by Bill Turner
Well, March Madness is in the rearview mirror and I hope everyone heeded the Wild One’s prediction last week of a Kentucky win. John Calipari definitely knows how to bring the thoroughbreds into his programs and although several will bolt to the NBA, expect him to reload faster than Jed Clampett. The long-term question is, will the Kentucky championship, like his other three Final-Four appearances with Memphis and UMass, have to be vacated. If that happens, he will look more like Jethro Bodine.
On the local high school basketball scene everything was looking very distinguished Sunday night at the 44th Annual Kiwanis Roanoke Metro Basketball Awards. Twenty-six athletes, one each from the thirteen area girls and boys teams, were named the unsung hero for their respective squad. The winners are not the headline grabbers, but those players who make behind-the-scenes contributions to overall team success.
Congratulations go out to all 26 players, as well as Glenvar’s Nick Stewart and Cave Spring’s Billy Hicks for being named the girls and boys Coach of The Year, respectively. The team sportsmanship award went to the Glenvar girls and the Lord Botetourt boys. The Player of The Year was Hidden Valley’s Tyler Evans on the girls side and Patrick Henry’s Marcus Banks for the boys.
Joining Evans on the girls All-Star Team were Ryjae Anderson (Wm. Fleming), Jade Lewis (Lord Botetourt), Jessi Strom (Glenvar) and Tay Taylor (Salem). Along with Banks on the boys All-Stars were Amin Abuhawwas (Cave Spring), B.J. Hamlett (PH), Miles Henderson (Wm. Fleming) and Dylan Hodson (Hidden Valley).
High school baseball hits spring break this week with most area teams kicking off district action April 17th. The first Wild Bill ‘Big-11’ Top-3 finds Northside, William Byrd and Lord Botetourt holding down the 1-3 spots. Look for other breakthroughs as district play begins.
The unusual stories on the high school baseball front both fall squarely with head coach Eric Lawrence’s North Cross Raiders. Last Thursday, North Cross picked up a VIC win with a 14-3 rout of Covenant, the first Raider diamond win over the Eagles since 1996. But, the stranger story was still on the horizon for North Cross. On Friday, Kentucky-bound Raider standout Thomas Weaver came to bat with the bases loaded against Holy Cross. From the left side, Weaver went long for the grand slam homer in the North Cross 15-1 win. Three days later, Weaver came to bat in the second inning against cross-town Roanoke Catholic. Once again, the bases were juiced. Yep…. he went deep again for another grand slam. This time though, he made it more interesting by hitting from the right side.
Now, to the ever-famous mailbag where azaleas and ladders get our reader attention.
Dear Wild Bill: I discovered a sure-fire solution to my Peeping Tom problem last year. I put a ladder under my window for bait- one that had faulty rungs on the top three steps. (Steve/Salem)
Dear golfer expert: Have you heard that there will be no azaleas blooming at the Masters this year? It’s the only reason I let my husband watch golf. (Racine/Roanoke)
Answer: You heard right, Racine. The early spring has already felled the blooms. My suggestion to Augusta is to place “Topsy-Turvys” behind the 13th green. If the TV cameras are strategically placed, few will pick up that these are upside-down tomatoes.
Must be global warming affecting both of the above, so see you next week.
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