As the 2007 Columbia County Tip Off Tournament wrapped up at Greenbrier High School last week, the all-tournament teams were named. One by one, a starting roster's worth of stars were honored after the boys and girls championship games.
The final awards came when a girls tournament MVP and a boys tournament MVP were announced. Greenbrier senior Nikki Calloway and Evans sophomore Tony Davis took home the top individual trophies.
Neither player looked all that impressive in the box scores. Calloway scored only six points in the girls championship game. Davis only had two in the boys title game. It was no fluke. They've rarely topped double digits in a varsity game.
Sometimes value can't be judged by points alone.
"To me, Nikki Calloway is the ultimate team player," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "She's the spitting image of Brittany Leverett. She takes her God-given ability and utilizes it. She's got a knack of being where the ball is."
It's the same situation at Evans when Davis takes the court. Eight other Evans players scored just as much if not more than he did in the championship game against Greenbrier, but no one beat him out when it came to effort.
"He's one of the hardest-working kids I've ever coached," Evans coach Kevin Kenny said. "He's just a blue-collar worker. I know it's a cliche, but with him it's true."
It was those two efforts that were honored above all else in last week's games. It was a fitting finish to a two-day tournament won in a different way than usual.
Greenbrier's girls typically have taken the top prize by simply fielding a starting roster with five better athletes than any other team in the county. The talent gap appeared more narrow this year, and the Lady Wolfpack had to turn to teamwork and determination to pull off another championship. That's what made Calloway's unselfish play so valuable.
I just thought it was a total team effort," Black said. "It's going to take that this year."
The same situation was evident on the Evans bench. The Knights played with three starters unavailable because of the ongoing football season and were without some of their top talent. That made Davis' hustle that much more important.
"He doesn't care if he scores. He's just going to go hard every play," Kenny said. "He's only a 10th grader so we'll be expecting big things the next three years from him."
Both efforts were worthy of tournament MVP recognition. Davis said it was just another routine day of high school basketball.
"That's what's expected," he said. "Coach (Kenny) expects us to go full speed every play, so that's what I do."
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