Both players will be recognized during the Naismith Awards Banquet later this month at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.
Whitefield Academy junior guard Eric Lockett, Walton senior guard Rico Overall and North Cobb senior forward Jordan Neff each made the boys honorable mention list, while North Cobb senior guard Amber Reeves is the only local standout on the girls honorable mention list.
Cooper and Engram have faced one another seven times in two seasons, including last year’s Class AAAAA championship, when McEachern beat Hillgrove for the state title. Both have played leadership roles for their respective teams, and that’s expected to be the case next year.
Even though their teams fell in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament this season after sustaining heavy losses to graduation, next year could be a different story.
“Our season didn’t go as planned, but I’m glad to be on the team,” said Cooper, who has already committed to play at North Carolina.
With Cooper as its point guard, McEachern (18-12) had early growing pains in starting the season with losses in four of its first six games, but the Lady Indians won 16 of their next 22 games before losing to North Cobb in the Region 4AAAAAA championship.
Cooper led McEachern with 18.9 points a game. She also averaged 5.1 assists and 4.4 steals.
“I haven’t seen a guard who can compare to Te’a, especially at a young age,” McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said. “She should be on the second team. She should be on the first team, but I know the first team was all seniors.”
Engram surpassed 1,000 career points this season as a junior, putting up virtually the same scoring average as Cooper at 18.8 points. She also averaged 10 rebounds while leading Hillgrove to a 21-8 record.
“It’s an honor because only 10 people (out of all six classifications) make the first and second teams,” Engram said. “Since I’m only a junior, I’m thankful and excited.”
Reeves played a huge role in North Cobb winning its first region title, finishing with 26 points against McEachern in the final, including the game-winning free throw with 4 seconds left. She averaged 13.4 points for the Lady Warriors, who finished 27-4 on the year after losing to Norcross’ in Saturday’s Class AAAAAA semifinal.
Neff, who has signed to play at Florida Gulf Coast, missed time with an ankle injury, but he returned in time to lead North Cobb (26-5) to the state semifinals. He was key in the Warriors’ 68-63 win over Tift County in the state quarterfinals last Wednesday, when he scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half.
Lockett, who averaged 22 points and 15 rebounds for Whitefield, was the go-to player for a younger Wolfpack squad. He was clutch down the stretch when Whitefield won nine straight games before falling to St. Francis in overtime in the Region 6A final.
Overall emerged as the leader for Walton (13-12) after looking up to former standouts Sean Morgan and Karl Cochran, and his 24.1-point scoring average — good enough for second in Cobb County — led the Raiders to a playoff berth.
The Tipoff Club also named its Mr. and Miss Georgia Basketball —Tift County forward Brennan Greene and Norcross guard Diamond DeShields. Columbia guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen and North Gwinnett guard Lexie Brown were boys and girls players of the year.