By Dave Morrison

Everybody else has one so I’m going to release one as well.

Three sets of teammates make up the first all-area team, led by the Shady Spring duo of Tommy Williams and Luke LeRose, Bluefield’s Braeden Crews and Sean Martin and the trio of Woodrow’s Ben Gilliam, Ayden Ince, and Richard Law were also on the first team.

Those players are joined by Elijah Edwards of Greater Beckley.

In Williams and LeRose, Shady has the last two area leading scorers on its roster.

This past season Williams averaged 20.0 points per game. Last year, at Nicholas County, LeRose was the area’s leading scorer, when he averaged 31 points per game.

LeRose did not average 31 a game this season, but he said that wasn’t the point.

“I just wanted to learn my role,” he said about making the move to Shady Spring. “I played with Tommy, I played with pretty much all of them before, and I needed to learn my role. Winning is the main goal. I’m not one to care about points. Assists, rebounds, I don’t really care about that. Only stat that matters is the wins.”

He did pass 2,000 career points during the season, a stat that will likely matter more later as the Tigers are suspended one game short of their first state tournament berth since 1994 by the current coronavirus pandemic.

After scoring one point in the season opener against Fairmont, LeRose scored in double figures in 22 straight games, including a season-high 31 against James Monroe and he topped 20 eight times, finishing with an average of 16.7 points per game. 

He had nine 3s in that game against James Monroe, a game in which the Tigers hit what is thought to be a state-record 25 3s. He was second on the team in 3s with 53.

If his career is over, LeRose finished with 2,143 points, 230 3s, and made 441 of 647 free throws (68.1 percent). That point total is 15th all-time in West Virginia high school basketball history.

Williams has been a fixture at the point for Shady for the past three seasons and he played a key role as a freshman as well.

This season Williams was the only area player averaging 20.0. points per game and had nine 20+ games. He scored in double figures in all 18 of games he in which he played, including a career-high 34 in a landmark victory over Woodrow Wilson. It was the first-ever win over the Flying Eagles in 54 previous games.

Earlier this season Williams went over 1,000 points for his career and currently has 1,220. He had played in 85 straight games for the Tigers before missing four this season with an injury.

Bluefield was set to host Independence in a Region 3 co-final when play was halted by the coronavirus, and the Beavers were rolling, having won 14 games in a row. And Crews and Martin were a big part of it.

Crews averaged 19.7 points this season, second in the area behind Williams. And he had two of his best performances in victories over Shady Spring down the stretch.

In a regular season rematch of an earlier loss to Shady Spring (73-70, the Beavers’ last loss), Crews had 25 points and a season-best five 3s in Bluefield’s 74-63 victory.

In the Region 3, Section 2 championship he had 22 in a 80-64 Bluefield victory.

Crews has 1,306 points in a stellar career, all but 13 of those in the last three seasons, when he averaged 17.2 points per game in 71 games.

Martin, a West Virginia football signee, really came into his own this season and was a key component to that Beavers current 14-game win streak. He averaged 14.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks (91) per game.

In that regular-season victory against Shady Spring, Martin had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks and made it nearly impossible for the Tigers to get to the rim with consistency, which was a big part of their game.

Martin missed just one game in two seasons, when he had a recruiting trip for football his junior year.

The trio of Law, Gilliam and Ince were nearly interchangeable, and it was nearly impossible to stop the three on the same night.

And their stats were eerily similar.

Law led the Flying Eagles (17-8 after falling to St. Albans in a Class AAA Region 3 co-final) in scoring at 16.6, followed by Ince at 16.4 and Gilliam at 15.7.

Law, a senior, scored in double figures in 20 of 24 games (he missed one due to illness) and went over 20 in 10 games. He had a career-high 30 in a regular-season victory over St. Albans.

Law had 63 3-pointers this season and was one of the area’s top free throw shooters in the area making 57 of 71 (80.3 percent).

Ince was steady all season, and nearly averaged a double-double, averaging  8.6 rebounds per game. Ince was also a good shooter, making 48 3s. He had 21 double figure games, including six over 20, his high of 30 coming against Spring Valley in an 80-79 victory against Spring Valley in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Night of Champions game.

Gilliam was a force inside, a player coach Ron Kidd said he felt would emerge into the best big man in the state. The 6-5 Gilliam averaged a double double for the season, adding 10.5 rebounds to his 15.7 points.

He isn’t far off Kidd’s proclamation right now, shooting 65.1 percent from the floor (157-241). He had 251 rebounds, 107 on the offensive end. He also had 45 assists and 24 blocks.

Gilliam scored in double figures 19 times, including his last 15 games. He had six 20-point-plus games and a high of 25, which he did twice, against George Washington and Princeton.

Greater Beckley’s Edwards was involved in an accident last week but was said to be in stable condition at CAMC in Charleston, where he was airlifted with numerous injuries.

Edwards was Mr. Big for the Crusaders, coming up with some of his best performances against the best teams on what was a tough schedule.

He had 30 against defending Class AAA champion University and 21 against defending Class A champion Webster County.

Edwards averaged 13.9 points per game and had 52 3s. He shot 75.6 percent from the foul line (56 of 74).

Notes on the second team

*Ethan Blackburn, Westside, helped the Renegades earn top seed in Class AA Region 3, Section 1 by averaging 14.9 points per game. He also had a team-best 40 3 pointers for the 14-10 Renegades. Blackburn had a season-best 25 points in the season opener against Princeton and the Renegades final game, a victory against Independence in the Section 1 championship game.

*Jared Cannady, Independence, led the area in 3 pointers with 79. He averaged 18.1 points per game this season. Over two seasons at Independence he had 139 3s. He played at Wyoming East his first two seasons and had 851 career points.

*Braden Chapman, Shady Spring, certainly did not play like a freshman, averaging 15.2 points per game and made 45 3s for the Tigers. He was also a 78 percent shooter from the free throw line (57 of 73). He had 17 double figure games, including 28 in just his second career game against powerful Robert C. Byrd. He also had a season-best six 3s in that game. He had seven games of 20-plus points.

*Isaiah Hairston, Greater Beckley was the leading scorer on a state tournament-bound team at 14.2 per game. He had 17 double-figure scoring games and had a career-best 33 against Tug Valley. 

*Michael McKinney, Independence, was third in the area in scoring at 19.5 points per game and helped the Patriots to the Region 3 co-final, when the season was halted on the day they were set to play powerhouse Bluefield. Had 19 double-figure games, four games of 30-plus, including being the only player in the area with back-to-back 30 -point performances when he had 32 against Van and 30 against Liberty. Career-high 36 vs. Sherman.

*Kaiden Pack, Greenbrier West, Pack did a little bit of everything for the 18-5 Cavs. He led the team in scoring at 18.2, had scored in double figures in 23 games and had eight 20-plus games, including 31 against Montcalm and 30 against Richwood.

*Kaulin Parris, Bluefield, was a versatile cog in the Beavers machine, averaging 11.7 ppg and he led the team in assists at 4.8 per game. He also had 16 blocks 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. He had 28 3s on the season as well. He had 15 double figure games, including a season-best 22 against Princeton. Also a kicker on the football team he has signed to play football at WVU.

*Shad Sauvage, James Monroe, has been a 3-point machine for the Mavericks with 69 in each of his first two seasons. The sophomore, son of coach Matt Sauvage, averaged 17.5 points per game and season-high 28 against both Oak Hill and Summers County. Had 27 in a section loss to River View. 

Third team is Jacob Bishop, Wyoming East; Jason Manns, Oak Hill; Jahiem House, Bluefield; Ethan Parsons, Princeton; Jacob Perdue, Oak Hill; Daniel Reed, Westside; Kobey Taylor-Williams, PikeView; Aidan Lesher, Midland Trail, 5-9, Jr.

The all-area boys team

First team

Braeden Crews, Bluefield, 5-11, Sr.

Ben Gilliam, Woodrow Wilson, 6-5, Jr.

Richard Law, Woodrow Wilson, 6-0, Sr.

Luke LeRose, Shady Spring, 6-0, Sr.

Sean Martin, Bluefield, 6-6, Sr,

Tommy Williams, Shady Spring, 6-2, Sr.

Elijah Edwards, GBC, 5-9, Sr,

Ayden Ince, Woodrow Wilson, 6-3, Jr.

Second team

Ethan Blackburn, Westside, 6-2, Jr.

Jared Cannady, Independence, 5-11, Sr.

Braden Chapman, Shady Spring, 5-11, Fr.

Isaiah Hairston, GBC, 6-4, Sr.

Michael McKinney, Independence, 6-3, So.

Kaulin Parris, Bluefield, 6-3, Sr.

Shad Sauvage, James Monroe, 5-10, Soph.

Kaiden Pack, Gr. West, 6-1, jr.

Third team

Jacob Bishop, Wyoming East, 6-3, Sr.

Jaheim House, Bluefield, 6-3, Sr.

Jason Manns, Oak Hill, 5-7, Sr.

Ethan Parsons, Princeton, 6-4, Sr.

Jacob Perdue, Oak Hill, 6-2, So.

Daniel Reed, Westside, 5-11, Jr.

Kobey Taylor-Williams, PikeView, 6-3, Jr.

AJ Williams, Liberty, 6-3, So.

Aidan Lesher, Midland Trail, 5-9, Jr.

I think from here on out I’ll release these teams right after the sectional tournament.