GREENSBORO — It’s a rare honor for a high school to have a player selected for the East-West All-Star Basketball Game, an annual event that has been hosted by the North Carolina Coaches’ Association since 1949.
Even more extraordinary is if a school manages to have two players chosen in the same season, particularly if the school in question isn’t a 4A powerhouse. But North Surry beat the odds when this year’s West All-Stars for the July 17 game were announced.
Greyhound seniors Mason Hawks and Carter Phillips were two of the 10 players chosen to the squad, which was announced by the NCCA on Saturday evening. They were the only players from the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference chosen to the team.
Hawks, a 6’1” guard who has signed with Lenoir-Rhyne University, and Phillips, a 6’3” forward who is bound for Catawba University in the fall, led North Surry to the 2A state championship game during winter. The Greyhounds posted a 27-5 season, won the WPAC regular-season and tournament titles, and then won five state playoff games before falling to Northside-Jacksonville in the championship game on March 11 at Reynolds Coliseum.
Phillips, who averaged 22.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, was named as the 2016-17 WPAC Player of the Year. Hawks, who averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists in his senior season, had won the same honor the year before.
The same week that Phillips and Hawks led North Surry to the state finals, they were named to the All-District 11 Team by the North Carolina Basketball Coaches’ Association, with Phillips named as the District Player of the Year.
The duo, along with fellow senior Kendal Tucker, who chose a college baseball scholarship as opposed to basketball, were four-year varsity players who helped the Hounds ascend from nine wins in the season before their arrival to conference champions in their sophomore season. North won 79 games in the four seasons that the trio suited up for the school.
Both a men’s and a women’s East-West Game are played. No local players were chosen for the women’s game, and it would have been a surprise if any had, since the top players in the area this season weren’t yet seniors. However, in addition to Hawks and Phillips, Zaire Williams of Winston-Salem Prep was chosen to the West men’s squad.
The last time three players from the region were chosen to the same team was in the 2012 women’s game, where Mount Airy’s Jordan Hiatt, North Surry’s Morgan Midkiff and Paige Love of Wilkes Central were all chosen to the West team that season. Love led the team with 15 points and won MVP honors in an 82-65 win over the East.
The games will be played at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., respectively, on July 17 at the Greensboro Coliseum, which has been the venue for this event since it opened in 1960. The last two games have been won by the East team, including a 118-98 win last season.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.