The 2000-01 basketball season belonged to Blackville-Hilda and Barnwell.
By capturing the Class A State title, Blackville-Hilda girls coach Farrell Zissette once again earned The Augusta Chronicle's South Carolina All-Area girls coach of the year honors.
With the Lady Hawks' 72-63 win over Scott's Branch, Zissette recorded his second state-title three-peat with a 27-1 performance at Blackville-Hilda.
One of Zissette's star players, Keisha Jones, was named South Carolina girls player of the year. Jones averaged 15.8 points, 5.4 steals and 8.9 assists per game.
The South Carolina boys coach of the year is Robert Jackson. In his first year with Barnwell after Andy Hallman resigned, Jackson guided his team to the third round of the Class AA state playoffs.
Barnwell point guard Orlando Rivera, who averaged 26.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game, along with Blackville-Hilda guard Nick Thomas, who averaged 24 points and seven boards per game, garnered South Carolina Co-Players of the Year honors.
Also named to the first team were Orlando Washington of North Augusta, Daniel Creech of Barnwell and Corey Wade of Midland Valley.
Washington was Region 3-AAAA's player of the year along with his All-State selection. He averaged 16 points a game after he was sidelined four months after wrist surgery.
Wade averaged 19.9 points and 10 rebounds per game in his final season with the Mustangs..
Creech, like Rivera, averaged more than 20 points (20.6) his senior year. He also averaged 12 boards per game and, according to Jackson, was the "driving force behind the team's success."
North Augusta's Jessica Parker, Ridge Spring-Monetta's Kimberly Mobley, South Aiken's Nicole Armstrong, and Aiken's Nola Grant were also named to the girls' all-area first team.
Parker was an essential player for the Yellow Jackets during her four-year career. She averaged 18.9 points per game and was an selected to the All-Region 3-AAAA and All-State teams.
Grant helped guide the Lady Hornets to the playoffs with her 17.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Armstrong also helped the Lady Thoroughbreds - who were picked to finish last in their region - to a fourth-place finish and a spot in the state playoffs.
Mobley averaged close to 18 points for the Region 1-A champs and was named region player of the year as well as making the All-State and All-Region teams. Ridge Spring-Monetta lost to Blackville-Hilda in the third round of the playoffs.
Thomas eclipsed 1,000 points for his two-year career at Blackville-Hilda and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the Palmetto state while guiding the Hawks to the state playoffs the last two years.
The girls second team consists of Ebony Jones (Aiken), Brandi Holloway (Ridge Spring-Monetta), Melanie Johnson (Barnwell), Tiffany Hagood (Blackville-Hilda) and Roshunna Dennis (McCormick).
The boys second team is Antwan Leaphart (Ridge Spring-Monetta), Donnell Williams (Allendale-Fairfax), Daniel Walker (Bamberg-Ehrhardt), Terrance Smith (South Aiken) and Derris Marshall (Strom Thurmond).
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