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3 stars vie for Gooden Award

Blackmon Jr.

The list of final candidates for the 2013 Tiffany Gooden Award isn’t long, but the three names have pretty impressive résumés.

The annual Gooden Award, named after the former Snider girls basketball star and All-American, has been presented since 1994 to the top girls or boys basketball player in the SAC.

Based on individual and team accomplishments, the top three candidates to emerge for the award are Northrop senior Bryson Scott and Bishop Luers junior James Blackmon Jr. on the boys’ side and South Side senior Ariana Simmons on the girls’ side.

The award will be presented a the basketball awards ceremony in IPFW’s Walb Ballroom on Monday that will also honor the 2013 All-SAC and All-Northeast Indiana teams.

The ceremony is co-sponsored by The Journal Gazette and SportONE Ortho Northeast.

James Blackmon Jr.

The Luers junior led the state in scoring with 33.2 points per game, while also compiling 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals.

The Indiana recruit bounced back from a knee injury that cut his sophomore season short and helped the Knights to a Class 2A sectional championship before losing in the regional finals to eventual state champion Bowman Academy.

Despite having their two-year SAC regular-season title streak snapped, Luers went 16-7 and 4-3 in the SAC despite some early unrest on the team.

Blackmon Jr. was named an Indiana Junior All-Star core team member.

Bryson Scott

The Purdue recruit had the solid all-around numbers in his senior season with 23.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game.

Northrop (19-8) finished third in the SAC with a 5-2 record. After winning their third straight sectional crown, the Bruins lost in the regional semifinals to New Haven.

Scott also helped Northrop to a third consecutive SAC tournament championship and earned himself a spot on the Indiana All-Star squad.

Ariana Simmons

All the South Side senior forward did this season was lead the Archers to the school’s first-ever appearance in a girls basketball state championship game with a 4A state title game loss to Bedford North Lawrence.

Simmons, who is headed to IPFW, also got South Side (24-4) a second straight SAC championship – tournament and regular season.

After averaging 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals for the Archers, Simmons was named an Indiana All-Star.