2016-17 Madison Courier Player of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year Evan McMahan of Carroll County. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
2016-17 Madison Courier Player of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year Evan McMahan of Carroll County. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Featuring a young roster, the majority of which had never played in a varsity game before, the Panthers suffered through 15-game losing streak at one point and finished the year a disappointing 6-23.

But despite the long losing streak and the nights where nothing seemed to go right, there was always a bright spot for the Panthers in the form of Evan McMahan, who never allowed the losing to get him down and always brought his “A” game, no matter the circumstances,

“It definitely wasn’t the way I wanted it to go as a team, but I just tried to lead the team up to my capabilities and I knew I had to bring it every night just for our team to be competitive,” McMahan said. “That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to let my teammates down and I didn’t want to let my coaches down because they knew that I had the potential to do that and I did too. I just had to bring it every single night and that’s what I did.”

McMahan did more than bring it every night; he played at a level that other players can only hope for night-in and night-out despite a crumbling season and it is for that reason he has been named The Madison Courier’s Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

McMahan averaged 18.6 points per game — nearly four points more than the next player in the area — to easily lead Courierarea scoring. Overall he shot 45 percent (29-of-179) from the floor and 72 percent from the free-throw line and failed to score in double-digits only once in 29 games.

But the 6-foot-2 senior was more than just a scorer. He averaged 8.1 rebounds per game as well and recorded 14 double-doubles on the season, an average of every other game. He was also one of the team’s best ball-handlers in times of crisis, it was his hands that were on the ball.

But despite the gaudy stats, McMahan also knew he had an obligation as a leader. With eighth-grader Deaton Oak and freshman Wyatt Supplee playing more and more minutes, McMahan took it upon himself to mentor the younger players and make sure they were ready to succeed in years to come.

“I knew that I was the leader on the floor and I knew I had to set the example for the younger kids. If I didn’t do it, If I didn’t come on the floor and bring it every single night and if I didn’t do the little things, then they weren’t going to do it either,” McMahan said. “I had to calm them down a few times in games, remind them that they are eighth graders and freshmen, they’re not necessarily supposed to be killing out here. Your time is coming, you’re good athletes. Just do your thing and everything will fall in place.”

Along the way, McMahan was able to set one of the biggest personal milestones a basketball player can achieve when he reached 1,000 career points. And McMahan did it in about the most unusual way possible, with two free throws with barely any time on the clock at the end of a game. He finished his career with 1,024 points.

McMahan is already looking ahead to after high school. He’s been in talks to play basketball at Spalding University in Louisville and hopes to take a second official visit in the coming weeks. If he plays college basketball, it will be at the Louisville school.

Overall, it’s been a good senior year for McMahan. During the fall, he caught a long touchdown pass in the waning seconds to beat Trimble County and send the football Panthers into the playoffs. And this spring he will take to the diamond as one of Carroll’s top baseball players as the Panthers try to win their fourth-straight All “A” Classic Regional crown.

“I know I’m a decent athlete and I want to bring that to my school. I just wanted to work hard my senior year,” McMahan said. “I didn’t want to leave anything on the table. I didn’t want to be able to look back and say I could’ve done this or I should’ve done that or I wish I played a little harder. You’ve just got leave it all out on the line.”