Area Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year In fact, the top honor didn't go to a coach who made it to the title game.
Handley's Jason Toton received the honor from his peers even though the Judges fell in the state semifinals. The scrappy Judges (26 3) made quite an impression on the other squads to make the state's Final Four. Handley lost by just a point to eventual state champion Loudoun Valley in the 4A West Regional finals. They also defeated state semifinalist George Washington Danville in the regional quarterfinals. In a Group 4A state semifinal loss to Jamestown, the Judges rallied from 13 points down and had two shots to win the game in the final seconds in a one point loss. Toton is no stranger to honors. In three of his four seasons, including this one, he's been named The Winchester Star's Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year. This season was one of the best in school history. The Judges opened the season with four straight wins before falling to 3A power Spotswood 67 63. They wouldn't lose again for more than two months. Handley would rip off 21 straight wins, including a 58 50 triumph at Spotswood. The Judges captured the Conference 21 West regular season and tournament titles on the coach online sale way to the state run. They played at a frenetic pace and used a balanced attack. His top seven players averaged at least five points per game and coach outlet sale vacaville no one averaged more than 13.7. It was a remarkable season for Toton's squad, which had gone 14 8 the previous season. The Judges return those top seven players next winter. What were your expectations coming into the season? Toton: To be honest, I didn't know if we'd get to the level that we got. That was my goal to get us to states. About halfway through the season, I started to see us progress more and more and I started seeing other teams in the region and where we matched up. Getting to the state level takes, I wouldn't say luck, but the ball has got to bounce your way a few times. You've got to do things throughout the season to put yourself into the best possible position at the end of the season. We talked about that with the guys. 'We can't afford losses here and here where it's going to put us in this scenario here.' I think the kids bought into and understood that. That's what got us to where we were at. My expectations were to get to state and once we got there I thought we had a chance. We got beat by Jamestown (66 65) and Loudoun Valley (64 63) by one and at the end of both games it could have went either way. I was really proud of the determination and guts that the kids had throughout the season. Was there a win that was most memorable? Toton: Maybe the most memorable was the George Washington game in the regional semifinals. We knew going into that game where we would sit [in the state tournament] and where we were going. To be down 12 points going into the fourth quarter, we got after it defensively for a few minutes and made some big shots. That was probably the biggest win (62 58) of the season. Was there a player who surprised you most? Toton: A lot of them did. The kid that surprised me a lot and doesn't get recognized as much is Ra'Shaad Morris. Last year, he played for us but didn't play very many minutes at all. I was hoping that he would step in this year and play a big role. After D'andre James went down, Ra'Shaad stepped up and played our No. 5 spot really well. He's long, athletic and can do a lot of things. He jumps fairly well. He's got good hands and can catch and shoot it. He can get stickbacks and can come out and shoot a three. Defensively, he gets after it because he is so long. What was the season's most difficult moment? Toton: Two of the last three games from a sense of losing close games like that. At Loudoun Valley, we put ourselves in position to win and we didn't do some things right that shouldn't have gotten to that point. And, the same thing with the Jamestown game. Those were difficult losses, but hopefully they were losses that are teaching moments. What are your expectations for next year? Toton: Obviously, they're going to be pretty high. We've got 11 guys coming back. All five starters and the reserves are coming back. There's coach outlet stores in illinois a few kids off the JV team that I think can come up and help and step in. I'm going to challenge us. I don't know record wise if we might be the same as what we were this coach outlet purses younkers year because I'm looking to put together a schedule that's going to challenge us early that I think will benefit us later on. Obviously, we want to get back to the regional and state level.
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