By Cam Huffman
West Virginia University basketball fans have seen enough losing. The four WVU signees at Saturday’s Scott Brown Memorial Classic weren’t going to let them go home disappointed again.
The Little General All-Stars overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to force overtime and then outscored the Crossroads Chevrolet All-Stars 13-7 in the extra period to win 98-92 and send the crowd of around 1,700 fans — at least those wearing gold and blue — to the exits with smiles.
“It was awesome,” said Brandon Watkins of the clearly Mountaineer partisan crowd, which included his uncle, former Greenbrier East and WVU star Warren Baker. “Most of these guys had never seen me play before, so I wanted to show my skills.
“They came to watch us play, and they wanted to see us win. We really wanted to get it for them. Thank God we did.”
Watkins finished with 10 points and six rebounds, but all of the future Mountaineers showed themselves well, especially Devin Williams, who finished with 24 points and 15 boards. His thunderous dunk off an Elijah Macon miss with 38 seconds left in regulation helped send the game to overtime, and he was eventually named the game’s MVP.
“We’re going to be a whole lot better than we were last year,” said Williams, the No. 15 power forward prospect in his class according to Scout.com, analyzing WVU’s incoming recruiting class. “We’re going to win a whole lot more games. I know that.”
Macon, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Brewster Academy, finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Morgantown High School’s Nathan Adrian scored 13 points and grabbed five boards.
“We came out the second half and tried to play as hard as we could,” said the first-team all-state selection, who was on crutches with a broken foot when his Mohigan team visited the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center for the Big Atlantic Classic in February. “We lasted longer than them.”
West Virginia Sports Writers Association Player of the Year Donté Grantham — who’s still considering offers, including one from WVU — finished with nine points and six rebounds.
But the Little General squad also had some local flavor and was helped greatly by the play of two area Class AAA all-staters. First-teamer Chase Connor was 3-for-5 from the field, scoring nine points and dishing out three assists.
Connor is still considering his college options and hoping for a walk-on offer from WVU.
“I felt like I could have contributed a little more,” said the sharp-shooting guard, Class AAA’s leading scorer this year and the top all-time scorer in Shady Spring High School history. “But it’s an all-star game, and it’s all about having fun. I was happy with the result.
“I’m keeping everything open,” he continued of his college plans. “I’m just going to talk to my family and make the best decision for me.”
Woodrow Wilson’s Andrew Johnson showed tremendous heart and hustle and filled up the stat sheet with seven points, four rebounds, eight assists and a steal in the closing seconds that helped turn away Crossroads Chevy’s shot at a final-second win.
“I had a lot of fun,” said Johnson, who is headed to Hargrave Military Academy to play football. “I wanted to play with these D-I athletes and see where my actual talent is, and I feel like I did pretty good. I just wanted to play my hardest, and that’s what I did.
“Some of these D-I guys came out and tried to make a punk out of me, but I wasn’t going to have it. I may play regular high school basketball, but I ain’t no little girl.”
Johnson’s performance even caused some mixed emotions about leaving the game behind.
“I would like to (keep playing) if I had the chance, but nobody’s really talked to me about basketball,” he said. “That’s really why I chose football.”
On the other side, Virginia Tech-bound Donte Clark put on a show for the Hokie fans in attendance, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds, while Moses Kingsley, a Huntington Prep player who’s headed to Arkansas, had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Ahmad Fields (Utah) had 11 points, Travon Landry (Tennessee) 13 and Dominic Woodson (Baylor) scored 13.
Greenbrier East’s Dereck Weiford came off the bench for nine points on a perfect 3-for-3 night from 3-point range.
“It was a great crowd, and a great, competitive game,” said tournament director Bob Bolen. “People were taking charges and playing defense, and I think people were happy to see a real basketball game. It was a great evening.”
Donte Clark 6-15 3-3 15, Travon Landry 6-16 0-0 13, Ahmad Fields 4-10 3-4 11, Q.J. Peterson 2-12 1-2 7, Moses Kingsley 7-13 7-10 22, Ryan Meadows 1-2 0-0 2, Jalen Lewis 0-2 0-0 0, Dominic Woodson 5-8 3-4 13, Dereck Weiford 3-3 0-0 9. Totals: 34-81 17-23 92.
Nathan Adrian 5-10 2-2 13, Ra’Shaud Kincaid 1-6 0-0 3, Devin Williams 11-26 2-7 24, Brandon Watkins 4-13 2-5 10, Donté Grantham 3-7 2-2 9, Chase Connor 3-5 0-0 9, Andrew Johnson 2-5 2-4 7, Hunter Moles 1-2 0-0 2, Elijah Macon 9-15 3-4 21. Totals: 38-89 13-24 98.
CC 41 44 7 — 92
LG 44 41 13 — 98
3-point goals — CC: 7 (Weiford 3, Peterson 2, Landry, Kingsley); LG: 7 (Connor 3, Adrian, Kincaid, Grantham, Johnson). Fouled out — None.