Luke Vass doesn’t exactly have fond memories of his last game in a Fayetteville uniform.
The Pirates fell to county rival Midland Trail in a sectional tournament game on Feb. 25. With the school scheduled for closure at the end of the academic year, that wasn’t the final chapter of Fayetteville basketball anyone wanted to see.
That already was frustrating to Vass. Add to that the fact he had the least productive game of his senior year and, suffice to say, he would like to have that night back.
“It really sucks that Fayetteville High School is closing, and I did not have the best way of going out in the green and white,” Vass said. “It was my last game and I’m not really proud of it.”
As it turns out, Vass will get one final chance to represent his school.
Vass will team up with the C. Adam Toney Class A all-stars to take on the Jan-Care Class AA team at the 30th annual Little General Scott Brown Memorial Classic Saturday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. The 3-point shootout and slam dunk contest will start at 4 p.m., followed by the all-star game.
Not only will Vass have a shot to ease the sting of that sectional loss, he will also get to realize a goal he set two years ago.
“I got to watch my boys Marcus Lively and Will Fenton, who were on (Fayetteville’s) undefeated team, two years ago,” Vass said of his first time taking in the Scott Brown game. “I was sitting in the stands and I started hoping that one day I would be successful and I would have a good enough resumé to be chosen, and obviously I did.”
Make no mistake, Vass earned his shot. The honorable mention all-stater finished seventh in the state in scoring, averaging 24.5 points per game. A 3-point specialist, Vass once hit nine treys in a game against another county rival, Meadow Bridge.
He also reached a personal goal of scoring his 1,000th career point.
Vass is disappointed by the Pirates’ 7-16 final record, but he also enjoyed contributing in a spotlight role.
“I had a lot of fun,” he said. “Growing up I always dreamed of being the big-named guy I was this year, with all the hard work I put into it. It felt pretty good to go places and people would say, ‘That’s that Luke Vass kid.’ People knew who I was and that I was putting up some big numbers. I had a few college coaches talk to me, and people would see that on social media, the few offers I got. I worked hard, and scoring is the biggest thing in basketball and I was able to do a lot of that.”
It was that attention that directly led to his low scoring night against Midland Trail.
“That was my only single-digit scoring game all year,” said Vass, who was held to six points in a 47-42 loss. “They came out in a 1-3-1 and just trapped me. I didn’t have an awful shooting night; I didn’t get to shoot a lot. Their game plan worked. I had to pass the ball. As soon as I crossed half court they had two guys on me.”
Vass has not made a college decision. He said he has offers as a preferred walk-on at WVU Tech and Concord, and Rio Grande — Tech’s rival in the River States Conference — “might give me a little bit of money.”
For now, Vass is excited about this weekend. He will be teaming with Meadow Bridge seniors Jared Gladwell and Kobe Rozell, and they will be going against Andrew Work and Darrick McDowell of Oak Hill.
Vass said he and McDowell, who transferred from Fayetteville two years ago, are best friends, and he and Work have teamed together on the AAU circuit.
“Playing against two of my teammates will be really cool for me,” Vass said.
The game pitting the Mid-State Automotive Class AAA all-stars against the Employers’ Innovative Network national all-stars will be played Sunday at University High in Morgantown starting at 2 p.m.
All tickets for both games are $8. Tickets for the game in Beckley can be ordered in advance at beckleyconventioncenter.com.