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Mancos basketball players receive all-conference recognition

Caden Showalter named conference player of the year

Over the course of the 2019-20 season, the Mancos High School boys and girls basketball teams produced several memorable victories and instilled energy in a local fan base that has long adored success on the hardwood.

In recognition of both their teams’ successes and their individual accomplishments, five Bluejays were voted onto the San Juan Basin League’s all-conference team by league coaches, and Mancos boys coach Elijah Knepper was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Elijah Knepper – Coach of the Year

Coaching his first full season of high school basketball after taking over as his team’s head coach early last season, Knepper established himself as one of the state’s top young coaches and was voted the San Juan Basin League’s Coach of the Year.

Known for his fiery personality and innate ability to connect with players, Knepper installed a 1-3-1 zone defense that gave opponents fits throughout the season while leading his team to an 18-4 record overall, a San Juan Basin League title and a district title.

Caden Showalter – 1st team – Player of the Year

Putting the finishing touches on a high school career that ranks among the finest in Colorado history, Caden Showalter earned 1st-team all-conference honors after averaging 13.7 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game in his final season of high school basketball.

The senior superstar also enjoyed the distinction of being named SJBL Player of the Year, broke Colorado’s all-time record for double-doubles in a career, and helped lead his team to an 18-4 overall record and a second straight SJBL title and district tournament title.

Among Caden’s most impressive performances of the season came when he scored a season-high 24 points during his team’s 67-63 victory over Aspen on Dec. 12. Overall, the senior scored at least 10 points in 20 of his team’s 22 games on the year.

Connor Showalter – 1st team

Showcasing the type of strength and speed that is generally only seen in upperclassmen, sophomore Connor Showalter averaged 15.6 points per game, 5.4 point per game and 3.6 assists over the course of the season.

A stalwart on the defensive end thanks to his length and quick feet and a force on his team’s fast breaks, Connor notched a season-high 25 points during his team’s 69-57 win over Ignacio on Feb. 18.

Overall, the sophomore scored in double digits in 21 of his team’s 22 games on the year.

Christian Cova – 2nd team

Serving as the floor general for one of the best offenses in Colorado’s 2A, junior Christian Cova filled the stat sheet throughout the year while averaging 7.4 points per game, 5.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game.

In addition to providing timely offense and scoring a season-high 21 points during his team’s 67-61 loss to Ignacio on Jan. 21, Cova played outstanding defense out of his team’s 1-3-1 zone while using his active hands to force numerous turnovers and initiate fast break opportunities.

Among the junior’s finest individual performances of the season came during his team’s 66-22 win over Dove Creek on Dec. 10, when he scored 14 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out seven assists.

Evan Sehnert – 2nd team

Unknown to many local fans prior to his second season of high school basketball, Evan Sehnert made a name for himself throughout a sophomore season that saw him average 11.8 points per game and 4.1 rebounds.

Among his team’s top shooters, Sehnert scored a season-high 18 points in three different games over the course of the season and scored in double figures in 17 of his team’s 22 games.

The sophomore converted 44 of his 113 three-point field goal attempts and figures to be one of the San Juan Basin League’s top players in the years to come.

Madi Hale – Honorable Mention

Providing leadership for the Mancos girls basketball team on and off the court, Madi Hale averaged 10.3 points per game and 8.4 rebounds during a solid junior season that resulted in her receiving all-conference honors.

Among Hale’s most impressive performances of the year came in a 20-point scoring outburst during her team’s 48-37 win over Dolores on Feb. 11.

Over the course of the year, Hale scored in double figures in seven games while leading her team to a 6-17 record overall and a berth in the Class 2A Region 6 Tournament.