Beeville’s Jo’sean Dembo and Sinton’s Triston Handson enjoyed very similar 2022-23 basketball seasons.
Both led their respective teams three rounds deep into the Class 4A playoffs. Dembo, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, averaged 17 points and six rebounds per game in leading the Trojans to their first postseason trip in five years. Handson, a 6-2 sophomore forward, scored 17 points and grabbed 10 boards per contest.
The two were even named Co-Most Valuable Players of District 30-4A.
Their comparability has now reached another level with the two being selected Co-Players of the Year on the Coastal Bend Publishing 2023 High School Boys Basketball Super Team.
Gregory-Portland sophomore forward Shawn Williams was chosen Offensive Player of the Year, while Three Rivers senior center Jacob Amaro was selected Defensive Player of the Year.
Skidmore-Tynan junior forward Cole Rivers was named the Newcomer of the year and McMullen County’s Jeremy Mills was chosen Coach of the Year.
First-team selections were McMullen County senior point guard Shawn Heritage, Sinton sophomore guard Jacoby James, Taft junior guard/forward JJ Acosta, Odem senior forward Leon Brown, Woodsboro sophomore guard Layton Niemann, and Three Rivers junior guard Derek Lancaster.
Named to the second team were McMullen County senior forward Brayden Serrata, Karnes City senior guard Chris Cordaway, Mathis senior guard Ruben Medrano, Woodsboro senior forward Brayden Robison, Goliad junior guard Colby Rosenquest, and George West sophomore point guard Tristen Blevins.
Dembo helped lead the Trojans to playoff victories over Floresville and Bishop before a heartbreaking 56-55 loss to Somerset in the regional quarterfinals.
“We seniors knew what we had to do,” Dembo said. “It was our last season, so we planned to go to the playoffs and that’s what happened.”
Dembo is entertaining offers to play at the next level and hopes to sign a national letter of intent before the summer. He said he stepped into a bigger leadership role his senior season.
“I started getting more vocal,” Dembo said. “Before this year, I would never talk. But I knew if we wanted to do what we wanted to do this season, some stuff had to change. If that meant me speaking up, then that’s what I needed to do.”
Despite being only a sophomore, Handson also found himself evolving into more of a coach on the floor and in the locker room.
“I felt I showed some of the younger people coming up that they can’t jack around during practice,” Handson said.
Handson feels the Pirates laid a foundation for better things to come.
“We can’t wait for next season,” Handson said. “We’re ready.”
Williams averaged 19.1 points and 11.9 rebounds for the Wildcats en route to being unanimously named the Offensive MVP for the District 29-5A North Zone. Amaro was selected Defensive Player of the Year for District 31-2A after averaging 20.2 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.5 steals per contest.
Rivers scored a team-best 13.1 points per game in his first year of varsity basketball. He also grabbed 5.4 rebounds per contest to be named the District 31-2A Co-Newcomer of the Year.
Mills guided the Cowboys to a 37-3 record and first regional title and state tournament berth in school history.
Heritage was the District 32-1A MVP after averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. James was chosen the Offensive MVP in District 30-4A after posting 16.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals per contest.
Acosta averaged 16 points and six rebounds a game and was a first-team All-District 29-3A selection. Brown was chosen the Offensive Player of the Year in District 29-3A after scoring 15.1 points and grabbing 8.4 rebounds per contest.
Niemann was the District 31-2A Co-Offensive Player of the Year after averaging 15.2 points and 3.5 steals per game. Lancaster, the Offensive Player of the Year in District 31-2A, scored 18.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest.
Serrata was named the District 32-1A Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 steals per contest. Cordaway scored at a 19-point clip and also had six assists and three steals per contest to be a unanimous All-District 27-3A first-team selection.
Medrano, who was chosen to the All-District 29-3A first team, scored 14 points while hauling down four rebounds per contest. Robison was a first-team All-District 31-2A choice after averaging 16.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game.
Rosenquest was chosen to the All-District 29-3A first team for averaging 12 points and making 62 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Blevins, a first-team All-District 29-3A choice, tossed in 13.5 points and hauled down four rebounds per game.
Shawn Heritage, point guard, senior, McMullen County
Jacoby James, guard, sophomore, Sinton
JJ Acosta, guard/forward, junior, Taft
Leon Brown, forward, senior, Odem
Layton Niemann, guard, sophomore, Woodsboro
Derek Lancaster, guard, junior, Three Rivers
Austwell-Tivoli: John Arnim, guard, junior.
Beeville: Lazzaro Garcia, guard, senior; Angel Alba, guard, senior; Hunter Pelitire, guard, senior.
George West: Laeson Collins, forward, senior.
Goliad: John Reyes, guard, Goliad.
Gregory-Portland: Russell Escamilla, point guard, junior.
Kenedy: Shomari Wilcox, guard, junior.
Mathis: Ashton Quesada, guard, junior.
McMullen County: Brandon Timms, point guard, sophomore; Caden Hershman, center, sophomore.
Odem: Josh Chavira, point guard, junior; Hunter Dawson, center, senior.
Refugio: Kelan Brown, guard, sophomore.
Sinton: Colby Hesseltine, forward, junior.
Woodsboro: Tagg Silvas, guard, junior; Brayden Robison, forward, senior; Jordan Zena, guard, junior.