Brenden Glapion, Johnny Mrlik and Noah Springwater really have a lot in common.
All three are left-handed guards, stone-cold scorers, senior leaders and candidates for city Player of the Year.
While Glapion averaged 23 points per game to lead Washington to its first Academic Athletic Association title in 29 years, and Springwater wrapped up a four-year varsity career as University’s top scorer in school history en route to three consecutive Bay Counties League West titles, no player carried his team quite like Mrlik.
He averaged 18.4 points per game on the season for St. Ignatius, and led the West Catholic Athletic League in scoring with more than 17 points per game in league. He led the WCAL in 3-pointers and free-throw percentage and set a league record for free throws made in a season.
Mrlik also had a distinct sense for the dramatic, with big showings in the Bruce-Mahoney game against Sacred Heart Cathedral and a shocking upset over eventual Division II state champion Mitty (one of just two losses for the Monarchs on the year).
That’s why he’s The San Francisco Examiner and SanFranPreps.com boys’ basketball Player of the Year.
Mrlik may have edged out a deep group of guards for Player of the Year, but the first team is loaded with talent and athleticism.
Glapion was Washington’s leading scorer all year, and Columbia-bound Springwater (The City’s only Division I recruit this season) dominated the stat sheet, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks per game.
Bucking the trend of solid guard play was Sacred Heart Cathedral junior forwards Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox, who led the Irish to a Central Coast Section title on the strength of their frontcourt play and imposing defense.
The pair could impact the momentum of a game with a thundering dunk just as much as a highlight-reel block.
Aaron Anderson, Riordan’s top scorer and rebounder, was also a lockdown defender. In a down year for the Crusaders, it’s hard to find another player who gave more effort on the floor, even when it meant playing against rival St. Ignatius with a debilitating sickness.
While the entire All-City team is ruled by mostly seniors, the favorites for next year’s Player of the Year are on our second team.
Johns and Fox should factor into the discussion, but just as it did this year, the fact that they play on the same team hurts their chances. But Marshall’s Theoatis Hill and St. Ignatius’ Stephen Domingo (both second team) will likely have to carry the load for their respective teams.
Domingo’s still-developing game should mature nicely, and Hill has already proven that he can carry the load, averaging a city-high 24.7 points per game this year, to go along with nearly 13 rebounds per game.
Our selection for Coach of the Year was also a three-horse race.
Randal Bessolo led University to a second consecutive NorCal title game and Lincoln’s Matt Jackson took over the reins of the program after the sudden death of coach Mike Gragnani, coaching both the Lincoln varsity and junior varsity programs, but our nod goes to Mission coach Arnold Zelaya.
Along with the pitfalls that can accompany coaching at any public school in San Francisco, and after winning the AAA championship last year, Zelaya led an almost entirely new lineup back to the league championship game.
Player of the Year: Johnny Mrlik, senior, guard, St. Ignatius
Coach of the Year: Arnold Zelaya, Mission
Aaron Anderson, Senior, Guard, Riordan
Joshua Fox, Junior, Forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Brenden Glapion, Senior, Guard, Washington
Taylor Johns, Junior, Forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Noah Springwater, Senior, Guard, University
Stephen Domingo, Sophomore, Forward, St. Ignatius
Zio Enriquez, Senior, Guard, University
Theoatis Hill, Junior, Forward, Marshall
Jeremy Jetton, Senior, Guard, Washington
LeVander Moore, Senior, Center, Washington
Brian Benavides, Senior, Guard, International
Aaron Brown, Senior, Forward, Wallenberg
Jonathan Burnoski, Junior, Guard, Balboa
Francisco Chacon, Junior, Guard, Leadership
Terrance Ching, Junior, Guard, Burton
Nate Cohen, Sophomore, Forward, Urban
Kevork Demirjian, Senior, Center, Lincoln
Javaughn Duty, Senior, Forward, Drew
Gione Edwards, Junior, Forward, Mission
Henry Gale, Junior, Guard, Bay
Jonathan Gergen, Senior, Forward, Jewish Community
Kishan Jay, Senior, Forward, Lick-Wilmerding
Rahsaan Johnson, Senior, Forward, Stuart Hall
Antoine Porter, Sophomore, Guard, Mission
Herman Pratt, Sophomore, Guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Ricco Price, Senior, Forward, Lowell
Alexander Woodhouse, Junior, Forward, Waldorf
Chris Young, Junior, Guard, Lincoln