As the leading scorer in the conference, it’s no surprise that Carroll County junior Adam Horton has earned First-Team All-Conference 24 honors.
Horton is joined on the All-Conference 24 squad by Cavalier teammates Garret Haynes and Micah Johnson, both second-team selections, and Caden Hodges, who received a nod as honorable mention.
Carroll County (9-14, 3-11 River Ridge) finished with a losing record in 2017, yet the Cavaliers played well most of the season and had plenty of exciting moments. The team was competitive in most games, earned a first-round home game in the Conference 24 playoffs, and notched River Ridge District wins over Salem, Christiansburg and Patrick Henry. In particular, a 60-42 win on Senior Night over Patrick Henry was a huge moment for the Cavaliers as they avenged a 45-point loss to the Patriots earlier in the year.
A 6-6 junior forward, Horton had a huge campaign for the Cavaliers, leading Conference 24 in scoring with 17.2 points per game. It was a huge difference from Horton’s sophomore season when he scored 60 points the entire year. Horton also was a monster on the glass for Carroll, grabbing 7.4 rebounds per game, the second-highest total on the team.
“He just kind of had a huge year for us. We moved him around because he has the size to play inside, but he shot well enough to play outside and he also plays well off the dribble, so he played guard and forward for us,” Carroll County head coach Tee Jackson said. “He deserved to be first team. He worked so hard between last year and this year. I don’t know that I can ever remember a kid improving so much statistically from their sophomore year to their junior year.”
Just as important, Horton also came up with a ton of offensive rebounds this year. Additionally, he usually drew the assignment to guard the opposing team’s best player.
“A lot of Adam’s rebounds were offensive rebounds, which were just huge. We played a slower pace and possessions were so valuable to us,” Jackson said. “Another thing about Adam, he was our best defender and always guarded the other team’s best player. That takes a tremendous amount of energy to score the amount of points he did and guard the other team’s best player.”
A senior center, Haynes was a load inside for opposing defenses. He led the team with 8.1 rebounds and was second in scoring with 10.7 points per game. Haynes put up good numbers despite grabbing the attention of double-teams and the occasional triple-team inside because of his size and strength, which opened up more scoring opportunities for Horton.
“Most teams game-planned against him and he was the focal point of the defense. He had to deal with that a lot this year,” Jackson said of Haynes. “Last year he had Jordon Combs with him and that drew some attention. This year we was in the block a lot by himself. He got a lot of attention and was still able to have a good year. He had six double-doubles this year and shot 49 percent from floor.”
A three-year starter for Carroll at point guard, Johnson also earned second-team all-conference honors after a big senior season. Johnson was the Cavaliers’ third-leading scorer with 8.5 points per game. He also finished second in assists in the conference with 3.7 per contest. Generally, when Johnson was at the top of his game, Carroll was a tough out for opponents.
“Yeah, absolutely, stats don’t tell the whole story with Micah. He provided the intangibles for us from a leadership perspective and intangibles perspective. He really just set the tone for us each game. When he was playing well we were pretty tough,” Jackson said. “Micah started three years for us and he is just a quality kid. He is a great leader and kind of made things go for us all year. We are really going to miss him.”
Also a senior, Hodges garnered honorable mention all-conference accolades after averaging 8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
“Caden not only became a really good 3-point shooter for us, but physically with his size and athleticism he did a really good job on defense as well,” Jackson said. “He was a lot more confident player this year and I was really proud of how he played.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN