MOUNT HOLLY – In a deep, talented conference that featured a pair of the best senior wings in the state, Mountain Island Charter’s Demetrius Washington, a junior, earned PAC 7 Player of the Year honors.
Washington, affectionately known as “Meech” by his teammates, led a balanced offensive attack for the Raptors, averaging 15.2 points per game. Washington shot 53 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range.
Scoring is his strong suit, but Washington displayed a well-rounded game during his junior season, ranking second on the team and top 10 in the conference with 2.2 assists per game. Washington got it done on the defensive end of the court as well, tying for fourth in the conference with an average of 1.8 steals per game.
“What makes Demetrius the player he is is not only his offensive efficiency, his handles and his ability to get to the rim, but also his defensive intensity and awareness,” Mountain Island coach Robert Price said. “Team defense is a forgotten art of basketball, and it was awesome to watch Meech and the rest of the team grow and learn the art of team defense.”
Washington also led the team with 46 steals and 16 blocked shots.
“Find me another point guard in the league leading his team in steals and blocks and I’ll be impressed,” Price said. “He also has the ability to guard every team’s best player, no matter the position.”
Washington turned in some of his best performances against the strongest competition in the conference.
He delivered 23 points against Pine Lake Prep in January, one week after scoring a season-high 26 points to go with 5 rebounds and 5 assists against Union Academy. Washington also stepped up in a pair of losses to the conference champions from Community School of Davidson, scoring 23 in both games, including in a season-ending loss in the second round of the playoffs, with 6 and 7 steals in those games, respectively.
“The PAC 7 boasted five teams in the top 20 in the state in 1A basketball, so our conference games were outstanding and a great challenge every night out,” Price said. “The top teams in our conference were all senior-led this year, while we started three sophomores and two juniors.”
Washington, along with Price in his first year as head coach, helped lead Mountain Island to a 17-8 overall record, including a 10-4 mark in conference play, with the Raptors finishing in a three-way tie for second place with Pine Lake and Queen’s Grant. The Raptors were especially staunch in Mount Holly, winning 11 of 12 on their home court.
“The loss to CSD in the playoffs and our double-overtime loss in the semifinals of the conference tournament are the fuel we’re burning this offseason,” Mountain Island assistant coach Vidal Nesbitt said. “The beauty of this group of guys is that the morning after the loss to CSD they already wanted to start offseason workouts in preparation for next year.”
Expectations are high for next season, Price added.
“Demetrius and co-captain Anthony Phillips will lead the team as rising seniors, along with returning sophomores Gabe Stephens, Marquis Williams, Kai Hansen and Najee Steward,” Price said.