Wakefield #22
Wakefield's Carlton Young burst on the scene this year to lead the Warriors to a Liberty title.

Boys Liberty District Recap and All-District Team

The Liberty District has been Marshall’s the last few years, and we had the Statesmen as the favorite this year, albeit a slight one. We weren’t shocked that Wakefield won the regular season or the district tournament, but it was impressive how the Warriors did it. Tony Bentley’s team went 21-5 and won the district regular season race by two games over Marshall.

His team was fairly dominant in the district, going 10-2. Bentley was named Coach of the Year in the Liberty, and the Player of the Year was Carlton Young. A few notable transfers from Florida made their mark in Northern Virginia this year, perhaps none bigger than Young. The 6’4″, 225-pound forward averaged just under 20 points a game, and added 8.9 rebounds per game to boot. With good footwork, Young was unstoppable in the paint and was also selected to the VHSL Class 6 All-State Team.

As dominant as Young could be, Wakefield’s good year was due to a number of factors. Athletic 6’5″ Miles Hancock, another senior, was very good attacking the rim as well. Senior BJ Willis was again nails tough on defense and a team leader, while young guards Kevin McLinton, Jr. (Fr.)  and Jeremiah Poole (So.) made huge strides offensively and defensively. All of them garnered various All-Liberty honors.

Marshall didn’t win the Liberty but still had a good year, as expected. Also as expected, the Statesmen were powered by their fantastic triumvirate of senior guards: Jason Penn, Jose Fudd, and Omar Phillips. Penn was Liberty District First Team, while Fudd and Phillips were second team. Fudd, who will play at Mary Washington next year, was the district Defensive Player of the Year.

Caffery Eaton of McLean distinguished himself with his versatility on both offense and defense this season.

McLean, which finished a game behind Marshall tied with Yorktown, also had a trio of seniors propel the team. Forward Isaac Bell and guard Jeremy Fuchs were first team selections, while the versatile Caf Eaton made second team. The Highlanders had an up-and-down season, partially due to injury, but when they were on, they were on. McLean won the Fairfax Holiday Tournament, with Fuchs leading the way as a prolific scorer, and the athletic Bell anchoring things down low.

The other senior to make first team was guard Ryan Bradshaw of Langley. The Saxons may have finished fifth in the district, but they had some very memorable moments in 2023-2024, including a season sweep of rival McLean. Bradshaw averaged 23 points in those court-storming wins.

Herndon and Washington-Liberty finished at the bottom of the Liberty, but had their moments as well. Each placed two players on the All-Liberty teams, with junior Toby Haire making first team for Herndon. Haire is a great building block next year as the Hornets continue to improve, and long-time Coach Bobby Dobson always has the Generals competitive, though losing clutch Matt Bristol will hurt.

Ryan Bradshaw handled point guard and still poured in points for the Saxons in 2023-2024.

It was an intriguing year in the Liberty where its teams registered some big wins. Still, it was a disappointing postseason for the district, as only Wakefield made it to the Northern Region Semifinals. The Warriors fell there, which meant no district teams advanced to states. With a ton of key seniors graduating, things might be just as tough in the Northern Region against the Concorde next year.

Yorktown, which finished tied for third in the district, figures to be very strong next year, however. Joe Keimig’s team has four players listed below–none of them seniors. Liberty First-Teamer Andrew Maria is already one of the region’s better guards, and sophomore Jake Coulam is the latest Coulam to make a name for himself at Yorktown. With Honorable Mentions Austin Barbieri and Brennan Pilot also back next season, plus others, the Patriots might be the favorites next season in the Liberty.

–Chris Jollay

Liberty Boys

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