High School Sports

Freedom’s Amber Reddick N.C. girls’ basketball coach the year; Farmville Central’s Larry Williford gets boys’ honor

Larry Williford of Farmville Central and Amber Reddick of Morganton Freedom are The Associated Press high school basketball coaches of the year for North Carolina.

In voting results announced Thursday, Williford won the boys’ award and Reddick the girls’ honor. Both coaches led their teams to undefeated seasons and N.C. High School Athletic Association championships.

Williford led Farmville Central to a 28-0 record and the program’s first 2A title in 23 years. Reddick and Freedom went 32-0 and earned their first 3A crown.

Williford received eight of 17 votes cast by media members to four for Cary’s Allan Gustafson and three for Mike King of Charlotte Catholic.

“Any time you’re named any type of coach of the year, especially one of this magnitude, it means you had really talented players who listened and bought in,” Williford said. “Everyone was on the same page.”

Farmville Central had to rally for its first 2A championship since 1993. It trailed by 14 during the second half before beating East Lincoln 81-71 in the final behind Tyler Maye, who scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been so close for several years, and I think those guys were just hungry, and our goal was made to win the state championship,” said Williford, the former director of basketball operations at East Carolina who has been coaching the Jaguars for 15 years.

“They all bought into that goal.”

Reddick had 10 of 17 votes to five for Darlene Joyner of Northwest Guilford.

“It’s a huge honor, and I’m just kind of blown away a little bit,” Reddick said. “But it has everything to do with the players and what they were able to come together and do this year.”

Reddick earned a rare triple crown with Freedom – leading the program to a state championships as a player (1995), as an assistant coach (2002) and now as a head coach.

“I think it’s just been kind of a surreal thing – it’s all setting in,” Reddick said. “I grew up here, and went to basketball camp as a child and grew up wanting to play for Freedom, then was blessed to be able to do that and be part of that tradition and win a state championship. … This one is definitely special.”

She is a two-time conference and district coach of the year who also was picked as the state coach of the year by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association.

The Patriots claimed their fifth state title by beating Northern Guilford 53-50 behind 16 points from all-state selection Ariyana Williams.

Boys’ Coaches Voting

Larry Williford, Farmville Central 8

Allan Gustafson, Cary 4

Mike King, Charlotte Catholic 3

Bill Boyette, Fayetteville Sanford 1

Brian Field, Providence Day 1

Girls’ Coaches Voting

Amber Reddick, Morganton Freedom 10

Darlene Joyner, Northwest Guilford 5

Juan Smith, Gastonia Ashbrook 1

Josh Springer, Providence Day 1