Meet the Journal Star all-area boys basketball team
Metamora made history this season.
The top-ranked Redbirds claimed the Peoria area's first Class 3A boys basketball state championship in 11 years, beating Chicago Simeon in a thrilling overtime victory. Richwoods made the 3A Sweet Sixteen, while Illini Bluffs was a possession away from going to the Class 1A state finals.
Several players earned all-state honors or were named all-league by their respective conferences. Here are the 2023 Journal Star boys basketball all-area honorees in alphabetical order, led by player of the year and separated by large-school and small-school players.
Re-live the Redbirds Run:Every story from Metamora's run to the Class 3A basketball championship
Tyler Mason, Metamora
The 2023 Journal Star boys basketball player of the year led the Class 3A state champion Metamora (34-2) in points, rebounds, assists and steals. The 6-foot-1 junior guard averaged 15.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals as the top-ranked Redbirds ended their season on a 32-game win streak. Mason scored 16 points with six rebounds in the 46-42 overtime title game win over Chicago Simeon. He was named all-Mid-Illini Conference first team, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association third team all-state and honorable mention all-state by The Associated Press.
More:2 reasons Metamora basketball became elite — and 1 reason the Redbirds could stay there
Ethan Kizer, Metamora
Kizer was the face of the state champion Redbirds, averaging 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 blocks. "Hair Jordan" is Metamora's all-time leader in dunks (76) and 3-pointers (252). The South Alabama recruit ends his career as the Redbirds' second all-time leader scoring with 1,517 points. He was named all-Mid-Illini first team, IBCA all-state first team and AP all-state first team.
Cooper Koch, Peoria Notre Dame
The Iowa commit was PND's leading scorer this season, averaging 18.6 points along with 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals. The 6-foot-8 junior forward shot 48% from the field, 40% from the 3-point line and 85% from the free-throw line. Koch was named all-Big 12 Conference first team, while garnering second-team AP all-state honors and IBCA first-team all-state.
More on Cooper Koch:Peoria is a proving ground for this elite basketball recruit
Marquel Newsome, Richwoods
Newsome helped the Knights end a 13-year postseason drought. The 5-foot-10 senior point guard helped Richwoods make a 3A sectional title game, losing to eventual state champion Metamora. He averaged 14.0 points, 6.0 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals as the Knights went 25-6. Newsome was named all-Big 12 Conference first team as well as IBCA all-state special mention.
Tyson Swanson, Metamora
Swanson came up big all season, averaging 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the 3A state champs. He averaged 17.1 points a game throughout the seven postseason games, including a 20-point performance in the state championship game. The 6-foot-2 senior guard was an all-Mid-Illini first-teamer along with earning IBCA second-team all-state and AP honorable mention all-state honors.
More on Tyson Swanson:How a small guard and a future accountant teamed up and led Metamora to a state title
Peoria-area small-school all-area team
Hank Alvey, Illini Bluffs
Alvey was dominant at the Class 1A level, helping the second-ranked Tigers (32-5) win a sectional for the first time since 1981. The 6-foot-9 junior forward was IB's team leader in points (15.8) and rebounds (8.5) per game. He also average 3.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.4 blocks. Alvey was named unanimous all-Tomahawk Conference and all-Inter-County Athletic Conference first team, second-team all-state by the IBCA and AP. He is garnering Division-I interest.
Keauntrey Barnes, Farmington
Barnes had a breakout season, showing off his 3-point range and even going viral as a high-flying dunker. The 6-foot-6 junior guard/forward averaged 18.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks for the Farmers, who finished 19-13 in Class 2A. He was a member of the Macomb-Western Holiday and Fulton County all-tournament teams. Barnes was named unanimous all-Prairieland Conference-North Division first team.
Brandon Coats, Illini Bluffs
Coats was the lone senior on the Tigers' historic run to the 1A Elite Eight, where they finished with a 32-5 record. He helped IB win the ICAC and Tomahawk regular-season conference titles at 7-0. The 6-foot-5 forward was the team's second-leading scorer (10.6 points) and rebounder (5.4) while chipping in 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Coats was a unanimous all-Tomahawk and all-ICAC first-team selection.
Tyler Heffren, Eureka
Heffren had another stellar season, earning back-to-back MVP honors at the Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament. The 6-foot-4 junior forward averaged 18.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Heart of Illinois Conference champions, who finished 24-6. He was named all-Heart of Illinois first team along with picking up special mention all-state honors by the IBCA and being named honorable mention AP all-state.
Clutch:6 of the best performances around Peoria during the IHSA boys basketball playoffs
Malachi Persinger, Peoria Christian
Persinger completed his second varsity season, helping give Peoria Christian its fourth 1A regional championship in a row. The 5-foot-10 sophomore guard averaged a team-high 17.2 points along with 3.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. Persinger hit 86 3-pointers, while being an all-tournament team at Peoria Heights and Williamsville. He was named all-ICAC first team and IBCA all-state honorable mention.
More:The Journal Star girls basketball player of the year and the entire Peoria all-area team
Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.