished 5-1 in county play and were one win shy of tying a school record for wins in a season. The school set new marks for longest winning streak (15), made 3-pointers in a game (13), individual blocks in a game (Derek Taylor, 6) and individual steals in a season (Jayce Mangrum, 60).
Coach of the Year: Kurt Caton, East Robertson
Resume: 27-6 season, Class 1A state championship.
While the talent certainly helped Kurt Caton in coaching his first state championship team, his staff set up an epic turnaround for East Robertson in late December. The Indians sat at 5-5 before a players-only meeting and Caton’s staff led East Robertson to win 22 of its final 23 games.
All-County First Team:
G – Jayce Mangrum, Greenbrier junior
Stats: 12.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2 SPG, District 9-3A MVP
G – Jordan Barnard, East Robertson senior
Stats: 7.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, Class 1A All-Tournament Team
F – Daniel Bale, White House Heritage senior
Stats: 21.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2 BPG, District 9-2A MVP
F – Keimarian Flair, Springfield junior
Stats: 14.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, All-District 13-4A
F – Bryson Merrill, Greenbrier senior
Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, All-District 9-3A
All-County Second Team:
G – Keyshawn Robinson, Springfield senior
Stats: 11.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, All-District 13-4A
G – Brayden Rector, Greenbrier senior
Stats: 10.8 PPG, 3 RPG, 3.2 APG, All-District 9-3A
F – Nolan Carson, Greenbrier sophomore
Stats: 8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2 APG, All-District 9-3A
F – Kenny Tolliver, Jo Byrns junior
Stats: 16 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 SPG, All-District 8-1A
F – Derek Taylor, Greenbrier senior
Stats: 7.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG
All-County Honorable Mention:
G – Taylor Head, Jo Byrns junior
Stats: 10 PPG, 3 RPG, All-District 8-1A
G – Taye Francis, White House Heritage senior
Stats: 6 PPG, 5 RPG, 4.7 APG, All-District 9-2A
G – Malik Harrell, Springfield junior
Stats: 9.1 PPG, 2 APG
F – Mason Eidson, East Robertson junior
Stats: 6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1 APG
F – Hayden Thompson, White House Heritage junior
Stats: 11.2 PPG, 5 RPG (20 Games)
F – Zech Prince, East Robertson junior
Stats: 6.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, All-District 8-1A