Hollis Bethea called Omarion Smith the ‘heart and soul’ of the Douglas County team.
With the 6-foot-5 junior in the paint, the Tigers finished as region tournament runner-up and advanced to the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
He finished the second with 152 blocked shots and 289 rebounds. When called on, Smith averaged 10.7 points in 27 games.
“He was the heart and soul of our team,” Bethea said. “Without him, our defense wouldn’t be as good He was a big time force on the inside for us. He was always ready to play.”
For his efforts, Smith has been named the Douglas County Sentinel Player of the Year.
Smith finished the season with 12 double-doubles in points and rebounds and had two triple-doubles. He had a career-high 14 blocked shots in a win over Washington in a holiday tournament.
“The season went okay for me and the team,” Smith said. “I just wish the team had went a little farther in the playoffs. There are still some stuff that we need to work on. Personally, I think I got better from the previous season.”
Smith offseason work showed on the court as his numbers were up. As a sophomore on a team that reached the state quarterfinals, he averaged just 8.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and had 127 blocked shots.
Bethea said the work that Smith did in the weight room has been the difference.
“He has certainly gotten bigger and stronger,” Bethea said. “He has a better understanding of the game. His work ethic has been outstanding from the weight room to the class room.”
With a young team, Smith had to take on a bigger leadership role.
“It really came easy for me,” Smith said. “We had some young players so I had to step up.”
“Last year, he was more of a role player,” Bethea said. “In his second year, Omarion had to be one of our leaders.”