The season is over. The championships have been settled. Most of the awards have been handed out.
Sunday afternoon at Patrick Henry High School, 40 Southwest Virginia girls and boys high school seniors, including 7 girls and 14 boys from “Big-11” squads, were given a send off fitting for queens and kings by the Western Virginia Basketball Officials Association.
In its second annual event, the girls all-stars, followed by the boys all-stars, each got to put on one final display of their skills in the high school ranks. An appreciative crowd in the PH gym saw an afternoon of offensive showcasing and plenty of long-range 3-pointers, while defense took a back seat in both of the games.
“The idea was to have an All-Star game similar to the one in Richmond,” WVBOA President Andre Levisy noted between Sunday’s two games. “We’re satisfied with the turnout and the exposure we’re getting from the media. We’re giving away four college scholarships, 2 to the girls and 2 to the boys who are participating. Every player has an opportunity to win with a random drawing.”
The girls lit up the scoreboard to the tune of a 101-66 final, while the boys followed suit 118-106. For many players, the game marked the end of their formal basketball careers. Others will continue at the college level. Regardless, it was an afternoon of fun.
“It was a lot of fun,” Cave Spring’s Jessica Lachowicz, a three-sport athlete for the Knights, said. “I was told I had been chosen earlier this week. It’s a joy to be putting on my Cave Spring uniform one last time.”
Hidden Valley senior Drew Freeland, who was selected last month to the VHSL 3A Girls All-State First Team after a four-year varsity career for the Titans, echoed those sentiments.
“This was awesome, so cool,” Freeland noted. “It’s bittersweet because you’re really sad high school is over and you’re putting on the jersey for the last time. But, I’ve also had so many great teammates, a lot of help from everyone and some incredible wins along the way.” Freeland is continuing her playing days as a walk-on at Division I Lafayette.
“What a great opportunity,” Cave Spring big-man Baker Haviland said after the boys shootout. “It’s great playing against your buddies one more time. I’m taking advantage of every moment.”
As players congregated at mid court, the scholarship drawings took place. Freeland and Franklin County’s Leah Wood each received $250 that will be sent to their respective college choices. On the boys side, Cave Spring’s Jake Furrow and Devyn Nichols of Craig County picked up the $250 awards.