By Matt Nestor
It was a banner year for the NIC-10 in basketball this season.
Auburn won a regional and sectional title, and was a game away from going down state. East won a regional title and was seconds away from winning their sectional.
The awards are continuing to roll in after the season, this time on an individual level as different parties release their all-state team.
Leading the way from the conference, as he did for much of the season, was Auburn guard and conference MVP Fred Van Vleet.
The Knights’ junior point guard was the only player named on the Daily Herald’s All-State team, which is put together by a panel of writers, making it as an honorable mention candidate.
Van Vleet was also named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state team, making it on the second team in class 4A.
“I do what the team needs me to do,” Van Vleet said of his balanced play this season. “When I have to score, I have to score. And when I need to get my teammates involved, that’s what I do.”
Joining Van Vleet was Boylan senior Armani Flannigan, who was named to the third team on the coaches’ all-state team.
“He’s established himself as an All-State player,” coach Steve Goers said about his senior forward.
Six different players were named special mention to the IBCA team. Boylan senior Chris Miller, East senior Alonte Holliday, Belvidere North senior Brandon Schwebke and Freeport senior Luke Norman all made the squad.
They were joined by Auburn’s breakout junior LaMark Foote, which will give the Knights two all-state caliber players back next season.
“This is a young man that plays at both ends of the floor against bigs and smalls,” coach Bryan Ott said. “He and Fred work really well together, and that tandem was really critical to our success.”