TEXARKANA — Arkansas High senior guards Kyndal Martin and Taviron Oliver walked away with the hardware Monday night at the Texarkana Razorback Athletic Foundation All Sports Award banquet.
Martin was named the Abe Dempsey Award winner while Oliver was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
The team awards are part of a magnificent curriculum vitae the two guards put together in 2016-17 as they were also named All-Conference in the 6A West, All-State, named to the Arkansas All-Star team, and will soon be named co-players of the year for the Texarkana area.
However, head coach Sam Weaver, who led to the Razorbacks to their first 21 win season in decades in his inaugural season, highlighted the team accomplishments at the banquet.
“This team went from two conference wins a year ago to 14 conference wins this year,” said Weaver. “This team was ranked as high as 12th in the state in 6A at one point. And they were in the top-25 pretty much for a three-month period overall. They finished second in the conference this year and that was with a tough El Dorado team that enabled them to finish second in the league. After conference tournament, this team was ranked fourth in the state, finishing second on the south side.”
The Razorbacks also had their first ever sellout at Razorback Gymnasium, according to Weaver, on January 26 when the team hosted El Dorado in a rematch after an overtime loss down in El Dorado. The Hogs prevailed 64-61 and knocked off the 42nd team in the nation.
Most of all, Coach Weaver thanked the parents for their support.
“I want to thank the parents of all these young men,” Weaver said. “I think the guys got more excited when they started seeing parents sitting up there than they did about winning.”
The Hogs’ climb back to the top will be fraught with lesson-learning and experience-building as the only returning player from the team that featured nine seniors is junior forward Fabian Phillips.