Updated: March 5, 2023 10:56 AM to include additional details about Coach Dr. Brian Smith and the boy’s basketball team.
Every year, outstanding athletes from the girls and boys basketball teams are nominated for the the All-Region award. All-region individual coaches (Easley, Westside, Greenwood, Berea, Greenville, and Pickens) each nominated 4-5 players. The coaches from these 6 schools then vote on a total of 12 players to be named All-Region for the year. That is, 12 boys and 12 girls.
The All-Region is a way to acknowledge the kids who have done really, really well through the eyes of the other coaches in the region. This year, 4 players from EHS were selected for the honor.
According to the head coach of the girls basketball team, Ivan Raymond, all 5 varsity starters deserved the nominations. Even though all the starter’s numbers improved through the season, what made them excellent was not just the numbers. What mattered more were the numbers that translated to wins. The girls were playing to win, not to just put up impressive statistics. They were helping each other on the court, playing good defense, and doing so many other things that led to wins for EHS.
For example, Kimbel Leach was nominated for her exceptional defense. She was always tasked with guarding the opposing teams’ best players. Mattison Hayes was recognized as a ‘double-digit machine’ by the other coaches in the region. It became expected that she would go out and get double digit points and rebounds. Reagan Horn was known for her improvement throughout the season. In the last month of the season, everything came together and she became a very strong, consistent player.
Speaking of wins, Easley girls’ basketball team had its best season since 1993, finishing 18 and 7 co-region. Raymond credits the team assistant coach Vivian Nguyen with the success of the season as well. In two years Nguyen has been on staff, the team had its best two years in the program.
The boys basketball team struggled more this season ending with a 6 and 19. Coach Brian Smith stepped in as interim coach in January. He was on staff for 3 years as lead assistant coach for the previous coach Michael Jones. Dr. Brian Smith is also a dean at Tri-County Tech and has over 25 years of coaching experience including 13 years as a head coach. He’s coached all the players on the team with the exception of Jackson Conley for three years.
EHS plans to recruit for the position now that basketball season is over.
Despite everything, Todd Williams was able to impress the regional coaches with his scores and sportsmanship. He ended his senior season with 167 points, 70 assists, and 56 rebounds. Two other players were nominated for the award, KC Chapman and Kaleb Owens. Dr. Brian Smith made the recommendation for all 3, but all of the coaches voted at the season ending meeting and Todd Williams was selected for the region.
What’s next for the graduating seniors? All are heading to college, but not for basketball. The athletes are also exceptional students and well rounded in many areas including academics. The underclassmen are currently going through post-season evaluations. This is when they do a self- evaluation on how their basketball season went, and create a plan with the coaches on what to work on in the off-season.
For Coach Raymond, a great season is just the beginning. He begins the work immediately after the last game to figure out how to perform even better next season. Having a clear, shared vision between the coach and athlete is a great way to set up the players, and the team, for future success.