Sun Prairie’s Jeff Boos was named the state’s boys basketball coach of the year and Glendale Nicolet junior forward and former Sun Prairie student-athlete Jalen Johnson was named player of the year on The Associated Press all-state team for the 2018-2019 season.

The honors list was released Monday night after a vote by a statewide panel of sports reporters.

New Glarus senior point guard Jaden Kreklow, who led the Glarner Knights to their first WIAA Division 4 state title, was named to the third team.

Junior guard/forward Anthony Washington of Big Eight Conference champion Madison East and senior point guard Caden Nelson of Badger South champion Monona Grove were chosen for the fourth team.

After Sun Prairie reached the state tournament for the first time a year ago, the Cardinals had no starters returning and outside expectations were low.

But Boos remained optimistic and his resilient team made a late-season surge and an improbable return trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament this season and reached the title game for the first time.

The Cardinals (21-7) did that despite heavy graduation losses; the departures of the 6-foot-9 Johnson and his brother, sophomore guard Kobe Johnson; and a season filled with injuries, player absences and an often-changing lineup that featured only one all-conference selection, Brock Voigt, among the top 15 players picked in the Big Eight.

“I am honored, very honored,” Boos said of the first-time state coaching honor. “I think there were a lot of hands in the development of our team. Our staff has worked very hard and done a lot of quality coaching. … A lot of hours were put in. The kids believed in what we were doing and believed in the process. A lot of things went on during this year. We tried to do the things we believed would be good for the team. It was a matter of pulling together.”

Sun Prairie, which finished fourth in the Big Eight, edged West Allis Central 62-60 in overtime in a Division 1 semifinal before falling to top-seeded Brookfield Central, 69-52, in the title game.

“They stayed the course and believed in what we did,” said Boos, whose team adjusted its style and strategy, particularly late in the season, depending on the opponent. “Some of the guys had to sacrifice because their roles changed. It was all about the team.”

Sun Prairie won six consecutive games leading up to the state final. 

“It’s been quite a journey for these guys and myself, so it’s been a really outstanding year," Boos said. 

Others nominated for coach of the year were New Glarus coach Travis Sysko, who led the Glarner Knights to their first WIAA Division 4 title; Paul Wollersheim, who directed Greendale Martin Luther to the Division 3 title; and Brookfield Central’s Dan Wandrey.

Jalen Johnson, who led Nicolet (27-1) to its first WIAA Division 2 state title, and La Crosse Central junior guard Johnny Davis were unanimous first-team choices.

The rest of the first team included Waupun senior guard Marcus Domask, Sussex Hamilton sophomore forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Milwaukee Washington sophomore forward Michael Foster Jr.

Johnson, Davis and Domask were finalists for player of the year.

Under a spotlight few high school athletes experience, Johnson averaged 19.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He had 20 points, 20 rebounds and four assists in the Knights’ state title victory over Milwaukee Washington.

“I proved to myself that I’m pretty good at handling pressure,” said Johnson, who often played point-forward. “That is probably the main thing that I learned about myself.”

Johnson said he was proud of his team and what it accomplished.

“He’s a guy who puts his team first and he’s a guy who is willing to do anything it takes to win. He’s not all about scoring,” Nicolet coach Allan Hanson said. “His size allows him to rebound and his vision and understanding of the game of basketball allow him to make plays and to make passes that are very unusual for guys his size.”

Area players who received honorable-mention recognition included Madison East senior Damontae Thompson, Madison La Follette seniors Donneil Gray and Troy Reeves, Lakeside Lutheran senior Jack Monis, Barneveld senior Malcolm Reed, DeForest senior Austin Westra, Mount Horeb senior Jason Larson, Mineral Point junior Isaac Lindsey and McFarland senior Trevon Chislom.

Among players in the region, East Troy junior A.J. Vukovich was a third-team selection and Fennimore senior Reid Larson was an honorable-mention pick.

2019 AP BOYS BASKETBALL ALL-STATE TEAM

PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jalen Johnson, jr., Glendale Nicolet

COACH OF THE YEAR – Jeff Boos, Sun Prairie

FIRST TEAM

Patrick Baldwin Jr., 6-9, soph., Sussex Hamilton

Johnny Davis, 6-5, jr., La Crosse Central (unanimous)

Marcus Domask, 6-6, sr., Waupun

Mike Foster Jr., 6-9, so., Milwaukee Washington

Jalen Johnson, 6-9, jr., Glendale Nicolet (unanimous)

SECOND TEAM

Trequan Carrington, 5-10, sr., Greendale Martin Luther

Marquise Milton, 5-11, sr., Racine Horlick

Jacob Ognacevic, 6-8, jr., Sheboygan Lutheran

Jamari Sibley, 6-9, jr., Glendale Nicolet

David Skogman, 6-10, sr., Waukesha West

THIRD TEAM

Dalton Banks, 6-2, jr., Eau Claire North

Jaden Kreklow, 5-10, sr., New Glarus

Logan Mulhern, 6-2, sr., Osseo-Fairchild

Cole Nau, 6-3, sr., Brookfield Central

A.J. Vukovich, 6-5, jr., East Troy

FOURTH TEAM

Chombi Lambert, 5-9, sr., Manitowoc Roncalli

Deontay Long, 6-5, sr., Milwaukee Washington

Caden Nelson, 6-1, sr., Monona Grove

Levi Nienhaus-Borchert, 6-6, sr., Kimberly

Anthony Washington, 6-3, jr., Madison East

HONORABLE MENTION

Alex Antetokounmpo, jr., Whitefish Bay Dominican; Carson Arenz, jr, Onalaska; Bailey Blanchard, sr., Clear Lake; Caden Boser, jr., Eau Claire Memorial; Larry Canady, sr., Racine Park; Trevon Chislom, sr., McFarland; Cade Christensen, sr., Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs; Kevin Cook, sr., Milwaukee Bay View; Nobal Days, sr, Racine Park; Ace Evans, sr., Greendale Martin Luther;

Jacob Fierst, sr., West Allis Central; Donneil Gray, sr., Madison La Follette; Bryce Fuerlinger, sr., Marshfield Columbus; Carter Gilmore, jr., Hartland Arrowhead; Carter Hanke, sr., Marathon; Mayson Hazaert, sr., Wrightstown; Cory Hoglund, sr., Chippewa Falls McDonell; Tyrese Hunter, soph., Racine St. Catherine’s; Donovan Ivory, sr., Kaukauna; Xzavier Jones, sr., Greendale Martin Luther;

Max Klesmit, jr., Neenah; Jason Larson, sr., Mount Horeb; Reid Larson, sr., Fennimore; Isaac Lindsey, jr., Mineral Point; Will Mahoney, sr., Appleton West; Grant Manke, jr., Bangor; Samuel Meerstein, sr., Green Bay N.E.W Lutheran; Jack Monis, sr., Lakeside Lutheran; Parker Nielsen, jr., Prescott; Henry Noone, sr., Oshkosh Lourdes;

Nick Otto, sr., Appleton Xavier; Noah Parcher, sr., La Crosse Central; Will Pytleski, sr., Green Bay Southwest; Malcolm Reed, sr., Barneveld; Troy Reeves, sr., Madison La Follette; Preston Ruedinger, soph., Oshkosh Lourdes; George Scharlau, sr., Colfax; Quinn Steckbauer, sr., Merrill; Tyrell Stuttley, jr., Onalaska; Kaleim Taylor, jr., Milwaukee Academy of Science;

Karter Thomas, jr., Oshkosh West; Damontae Thompson, sr., Madison East; Casey Verhagen, fr., Sheboygan Lutheran; Austin Westra, sr., DeForest; Jaeden Zackery, sr., Westosha Central.

Bucky!

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.