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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Southeast Missouri's New Year Awards

Thursday, January 2, 2003

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to min'?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days o' lang syne?

Now that 2003 is upon us, it's time to hand out Southeast Missouri's annual New Year Awards.

Top team: Poplar Bluff Mules

At this point, Poplar Bluff is the obvious choice. With a 10-1 record, the Mules are off to their best start in 14 years. They've posted quality wins over Vashon, Dexter, Blytheville and Sikeston.

Top offensive team: Poplar Bluff Mules

Tony Webb, Tyler Hansbrough, Cheron Pearson and now Desi Higgs. The Mules have four players capable of carrying the offense, along with several quality role players.

Top defensive team: Charleston Bluejays

How good is Charleston's defense? Just ask Notre Dame. Against a solid schedule, the Bluejays have allowed 56 points a night through 12 games.

Surprise team: Scott City Rams

With no proven stars, Scott City is off to a sensational start. The Rams beat Oran, Advance and played Notre Dame and Jackson down to the wire using a balanced attack.

Top offensive player: Eric Henry, Bell City

The Cubs are averaging 81 points per game, and Henry is the biggest reason why. He can score from any spot on the floor.

Top defensive player: Kewain Gant, Charleston

Standing 6-foot-8, Charleston's Gant is the biggest defensive presence in the area. He is never out of position and is very quick for his size.

Top rebounder: Lontas McClinton, Sikeston

McClinton uses his strength and athleticism to bully opponents in the paint and grab every rebound in sight.

Top 3-point shooter: Chris Springer, Caruthersville

Springer squeaks past Doniphan sharpshooter Danny Kellas for this one. His outside shot is what makes Caruthersville such a dangerous team.

Most underrated: Preston Clark, Dexter

Chris Hyten grabs all the headlines in Dexter, but Preston Clark is a big reason why the Bearcats have won six of their last seven. He edges out Oran's underrated Patrick Friga.

Top shot blocker: Kewain Gant, Charleston

This was the easiest choice of them all. When it comes to blocking shots, nobody comes close to Gant this year.

Top senior: Lontas McClinton, Sikeston

Through the first month, McClinton has been the best player in the area. No team has an answer for him.

Top junior: Dominitrix Johnson, Bell City

Johnson beats out Cape Central standout Ryan Delph as the area's top junior. His dribble penetration sets up everything for the defending Class 1 state champs.

Top sophomore:Tyler Hansbrough, P. Bluff

Folks in Poplar Bluff already have reservations made for the Final Four, mostly due to the play of the 6-foot-8 Hansbrough. He gets the nod over 6-foot-6 Charleston stud Ashton Farmer.

Top freshman:Michael Lance, Twin Rivers

There are very few productive freshman in the area this year, but Lance is the exception. The 6-foot-1 southpaw is an impact player for Twin Rivers' 9-2 team.

Top coach: Kerry Thompson, Scott City

After finishing 11-14 last year, Thompson scrapped Scott City's traditional offense and defense in favor of his own system. The move has paid off so far, resulting in an unexpected 6-2 record.