They led their respective teams to state championships, and both were named the Marietta Daily Journal players of the year, but now they can put an exclamation point on their high school careers.
Roberts, who averaged 17.9 points and 10.5 rebounds this season, was named Miss Basketball — a title given to the best player across all classifications — by the Georgia Sports Writers Association.
Gaines, after averaging 25.2 points and eight rebounds, was named the Class A Player of the Year.
Roberts and Gaines led a total of 22 Cobb County players to earn all-state honors for the 2011-12 season.
McEachern’s Phyllis Arthur earned the Class AAAAA Girls Coach of the Year award, while Whitefield’s Tyrone Johnson earned the boys honor for Class A.
The girls held the slight edge with 12 honorees, compared to nine for the boys, but with two teams in the state championship and all four Region 4AAAAA teams in the quarterfinals, it only made sense that Cobb County would dominate the girls Class AAAAA honors.
“It’s a testament to our region,” Harrison girls coach Steve Lenahan said. “We had four teams in the state quarterfinals for the second straight year. Once you have a couple of teams up their game, the others feel like they have to match it.”
It won’t be any easier next year as the existing Region 4AAAAA teams form a new region in Class AAAAAA.
Campbell and South Cobb proved this season they could win on any given night, and Marietta will rejoin its closer rivals after two years in Region 5AAAAA.
To Lenahan, it’s seems that girls basketball in his region will be like a state playoff game every night.
“It’s not far away,” he said. “If you want an easy game, you are going to have to schedule outside the region.”
Roberts, Hillgrove’s Celina Rodrigo and McEachern’s Dominique Wilson all made the Class AAAAA first team, while Allatoona’s Elise Spann was a first-teamer in Class AAA.
Harrison’s Nikki Hegstetter and McEachern’s Destinie Gibbs earned Class AAAAA second-team honors, and six others earned honorable mention — McEachern’s Te’a Cooper, Hillgrove’s Mackenzie Engram, Kennesaw Mountain’s Kira Gordon, North Cobb’s Taylor Gordon and Marietta’s Courtney Sprague in Class AAAAA and Allatoona’s Alexis Ezell in Class AAA.
Gaines and Mount Paran Christian’s Armani Moore were the only boys players to earn all-state selection, each named to the Class A first team.
“We knew we were going to go as far as he took us,” Mount Paran coach Scott Varner said of Moore, a recent Tennessee commitment who averaged 22 points and 9.8 rebounds. “I think he definitely deserved the honor, and I’m excited for the recognition.”
It was also another step that showed the best Class A teams can compete with other teams within the county, regardless of classification.
“Cobb County, traditionally, has had great basketball,” Varner said. “And (the Class A teams have) been able to build on that. I think it’s the notoriety of Whitefield Academy. North Cobb Christian is coming to the top, and we had a breakthrough year. It shows that, if a kid wants a private-school education, he can still compete in sports. And, it’s a benefit when you can get one or two players that have the superior talent.”
Seven boys earned honorable mention — Harrison’s Ryan Blumenthal and Marshall Guilmette, North Cobb’s Lee Moore and Walton’s Sean Morgan in Class AAAAA, Pope’s Matt Polyne in Class AAAA, Allatoona’s Dimychael Ross in Class AAA and North Cobb Christian’s Stephon Jelks in Class A.