After Tuesday’s region championship game (add link to championship article), Dawson County senior Joakeim Celestin was announced as the Region 7-3A Player of the Year, an award which is voted on by coaches throughout the region.
“[Joakeim] is one of those guys on the court that is never going to give up,” Tigers head coach Todd Cottrell said. “He just loves basketball.”
Celestin transferred from Forsyth Central in Cumming this season and has been key in the Tigers’ success. In Tuesday’s championship game, he put up a double-double with 34 points (a season high) and 11 rebounds.
“He proved why they voted him player of the year,” Cottrell said.
Celestin said he knew he would receive the award after the coaches told him the day before, but that it was still great to celebrate with everyone.
Senior Jake Craft and sophomore Jaden Gibson were recognized as members of the All-Region team Tuesday night as well. Craft also transferred from Forsyth Central and went through a five-game stretch this season where he averaged 32.4 points a game. Craft notched his thousandth point of his high school career during that stretch.
Gibson has been the glue that keeps the ball moving on the court this year. In a regular season game against Lumpkin County, Gibson assisted the ball 17 times, the third highest amount of assists in a game in school history.
“This year, with Jake and I transferring in, we knew we had to play a big role,” Celestin said after Tuesday’s game. “Our role was to score and play defense. Do a lot on the court. When Jaden and Tyler came back from football, we really started to get things going. Playing basketball with this team gives me a feeling like no other.”
The trio hope to continue to play throughout the GHSA 3-A state tournament, which starts the week of Feb. 23. As the number one seed from region 7-3A, the Tigers will play their first game at home and if they win, are guaranteed one more at home.