The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 29, 2014

East’s Watson lands on Class AAA first team

Woodrow Wilson’s Nabors selected captain of All-State second team

Rondale Watson will be heading to ACC country to join the Wake Forest basketball team after graduation this spring. He’ll do so as a first-team Class AAA All-State selection.

The 6-foot-4 Greenbrier East senior — who averaged 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals per game, leading the Spartans to an 18-7 season — made the West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s first team, announced today. It was his third all-state selection after being a second-teamer as a sophomore at Oak Hill and again landing on the second team after his junior year with the Spartans.

Watson was the only area player on the first team, although Woodrow Wilson senior Donte Nabors was honored as the captain of the second-team squad. A first-teamer as a junior, Nabors missed part of the season with an ankle injury suffered in an early game against Oak Hill but returned to lead the Flying Eagles in scoring. He averaged 17.2 points per contest on a team that finished 20-5 and claimed the Region 3, Section 2 championship.

Also on the second team was Greenbrier East’s 6-10 center Obi Romeo, who will play collegiately at St. Joseph’s next season. Romeo averaged 13 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots this season, shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.

Statewide, Jon Elmore averaged 31.5 points per game and set a George Washington single-season school record for points with 815. He led GW’s surprising run to a 19-7 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the Class AAA state tournament, where he scored 40 points in a loss to eventual state champion Huntington.

As a result, Elmore was named captain of the Class AAA All-State boys basketball team by the WVSWA.

The All-State team itself marks a departure from many All-State lists in recent history. For the first time since 1996, the Class AAA champion did not land a player on the first team. Huntington’s 6-5 senior center Arick Nicks was a member of the second team, with 6-foot senior Nick Tubbs and 5-7 sophomore Tavian Dunn-Martin named to the third team.

The Highlanders beat Hurricane 55-54 in the Class AAA state tournament championship game last week, with Nicks sinking the winning free throw with 2.5 seconds remaining in the game.

Nicks averaged 16.2 points per game and nearly a dozen rebounds.

Hurricane also did not land a player on the first team, making it the first time since 1976 that neither team in the title game had a first-team All-State player. Redskins 6-5 senior center Henry Sorsaia was also a second-team pick. Sorsaia finished the season with an 18.3 scoring average and also hauled in an average of 10.6 rebounds.

Fairmont Senior beat Robert C. Byrd in the 1996 title game without a player being named to the All-State team. In its last year of existence, Wheeling High School beat Charleston for the 1976 title, and neither team placed a player on the first team.

A segment of teams that did have a strong impact on the makeup of the All-State list was those from the Eastern Panhandle. Washington entered the state tournament with an unbeaten record and the tournament’s top seed, but the Patriots fell to Huntington in the semifinals. Their 6-foot senior guard, Dominique Newman, made the list after he averaged 21 points per game.

Hedgesville’s 6-3 senior guard C.J. Burks was also named to the team. He scored 20 points per game and was the linchpin of an Eagles team that reached the state tournament semifinals before it fell to Hurricane in a triple-overtime classic.

Finally, Musselman 6-4 senior forward Trevon Wesco might be the most unlikely first-team selection, though he certainly proved his worthiness in leading the Applemen to a 16-6 record. The starting quarterback for the Musselman football team, Wesco tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the middle of football season. He managed to return in time for basketball, and averaged 22.2 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.

The team was completed by Lewis County 6-4 center John Riley, Preston 6-4 guard Jimmy Galusky and 6-foot South Charleston guard Brandon Knapper.

Riley was a considerable chore for opponents to defend during the Minutemen’s 17-6 campaign. He averaged 24.8 points and 13.4 boards per game and led the team to the Region 2, Section 1 championship.

Galusky averaged 25.6 points — the second-most in Class AAA behind Elmore — along with 9.8 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.1 assists. The Knights finished 11-14, but challenged Parkersburg South in a Region 1 co-final before falling 70-66 in Parkersburg.

Knapper went from being somewhat of a local buzz player to a statewide star on the rise with a 40-point performance in a win over Woodrow Wilson in early February. He led the Black Eagles, who finished 24-2, with a scoring average of 18.9 points per game.

South Charleston junior forward A.D. Cunningham was named third-team captain. He averaged 15.5 points per game.

Area honorable mention selections included Woodrow Wilson’s Nequan Carrington and Chase Hancock, Shady Spring’s Steven Chhabra and Oak Hill’s Jalen Jones.

— Register-Herald sports editor Cam Huffman contributed to this story.

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