The 28th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on June 21.
It's the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so Star Local Media has decided in recent years to put a high school spin on the concept.
This has been a year that nobody will soon forget with the COVID-19 pandemic touching every facet of life, including high school sports, which saw its athletic year truncated on March 12.
Though many of the spring sports were unable to complete their stories, the Plano area showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it is only appropriate to put the last year of local varsity sports into an award-winning perspective.
In the coming weeks, Plano’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents its eighth edition of The Varsitys, the first of a three-part series.
Plano West vs. Fort Bend Ridge Point, volleyball (Nov. 22)
The Lady Wolves and Lady Panthers collided in the penultimate round of the volleyball postseason for the second straight year, with West looking to avenge its 2018 loss.
The Lady Wolves looked to be well on their way to doing so after cruising to a 2-0 set lead, including an emphatic 25-11 win in the second stanza. Ridge Point’s defense reversed momentum in the third set and the Lady Panthers withstood a West rally in the fourth frame to force a do-or-die fifth set.
The two sides traded haymakers for the first 22 points of the decisive frame, knotted at 11-11 before West alum Iman Ndiaye took over. The UCLA commit hammered down kills for the Lady Wolves’ three next points en route to 27 kills, which set up the eventual match-ending point by alum Noelle Piatas to lift West to an emotional 15-13 victory and a spot in the 6A championship match.
Jaylon Tyson, John Paul II boys basketball
There weren’t many players in the state whose stock rose more during the 2019 season than Tyson. Contributing as a role player during his sophomore year, Tyson made the leap into one of the state’s top prospects during a breakout junior campaign that helped fuel John Paul’s first-ever state championship in boys basketball.
Tyson led the Cardinals in scoring at 23.6 points per game, adding 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.1 steals on his way to Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools all-district and all-state first-team selections.
Several high-profile college programs took notice of the four-star prospect, with Tyson committing to Texas Tech in mid-May. The 6-foot-6 wing enters his senior season as the state’s No. 5-ranked player, according to 247Sports.com.
COVID-19 shuts down high school sports
For many involved in high school sports, March 2020 is a month that will live in infamy for years to come.
As the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic seeped into the sports world — the first major domino to fall came on March 11 with the NBA’s suspension of its season — it was only a matter of time before the impact hit home with local high school programs. On March 12, the UIL made its first move with the suspension of the state boys basketball tournament, and one day later, suspended all interscholastic activities for what would ultimately be the remainder of the school year.
In addition to the state boys basketball tournament, high school soccer, baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field teams all had their seasons cancelled — spelling an unfinished ending to the school year for high school seniors across the state.
The ongoing pandemic has rocked the national sports landscape, with its lasting impact still without resolution as concerns loom over the status of fall sports.