In the first half of league play this past season, senior basketball standout Jeff McDaniel of the Tokay Tigers seemed a lock for the San Joaquin Athletic Association's most valuable player award.
Likewise, Ezra Kiedrowski of the Lodi Flames seemed the logical choice in the second half.
The debate over who deserves the honor could go on forever. But there's no need.
The two seniors were named co-MVPs.
After starting slowly this season, Kiedrowski exploded in the second half and carried the Flames to a perfect 7-0 mark on their way to capturing their first SJAA title since 1997.
The 6-foot-2 sharpshooter led Lodi to its most wins in school history (27-5, 13-1 SJAA) and helped the Flames reach the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals for the first time since the 1970s.
Kiedrowski averaged 23 points a game during the second-half run, nearly eight more points than his season average of just over 15. Down the stretch, he also made more than 50 percent of his shots from behind the arc. The Lodi guard also averaged four rebounds a game.
It was McDaniel's all-around skills that helped Tokay (20-11, 11-3 SJAA) keep pace with Lodi in the SJAA standings, eventually placing second in league.
While McDaniel averaged a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds a game, he showed his versatility in the second half of the SJAA season. With his scoring down, the 6-foot-5 forward pounded the boards, passed the ball effectively and hunkered down on defense.
In fact, McDaniel was also named to the All-SJAA defensive team along with Tokay forward Khayree Ford and Lodi guard Scott Woznick. Rounding out the team is Edison forward Cyrus Richardson and Franklin guard Tim Brown, both SJAA first-team selections.
Others on the first team include St. Mary's guard Jimmy Blote, Stagg forward Juma Kumara and Lincoln center John Holland.
Lodi center Kevin Hasenfus and guard Tyler Kidd were selected to the second team.
Receiving honorable mention were Tokay guard Bobby Caffese, forward Brian Campbell and center Matt Loechler along with Lodi forward Reed Doucette.
Lodi senior guard Fallon Hill was the only Flame to make the girls first team.
She joined St. Mary's Tiffany Ducker, Edison's Celeste Trahan and Ahklia Gorman, Bear Creek's Lolo Johnson, Lincoln's Camille Small and Franklin's Colia Mayo.
St. Mary's Dominique Banks was named the MVP.
Lodi freshman Lauren Doucette was picked for the second team.
Tokay's Misty Brown, Selena Hubbard and Alysha Young and Lodi's Danielle Johnson each received honorable mention.
Young was also selected as an All-SJAA defender along with Lodi's Amanda Mendez.
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