Congratulations to all of the Clarksdale Press Register All-Area basketball winners for 2020-21.
We did our best to try and recognize what each athlete had to offer and reward them accordingly. There is a lot of talent on the basketball court in Coahoma County.
What stood out to me about this season was our major award winners came from three different schools. Each of them faced unique challenges, but found ways to step up.
In recent years, the big awards have all gone to Coahoma County High School players and coaches. When both the boys and girls are competing for championships year after year, that is going to happen.
The Red Panthers earned their second consecutive title and fourth championship in five seasons.
Derrick Moore, clearly one of the best coaches I have ever seen at the high school level, once again won the boys coach of the year.
Red Panthers senior Jermell Daniels, a transfer from Coahoma Early College High School, was the MVP.
It was extra impressive this year for a new senior to have such an important role on the team.
With the COVID pandemic going on, the Red Panthers were only able to play a handful of games. Their practice time was limited, but that did not stop Daniels from making a difference.
Daniels made his mark the first game of the season when he connected on the game-winning shot at Clarksdale High School.
The Lady Red Panthers were in a transition year and did not have as good of a season as in the past, but other girls basketball teams stepped up. They faced similar obstacles.
Lee Academy senior Emily Moser was the girls MVP capping off an excellent season with 11 points in the MAIS All-Star Game.
Moser played much of the season injured, but she knew she had to step up since the Fillies lost four starters from the previous year.
Again, that was in the midst of the COVID pandemic where activity was limited and everyone had to be careful. Once the Fillies got into district play, those were the only games they played.
Clarksdale High School only played a handful of games because of COVID and was such a young team that two eighth graders saw significant action.
However, they managed to take second place in the district and host a playoff game.
That is a credit to coach Greg Wilson the reason he is our girls coach of the year.
As most people are getting vaccinated, hopefully, the schools will be able to hold normal summer practices, play the regular amount of games in 2021-22 and work together for a whole season.
That is promising for high school basketball in Coahoma County.
If, in the middle of the pandemic, we have the Coahoma County Red Panthers winning a state championship and other teams competing for titles, who knows what can happen next year?
Whatever happens, it would be nice if the holiday basketball tournaments are back once again next season.
Clarksdale and Coahoma County high schools usually host tournaments a little before Thanksgiving. Coahoma Early College High School has hosted a tournament around Christmas and the New Year.
Then, in the spring, hopefully, we will be cheering each other on all the way to the state tournaments.
But 2020-21 was not a normal year and we still saw success on the basketball court in Coahoma County.
That is a credit to our kids, coaches and the good people we have living here in Coahoma County. A job well done.