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DIVISION I HONORS: Falcons’ Smith named Southeast boys MVP

Foothill boys basketball coach Kevin Soares realized how important Elijah Smith was to the Falcons during the summer.

“We were at our team camp at San Diego State, and we were leading by 20 points when Elijah got into an altercation with one of the players from the other team,” Soares said. “We ended up losing the game.”

The versatile Smith, who helped the Falcons (22-6) win their fourth Southeast League title in the past five years, was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

The 6-foot-2-inch senior finished the regular season second on the team in scoring (12.3 points per game), rebounding (5.5) and assists (2.8). Smith also averaged a team-best 2.9 steals.

“He’s probably one of the best teammates these kids have played with,” said Soares, the Southeast’s Coach of the Year. “He was very, very important to our team and our success this year.”

Smith limited high-scoring guard Devin Watson of Army and Navy Academy (Calif.) to 21 points in a 62-55 victory in the championship game of the Foothill Holiday Classic on Jan. 4. Watson, one of the top players in California in the Class of 2014, torched Desert Pines for 41 points the previous day.

In the first round of the Division I Sunrise Region playoffs, Smith scored 40 points in an 89-69 victory over Green Valley. He had 24 points in a 62-55 loss to Valley in a region semifinal.

“He scores, he rebounds, he defends, he can play the point guard,” Soares said. “He was the most valuable player on our team, bar none.

“He does what he has to do to help the team win. That speaks a lot about the kid.”

Valley’s Ryan Johnson and Las Vegas’ Juwan Major were named co-MVPs of the Northeast League. Brian Farnsworth of Valley and Jason Wilson of Las Vegas, whose teams tied for the league title with 8-2 records, shared Coach of the Year honors in the Northeast.

In the Sunset Region, Centennial guard Marcus Allen was named MVP of the Southwest League. The Stanford-bound senior is No. 2 in the area in scoring at 28.2 points per game and helped the Bulldogs (22-9) reach the Division I state tournament for the first time since 2002.

Centennial’s Todd Allen, no relation, was the Southwest’s Coach of the Year.

Justin Burks of Arbor View claimed the Northwest League MVP award after guiding the Aggies (20-8) to the first league title in school history. The 6-6 junior averaged 21.2 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Arbor View’s Kyle Hageness was the Northwest’s Coach of the Year.

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