By Kevin Posival
The Cove Herald
Not many freshman can come in and make an impact at the varsity level.
Copperas Cove's Rashard Odomes had no trouble with the task.
Odomes, who averaged 17.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 assists, led the Bulldawgs to a fifth-place finish in the 12-5A standings, but had them right in the mix for a playoff berth with two games to go.
For that instant impact Odomes was named the District 12-5A newcomer of the year Wednesday.
Senior Trivez Tucker was a second-team selection for the Bulldawgs, as well.
"To be able to come in as a 14- 15-year-old kid and play with 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids is amazing, especially with the composure that he has," Cove coach Billy White said of Odomes. "He never seemed to get ruffled out there; it never really seemed to bother him to play in tough spots. But, that's what happens when you're a natural at something."
Chris Runnels, a 6-foot-3 senior, averaged 15.5 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive), and 2.5 blocks per game, earning District 12-5A's defensive player of the year award Wednesday when the all-district teams were released.
"We're a man-to-man defensive team and we try to pride ourselves on keeping the ball in front of us and helping on the perimeter," Shoemaker coach Marc Minatrea said. "I think Chris got noticed because he caught a lot of our mistakes by blocking shots and, on offense, he hit some shots ... and then he would go back and get the defensive rebound."
Ojai Black (Ellison), Thomas Cherry (Harker Heights), Daniel Mills (Belton) and Cory Scott (Copperas Cove) were all first-team selections along with Temple's Avery Polchinski.
Cherry averaged 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals a game for a Knights and was one three Heights all-district seniors - CJ Rodriguez and Trumell McCrimmon were both second-teamers - that had the Knights in contention for a second-straight district title late in the season.
"They were three seniors that we really depended on and those guys pretty much carried us the whole year," said Heights coach Celneque Bobbitt. "I had only one (returning starter) that came back after that regional team that we had the year before. ... I thought it would be awesome for us to finish in the top-4 and in all actuality, we finished 12-2 again this year, just like we did last year to win the championship."
Ellison was an even bigger unknown with only Black, who averaged 17.2 points and five assists a game, returning from last year's regional quarterfinal playoff team.
"It was a lot of pressure on him - he went from being the lone sophomore on the varsity (in 2011) to being the man on the varsity all in one year," Ellison coach Alberto Jones said. "That was a tough transition for a kid, but I thought he did a good job at it for us."
Along with second-team juniors Malik Hawkins and James Jessie, Black led the Eagles to their 18th-straight playoff appearance.
Mills averaged 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and nearly a block a game to lead the Tigers this season.
A&M Consolidated senior Alex Caruso was the District 12-5A MVP and Consolidated coach Rick German picked up the coach of the year title.