ALBANY -- Nothing like a lil' cherry on top.
The Deerfield-Windsor boys basketball program picked up several GISA All-State honors Wednesday when three players from this year's state championship team were named All-State performers -- Reggie Brown, Banks Kinslow and Michael Matthews -- while Knights coach Gordy Gruhl was named the Class AAA Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his long tenure at DWS.
"It's definitely the icing on the cake, but it's secondary to winning the state title after several years of frustration," said Gruhl, whose team, before this year, had been to four consecutive AAA Final Fours -- and two straight championship games -- with no state title to show for it. "It was quite a feat to get three players on the All-State team as well, but winning state to us was the most important thing."
Gruhl has now won the Coach of the Year award four times as a boys coach for DWS and twice as the girls coach. The last time he received the honor was in 2003, which was also the last time the DWS boys team won state.
Matthews, a senior, led the Knights in their run to this year's state crown, averaging 23 points between the Final Four win against George Walton and title game victory against Tattnall Square. Matthews was second on the team behind Brown in scoring, averaging 16.2 points a game.
Brown, a senior and preseason Herald Super 6 selection, averaged 16.5 points this season, while Kinslow, a junior, averaged 12 points a game.
Brown, Matthews and fellow senior Shaun Jones were all invited to play in the annual Georgia vs. South Carolina All-Star Challenge game this weekend in Augusta.
Also of note was the fact that no members from the DWS girls team, which won the Region 3-AAA title, reached the Elite Eight and finished the season 21-6, made the All-State list.
"That was kind of surprising," Gruhl said.