The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Sports

March 26, 2014

Valley’s Warden named to all-state first team

CHARLESTON — The season didn’t end the way Greater Beckley Christian and Valley would have liked, but both teams are being recognized for some of their individual talent.

The Crusaders’ Elisha Kidd and the Greyhounds’ Zac Warden both were named to the Class A all-state first team, announced yesterday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Kidd, a 6-foot junior guard, averaged 20.6 points per game for Greater Beckley, which finished the year 19-7 and fell in the first round of the state tournament for the second straight season. The Crusaders trailed Clay-Battelle by 22 late in the third quarter, but a furious comeback saw them take the lead in the fourth quarter. Eventually, the mountain proved too steep in a 61-56 loss.

Valley also lost in the quarterfinals, dropping a 54-44 decision to eventual state runner-up Charleston Catholic. Warden was a big reason for the ’Hounds’ successful season. The sophomore center averaged 17.0 ppg as Valley went through a 22-4 campaign.

Also honored locally were second-teamers Javonne Staunton-Bailey of Greater Beckley Christian and Logan Pomeroy of Meadow Bridge, and third-team selections Henry Barron-Houchins of Valley and Rickie Carter of Midland Trail.

Charleston Catholic seniors Nick George and Garret McCarty made up the core of the Irish lineup in each of the last two seasons, starting 11 state tournament games in their four years at the school. George, a 6-4 forward, has been named the Class A captain, and point guard McCarty, joined him on the first team.

“As much as I know these men sitting up here, especially as leaders, the bottom line is they are truly doing it for themselves and for each other,” Catholic coach Bill McClanahan said regarding the duo after the Irish beat Notre Dame in a Class A state tournament semifinal last week.

McClanahan retired Saturday after the loss to Central. He announced he was stepping down in February.

“It’s not about me, it is truly about them,” McClanahan said. I’m part of it but the bottom line of it is it comes back to them.”

George averaged 18.7 points per game and finished his career as Charleston Catholic’s all-time scoring leader with 1,608 points. He had 20 points and 14 rebounds in a title-game loss to Central in double overtime.

McCarty, who began his career as a defensive specialist who learned the point position under former all-state point guard Bo McKown at Catholic, emerged as a scorer in his senior season. He averaged 18.4 points per game while remaining one of the top defenders in the state in 2014.

The state champion Maroon Knights also landed a pair of players on the all-state team, including 6-5 senior guard David Park, who averaged 17.9 points per game.

Park’s emergence in the stretch run of the title game, when he scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Irish began to struggle on offense, helped lead the school to its 11th state title in the sport. That total trails that only of Class AAA Woodrow Wilson’s 16 state championships.

Sophomore Chase Harler, a 6-3 guard, also made the team. He finished his season with an exclamation point by scoring 32 points in the title game, going 4 of 7 from 3-point range and sinking 10 of 13 free throws in the process.

“I’m glad I got to play him so one day I can say I got to play him,” George said of Harler. “He’s going to be special one day. He is special. I mean, 32 in the state championship game, that’s unbelievable.”

Harler averaged 20.2 points per game.

The all-state includes just one other senior. Notre Dame 6-4 forward Cal Cistaro made the cut after leading the Fighting Irish to their first state tournament semifinal appearance since 1989. Cistaro averaged 18.8 points per game.

Magnolia 6-1 sophomore guard Preston Boswell (24.5), who started for the Blue Eagles in the state tournament as a freshman in 2013, was the only member of the first team who did not play in Charleston last week.

Clay-Battelle 6-5 senior forward Zach Chisler (15.4) was named captain of the second team, and Notre Dame 5-7 freshman guard Jarrod West (11.0) captained the third team.

Local players who earned honorable mention on the Class A team were Druw Bowen and Raeshawn Breckenridge of Valley, Will Fenton of Fayetteville and Isaiah Francis of Greater Beckley.

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