This year's boys basketball season proved to be the end of an era for Clay County teams.
Both Northview and Clay City graduated a bevy of talented seniors that provided more than their fair share of victories for each squad.
Together, the two teams combined to win 108 games over the past three seasons with Northview averaging 21 wins per year and the Eels tallying 15 per season.
A group of seven seniors finished their career at Northview this year with six earning their diplomas from Clay City. So it's not hard to figure out why this year's All-County Team is an All-Senior affair.
Indiana State-bound Logan Whitman leads the group as the 2003-04 Player of the Year in Clay County.
Whitman finished his Northview career as the school's 2nd All-time scorer with a total of 1,699 points over 93 games. His career average of 18 points a game helped him earn second team All-State status following a berth on the Junior All-State Team last season.
One of the best perimeter shooters in the state, Whitman followed a junior season in which he drilled 94 3-pointers with a senior year that saw him knock down another 91 from long range. He also shot nearly 68 percent from 2-point range and over 43 percent from beyond the arc this season.
Besides scoring the ball, Whitman hauled down nearly five rebounds per contest this year and averaged more than four assists per game.
Next season, Whitman will continue his career as an Indiana State Sycamore where he will join former Clay City standout Elliott Booe on the roster.
While Whitman put up his share of points for the Knights, he was certainly not without company.
Forward Zack Keyes was a dominant force inside for the Knights his final two seasons of play despite being listed at only 6'3 on the roster.
His amazing ability to worm his way inside for points in the paint was aided immensely this season by a more consistent outside shot.
Keyes scored 20.9 points per game his junior season and followed that up with 20.3 ppg. in his senior season with a high game of 37 points.
From outside, Keyes drilled 43 3-pointers for Northview at a 40 percent clip. He would also lead the Knights in rebounding at six per game and contribute nearly three assists per contest.
Another 1,000 point career scorer for Northview, Keyes character and leadership were certainly as valuable as his points for the 2003-04 Knights who won the sectional championship.
A third Northview senior completes the Knight's contingent on this year's All-County squad as Josh Timm joins his teammates as a multi-faceted threat for the Knights.
Timm developed into a deadly shooter this season for Northview which was invaluable in the Knight's chase for the sectional crown.
The 6'3 guard averaged 14.3 ppg this season and was second on the team with 54 3-pointers.
His quickness of the dribble enabled him to free himself for jumpers in the lane and to find the open man inside or out. Defenses quickly realized that they often would have to provide help to defenders who were beaten by Timm on his drives. That 'helping defense' provided open looks for his teammates.
Timm lead the team in assists at 6.4 per game and chipped in three rebounds per game. He displayed an ability to take over a game at times and provided the team with a third scoring threat that stretched defenses most often beyond the breaking point.
While those three players provided the bulk of the stats in each game's boxscore, the success of the Knights was a product of a dedicated team who knew their roles on a squad that was stocked with talent. The group of seven seniors will be sorely missed for both their on court ability and their connections off the hardwood.
South on I-59, the Clay City Eels provided their own exciting brand of team-inspired basketball.
Coach Grant McVay's crew was fueled by six seniors who lead the team to a 16-win season this year.
With four very viable candidates for the All-County Team, the Eels made the decision even more difficult with a balanced lineup that saw three players average between 12 and 14 points per game. However, the two players and got the nod were a pair who simply provided that extra little bit that didn't always appear in the boxscores.
With a special nod to guards Jared Defore and Brock Roberts, the final starting slots on the All-County squad go to forwards Camrand Tucker and Roger Harden.
Harden was one of the Eel's three-leading scorers all season long and was also a top rebounder on the team for Clay City.
A great leaper, Harden helped ease the loss of forward Matt Farmer from the 2002-03 team.
Harden provided the Eels with a hard-nosed inside scorer whose physical strength was very rarely matched by Clay City opponents.
He averaged over six rebounds per game for the Eels along with double-digit scoring and combined with Tucker, often dominated opponents on the glass.
A prime example occurred Feb. 12 against the North Central Thunderbirds when Harden grabbed 15 rebounds and added 12 points while Tucker pulled down 10 boards and added 14 points. Overall, the Eels outrebounded North Central by a whopping 49 to 17 margin and won 73-46.
Though Tucker was regularly not the first option to score for the Eels, his seven rebounds per game led the team. His hustle and leadership were unmatched on the squad and his play enabled the Clay City guards to work freely without double-teams.
While Harden and Tucker received the nominations to the All-County Team, special considerations went to Roberts and Defore who had excellent seasons for the Eels and were very important cogs in the Clay City machine.
With a total of 13 seniors leaving Clay County programs, a youth movement begins next year for area basketball teams.