Player of the Year: No one in Morris County played in more big games over the past four years than Kevin Hoehn of Morristown.
Through each step of the way, whether it in a Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference game as a freshman reserve, a holiday tournament contest as a sophomore, sectional final matchup as a junior or Morris County Tournament game on the big stage at County College of Morris as a senior, the guard always handled his job well.
Hoehn came on the scene as a freshman when his brother, Sean, was a senior and arguably the best player in the area for the Colonials. That put Kevin under a large spotlight, especially beginning with his sophomore year. The attention and inevitable comparisons may have been unfair, but the younger brother dealt with it well and soon established his own identity.
His scoring average rose from 12.5 per game as a sophomore, when Morristown went 13-11 and reached the MCT semifinals, to 14.8 as a junior, when the team was 19-8 with a trip to the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 final.
This year, Hoehn averaged 17.1 points as Morristown fashioned an 18-9 record that included another appearance in the county semifinals. He finished his career with 1,191 points.
"It was a great ride," Hoehn said. "It was a ton of fun and a great experience."
"He was a complete player who had a great career," Morristown coach Bill Connolly said. "He's going to be sorely missed. He's won a lot of games over the last four years."
Hoehn is sorting through a variety of college options include attending as a student only at a Division 1 institution, or continuing his hoops at a Division 3 program like Scranton.
Another title for Chatham: It's become clear that Chatham has become Morris County's premier program this decade.
Under veteran coach Todd Ervin, the third-seeded Cougars (21-7) repeated as Morris County Tournament champion by holding off top-seeded Morristown-Beard, 60-55, in the final. It was the third straight year that Chatham reached the title game, and also the fifth time in the past six years that the Cougars were a championship participant. Chatham was also the runner-up in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 tournament for the third straight year.
Chatham's four-game run to the the county crown included victories over three teams -- sixth-seeded Delbarton, second-seeded Randolph and top-seeded Morristown-Beard -- that it had lost to earlier in the year.
Chatham's lineup featured seniors Graham LeMon and John Burkard, plus juniors Jack Rooney, Mac Bredahl and Chris Conlin, who joined the starting five after junior Johnny Maurer was lost to a wrist injury in early February.
Breakthrough year for Crimson: A 25-5 season for Morristown-Beard will go down as the program's best ever.
The Crimson were seeded No. 1 in the Morris County Tournament for the first time and advanced beyond the quarterfinals for the first time before eventually falling to Chatham in the final.
Morristown-Beard also won its third state prep B tournament, and won two games in the NJSIAA North Jersey Non-Public B tournament before falling to St. Anthony in the semifinals. It also won the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference-Liberty Division title.
Morristown-Beard also supplied the most exciting moment of the county season when Raphael Castillo hit a buzzer-beating foul-line jumper for a 52-51 semifinal victory over Morristown.
The Crimson played from late January on with an unfathomable amount of emotion, after 27th-year head coach Eddie Franz was told that he had a serious form of lung cancer. Franz was initially expected to miss the remainder of the season, but a week following the diagnosis, he returned to the team while awaiting the start of his treatment. When the Morris County Coaches Association presented Franz with its Coach of the Year award at its All-County luncheon on March 20, the attendees gave the 60-year-old coach a well-deserved standing ovation.
Morristown-Beard will return four of its five starters next year. Senior guard Brian Monaghan will head off to Scranton, but the returning cast will include juniors Castillo, Zach Dees, Justin Rodriguez and Ryan Russo.
NJAC champions: The following Morris teams won divisional championships in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference: Randolph (undefeated in National Division); Chatham, Delbarton and Mendham (tri-champions in United Division); Kinnelon (Independence Division), Morristown-Beard (Liberty Division)
Hanover Park thrives: The last team standing this year in Morris County was Hanover Park (22-7), which lost at eventual state champion Newark West Side in the North 2, Group 2 final on March 7.
Hanover Park had a potent offense that averaged 68 points per game, and the Hornets had the distinction of having three players score at least 30 points in a game this year.
Junior point guard Mike Boeckel scored 30 once, and averaged 13 points and seven assists. Senior guard Matt Winschuh, who had games 33 and 38 points, averaged 18.4 and senior guard Joey Jandoli had the highest-scoring game in the county by going for 43 points in a 93-90 loss to Morristown-Beard. He also averaged 18.4 points per game.
Jandoli was one of the most improved players in the area this season. His scoring average jumped from points 5.2 per game as a junior to this season's total. He also increasesd his total of 3-pointers made from
32 last year to 65 this winter.
"The main thing was that I knew I'd be starting this year," Jandoli said. "That gave me a lot more confidence. I worked a lot in the off-season. I don't think that I missed a single game or practice during the summer. It was a great year for the whole team."
Tchikatilov lifted Kinnelon: When Austin Tchikatilov decided to transfer from Don Bosco Prep to his hometown school of Kinnelon for his senior season, his arrival gave the Colts an immediate boost.
In his first game, the 6-5 forward scored 26 in a season-opening 72-62 triumph over Parsippany. The Rochester commit went on to average 19.2 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in leading Kinnelon to an 18-8 record and the NJAC-Independence Division crown. Kinnelon improved from a 10-16 finish in 2015-16.
Breeman boosted Jefferson: Junior Steve Breeman of Jefferson (17-11) averaged 19.2 points, which tied with Kinnelon's Austin Tchikatilov for the best in county. Breeman, was the top aggregate scorer with a total of 538 points.
The 6-5 Breeman scored at least 30 points three times, highlighted by two 38 point performances -- in an 82-55 win over Roxbury on opening night and in a 56-53 overtime loss to Sparta on Jan. 20.
MORRIS COUNTY BOYS BASKETBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION HONOREES
Coach of the Year: Eddie Franz, Morristown-Beard
Player of the Year: Kevin Hoehn, Morristown
Graham LeMon, Sr., Chatham
Luke Nathan, Sr., Randolph
Justin Rodriguez, Jr., Morristown-Beard
Brian Monaghan, Sr., Morristown-Beard
Steve Breeman, Jr., Jefferson
Alex Landis, Sr., Montville
Matt Winschuh, Sr., Hanover Park
Joey Jandoli, Sr., Hanover Park
Austin Tchikatilov, Sr., Kinnelon
Jack Rooney, Jr., Chatham
Mike Boeckel, Jr., Hanover Park
Mac Bredahl, Jr., Chatham
Luke Haralampoudis, Sr., Morristown
Raphael Castillo, Jr., Morristown-Beard
Jake Schicke, So., Mountain Lakes