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scrımmageplay THE CENTRAL VIRGINIA SPORTS AUTHORITY

It Begins

Basketball season is back and these five are picking up right where they left off. PAGE 07

VOL 8. ISSUE 6 :: DECEMBER 8, 2016


# F or k U n i on S trong

Student Profiles: Tarek Aboelthana Fork Union’s pipeline to the Egyptian swimming community runs deep, highlighted most recently by Ali Khalafalla, the Indiana University student who swam in the Olympics this past summer. Tarek Aboelthana is next in line, continuing the Blue Devils’ Egyptian legacy. Aboelthana is one of two members of the first Fork Union postgraduate swimming program’s inaugural class. “It gave me two chances, the first is the athletic chance to get on the radar for college coaches,” Aboelthana said. “That was the main goal but it also offered me many academic adventures too, taking college courses and my SATs so it’s a very good program for someone who’d like to go to college.” Aboelthana came in without any offers, but that didn’t last long. The breaststroke specialist is now pledged to Oakland University. “In the short time Tarek has been here, he has made some drastic improvements,” said Fork Union coach Ryan Campbell. “In the 100 breaststroke he dropped about a second and a half, and in the 200 breaststroke it’s about five and a half seconds. He has taken off and instantly not being on too many radars to having offers from Pittsburgh, LSU, Oakland to quite a few colleges coming to the table all at the same time.”

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scrımmageplay the central virginia sports authority

x’s and o’s 07

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS Surveying the basketball scene

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GAME TIME William Monroe edges Orange County in boys hoops

TICK TOCK Why need a shot clock in hoops

It Begins VOL 8 . ISSUE 6 :: DECEMBER 8, 2016

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ALL GEARED UP Indoor track and field takes off

vol 8. issue 6 :: December 8, 2016

Basketball season is upon us and picks up right where it left off. page 07

S TA F F Bart Isley, Creative Director Bob Isley, Infrastructure Director Ryan Yemen, Creative Editor O N T H E COV E R Ryan Ingram, Aamir Simms, Austin Katstra, Sam Brunelle and Brianna Tinsley. (photo by Ashley Thornton) M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T Local sports are the lifeblood of every community in America, and we’re here to reach beyond the basics and give compelling accounts about Central Virginia athletes to our readers. CO N TAC T U S [ e ] info@scrimmageplay.com [ p ] 434-249-2032

Community Partnership

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PREGAME

The 1K club

Charlottesville was just happy to beat Covenant 70-57 to start the season, but within that win was Alaijah Ragland reaching the 1,000-point milestone. Ragland needed just seven in the season debut to cross that mark but poured in 15. Entering her fourth year as a starter, Ragland joins the ranks of Shawntae Payne (2009), Ellie Von Storch (2011) and Kendall Ballard (2015) among recent 1K members for the Black Knights. ✖ (Photo by Bart Isley)

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TEAM SPOTLIGHT BLUE RIDGE BASKETBALL Local student athletes volunteering for a local charity. The Barons gave their time to the Charlottesville Toy Lift to provide toys and books for the holidays to children in the area up to eighth grade. The Toy lift helps kids in Charlottesville, and in the Counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Green and Nelson. That’s a fantastic job for a fantastic charity. Keep up the great work, Barons!

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First Quarter All geared up

Indoor track season to give us a glimps into the spring By Bart Isley

W

The Blue Devils return 3200-meter state champion Julian Yescas. (Fork Union)

{ THE BREAKDOWN } Yescas’ indoor personal records

9:44.9 4.31.7

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hen it comes to track and field, the outdoor season in the spring is the big event, with the outdoor state titles serving as the state’s Holy Grail. But, often, indoor is where a foundation is laid for that spring success.

A few years back in 2009, progress during indoor set the stage for the Albemarle men’s 4x800 team’s national record-setting spring. With the wide range of talent that’s back this winter, it clear that a number of Central Virginia athletes are set to make a major impact. Woodberry Forest’s indoor track squad won the VISAA state title last season, and while Michael Davenport headed to Virginia Tech, a number of big-time contributors are back for the Tigers. Joe Stephenson, a triple jumper and 55-meter hurdler is back after a strong football campaign. The West Pointbound athlete should be a major factor. Bebe Olaniyan and Cameron Hill should both be a factor in the 55-meter dash and as part of a formidable sprint relay (4x200) squad. Olaniyan is a triple jumper as well and Hill competes in the long jump. Pole vaulter Kyle Kauffman was the state champion last season. Fork Union will contend with the graduation of Alex Lomong and Levord Burns among others, but football wideouts Nathan Disbrow and Logan Justice made an impact in sprints last year and should continue to play a role this year. Julian Yescas is also slated to be back a year after he sprinted his way to the 3200-meter championship. On the public school side for the boys, there are a lot of potential breakout stars and book shoes to fill with the graduation of standouts like Western’s Gannon Willcutts On the girls side in the public ranks though, there are a ton of stars back in the fold, led by the reigning Scrimmage Play female track

and field athlete of the year, Kathryn Mayo. The Albemarle senior who recently pledged to join North Carolina’s track and field program is the three-time outdoor champion in the 800 meters and coming off an incredible year in field hockey where she emerged as one of the state’s best. Mayo won the indoor 1,000-meter Group 5A state title race last year. Mayo is also a part of a indoor state titlewinning 4x800 team that includes Hailey Dillenbeck, Lauren Hughlett and Ryann Helmers that all return. Helmers was also the individual runner-up in the indoor 3200-meter state championship race. For Fluvanna County, Matasha Martin returns a year after scoring in four different events at the Group 3A indoor state meet as runner-up in 55-meter hurdles, fourth in high jump, third in long jump and seventh in 55-meter dash. Western has distance runners Zoe Clay, the defending 3200-meter indoor champion in Group 3A and Averi Witt back in the fold. Witt was the runner-up in the 1600-meter indoor race as a junior. Nichole Heon also returns, she took sixth in the indoor long jump last season, as does Katrine Berg, who took 11th as just a freshman in the 300-meter dash last year. Throw in Louisa County’s Taylor Robinson, who finished third last year in the indoor 55-hurdles and it’s apparent that Central Virginia athletes have the potential to make a major impact in indoor track in 2016. ✖

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College Update

We’ve gone digital

Western’s White, Albemarle’s Moyers help VT on NCAA run

But you can have it in print too!

By Bart Isley It took a long time for Forrest White’s first collegiate goal to find the back of the net, especially considering he scored 59 of them as a senior at Western Albemarle. But nearly three years into his time at Virginia Tech, he picked the perfect time to net his first. White blasted home the game-winning goal in overtime against Indiana in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16, helping lift the Hokies past the Hoosiers, a program that has won eight national titles. White stung the ball off the far post from 25 yards out, a blast that put Tech in the Elite Eight. White had taken 30 shots in his college career over the last three seasons, with none of them going in before the 31st struck in the 98th minute against Indiana. The goal capped an incredible charge by the Hokies, with a pack of Virginia Tech midfielders and forwards racing downfield on the attack. He combined with another local to get the job done for Virginia Tech as Albemarle graduate Brendan Moyers, just a freshman, scored the other goal for the Hokies in the 2-1 overtime victory. Moyers’ goal came in the first half and put the Hokies up 1-0. White has appeared in 35 games during his

career at Virginia Tech, starting six of those contests. He’s tallied two assists in that time. Moyers has gotten off to a fast start this season, his first with the Hokies, starting 15 times for Virginia Tech while appearing in 21 matches. He’s scored twice and dished out three assists as a forward. White was the two-time Scrimmage Play boys soccer player of the year, and he flashed a diverse skill set during that time at Western Albemarle, making his mark first as a distributing, game-managing central midfielder. As a senior, he moved to the top of the formation and exploded as the state’s most potent forward, scoring those 59 goals while dishing out another 29 assists. He also led the Warriors to a Group 3A state title in the process. Two years later, it was Moyers who was dominating at the top of the formation locally while leading his team to a championship. Earlier this year in the spring, Moyers scored 16 goals for the Patriots and finished with 15 assists en route to a Group 5A title. Now they’ve got Virginia Tech playing at a high level and making waves in the NCAA tournament, with only more to come in 2017. ✖

BELOW » Former Western Albemarle standout Forrest White put Virginia Tech into the NCAA tournament quarterfinals with his effort against Indiana. (Virginia Tech Sports Information)

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taking it to

the streets STORY BY RYAN YEMEN & BART ISLEY | PHOTOS BY ASHLEY THORNTON

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A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT — basketball season has a different vibe to it than the fall sports. And when it comes to hoops in December, it’s not about winning out of the gate, not about how good just one player might be. For five teams with five marquee players, this first month of play is about trying to pick up the pieces from February and March of last season. It’s about shaking off rust, redeveloping or bettering the chemistry these five teams led by these five unique athletes had in 2015-2016. When it comes to the ‘16-’17 campaign, whether it’s Sam Brunelle at William Monroe, Brianna Tinsley at St. Anne’s-Belfield, Austin Katstra at Albemarle, Ryan Ingram at Western Albemarle or Aamir Simms at Blue Ridge, the bottom line is simple — these five lead the pack of teams with great expectations considering just how good they were, their teams were, last year. All five of them are veterans, yes even the sophomore in Brunelle. They all know that process of getting better as players on an individual level, helping their respective teams take that next step as strong programs, that’s something that happens over time. It’s a process that does not happen overnight, does not happen without relentless work on and off the court. For these five athletes, these five programs, December is just a window into January before the nitty-gritty of February rolls around. As such, the emphasis for both these athletes and their respective programs is about getting things started off on the right foot, finding that perfect composition that makes a great team. All the elements are there, now it’s just about being passionate about the moment, working things out in the gym and reconfiguring all the things that made last year so great for these players and their teams to make this year even more special. This season starts slowly, and it snowballs into something greater.

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aamir simms BLUE RIDGE, SR.

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it was such a learning process. it was not me chasing a starting .. position.

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WHEN HE WAS A FRESHMAN at Fluvanna County, Aamir Simms did a lot of outside shooting. As a sophomore at Blue Ridge, Simms spent time with shot-blocking machine Mamadi Diakite who’s now at the University of Virginia. Those practices helped to jump-start Simms’ natural transition into a more post-centric player. Last year, Simms thrived in the paint as he grew into his frame and started throwing his weight around. Now at 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, he’s coming off a year where he averaged 13.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and two blocks per game. With the graduation of forward Scott Spencer, who’s now at Clemson, and Malik Johnson, who’s now at Canisius, Simms is the focal point for a Barons squad looking to make a third-straight trip to Petersburg to play in the VISAA Division 2 championship. But not so fast. “My main goal as a veteran on this team is to not get caught looking so far ahead to March,” Simms said. “It’s not about focusing on winning a state championship yet. It’s about getting the right pieces together for whenever we have to go to war with another team. We’re just trying to get the chemistry on this team to 100 percent. We’ll worry about the other stuff as we come to it.” Interestingly enough, because of his size, Simms is probably the only piece of the puzzle last year that Blue Ridge could not afford to replace. As slippery fast as Johnson was and as accurate and deadly of a shooter as Spencer was, the Barons have depth at guard with Josh Colon, Darius McGhee, Myles Jones and Xavier Kane and all of them are capable of contributing significantly on offense. Simms on the other hand? Well, true doubledouble threats don’t exactly grow on trees. But any team that expects Simms to just camp out in the paint is sorely mistaken. The Blue Ridge senior has a much greater compliment of tools and second-year Barons coach Cade Lemcke is interested in putting a governor on his team’s blue-chip talent. With a deep bench, Blue Ridge runs about as close to a “32-minutes of hell” as there is and that allows Simms to show off his versatility, contributing to the press, bringing the ball up the court at times to break an opposing press, and of course, spotting up from outside which is where his game largely was back in 2013. Suffice it to say, Simms’ game has evolved over the years to allow him to become such a difference maker on so many different spots on the floor. “Watching YaYa Anderson growing up in Fluvanna, that’s what made me want to be a perimeter player, watching how explosive he was off the dribble and how he could shoot threes and get into the paint,” Simms said. “Playing around Mamadie, that made my footwork so much better. He wasn’t the greatest scorer or rebounder, he just had the greatest footwork. It was such a learning process. It was not me chasing a starting position behind him. It was me learning my role.”


And now the shoe is on the other foot as Blue Ridge is in the cycle of developing talent. Much excitement surrounds the Barons with the addition of Richard Amaefule, a 6-foot-8 freshman from London, England. He provides depth in the paint along with sophomore Jaden Frazier and junior Babacar Diagne. The opportunity for those younger talents to learn from Simms is obvious. Things have come full-circle for Simms. Where it was him learning from Diakite when he was a sophomore, the Clemson-bound Simms is now the one helping a group of underclassmen round out their game through hard practices. “I feel like as long as we keep going hard in games, practicing hard, we can have the deepest bench in the state once again,” Simms said. Of course, as a senior, much is expected of Simms as a leader. He’s an excitable personality on the floor so expect the pieces to fall perfectly into place in that department. An unselfish player, Simms is as animated when he’s catching his breath on the bench as he is after he finishes off a fast break dunk. That unselfish culture is one that Lemcke has been able to create by distributing so many minutes to so many different players. Of course, the flip side to that coin is that those minutes are taxing, require outstanding conditioning and mental toughness. With so many young players, it will be up to Simms to help bring his teammates along on what it takes to get to the postseason and be effective as he’s seen and experienced what that means these last two years. ✖

austin katstra ALBEMARLE, SR. THAT COLLECTIVE GROAN across the Jefferson District is opposing coaches trying to find a gameplan to contain Albemarle’s versatile big man. If it feels like Katstra has been playing forever, it’s because he has, he’s a 4-year starter that’s been at the center of the Patriots’ rise over these last few seasons. Albemarle was done being the young project last year. And while the loss of a handful of key senior role players like Myles Adams-Yates, Kennedy Brown and Grant Kersey presents a new challenge, the fact that this team made it to the Group 5A final four last year puts the Patriots front and center as the team to beat and the program everyone is itching to try and beat. Last year was an odd one for Katstra as he was nicked up in December and the team turned to Jake Hahn to shoulder the scoring load. When Katstra returned, it took a while for Albemarle develop the chemistry it had initially intended to back in December. However, come late February and March, the Patriots got hot and stayed that way. Katstra finished the

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we are going with a bit of a different .. strategy on offense.

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on the boards If you’re going to win games, you’ve got to take care of business on the boards. Rebounds drive second-chance shots and shuts down the opposition’s possessions. These four players are poised to give their squads a big advantage on the boards.

EMILY MAUPIN, COVENANT GIRLS Emily Maupin pulled in a tremendous 20.1 rebounds per game last year, tops among all area players, girls or boys. Having the Elon-bound forward back is a huge boost for the Eagles, virtually guaranteeing an edge on the glass. BRYCEN NEWBY, BUCKINGHAM COUNTY BOYS The lone returning starter for the Knights, Newby is a strong post presence on both ends of the court for the Knights at 6-foot-4. He’s particularly potent as a rebounder, averaging 9.4 boards per contest. That’s a solid building block for the Knight as they look to rebuild. SIERRA SMITH, ST. ANNE’S-BELFIELD GIRLS Sierra Smith just has a different set of values when when it comes to basketball. Smith puts a premium on defense and rebounding above all else, and STAB’s squad has been reaping the benefits. At 12.9 boards per game, she’s an absolute force underneath and when she finds Bri Tinsley, Jayla Davis or Jovia Winkey on the outlet, STAB’s becomes particularly dynamic. KAJUAN STINNIE & KHALIL VEST, CHARLOTTESVILLE BOYS While the Black Knights will likely still be a guard-driven team, Kajuan Stinnie (6-foot-4) and Khalil Vest (6-foot-3) give them some height in the paint and the potential to clean up on the boards. If that tandem can use that height and turn last year’s flashes of brilliant play into a night-in and night-out effort, it’ll be huge for Charlottesville.

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season averaging 14.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Come tournament time, he performed well enough to earn his way to the All-Group 5A first team squad. With Hahn back in a familiar role after his All-Group 5A second team effort last season, the Patriots are in good shape. They have the program’s all-time leading scorer in Katstra and in Hahn, a player poised to finish second in that department. These two aren’t just seniors, they’ve played two high school careers worth each. But the Patriots looks from last year change quickly after you get past their cornerstone duo. “We are pretty different from last year personnel wise and so we are going with a bit of a different strategy on offense,” Katstra said. “We have a lot of tall, quick guards that can help us and our offense has looked really good coming out of camp.” J’Quan Anderson, Cartier Key and Na’il Arnold all came off the bench last season and are poised to have breakout seasons on the hardwood. Anderson’s a more physical presence at guard than the Patriots have had in awhile. With the addition of Maxx Jarmon, the top talent from Albemarle’s JV squad last year, Albemarle has some tinkering to do, but Katstra likes what he’s seen so far. “All of these guys have gotten a lot better since last season,” Katstra said. “J’Quan is bigger and faster. Maxx has developed his shot. Cartier is just better, has improved all around. And all the other guys have worked hard too. So I’ve been really impressed by all of them.” Of course, the football program didn’t exactly make it easy on coach Greg Maynard. The Patriots playoff push kept a pair of projected starters in Anderson and Arnorld from practicing until late November, making the chemistry building process all that much more difficult. But there’s a solid trade off in that scenario. Albemarle has just got an injection of talent that’s eager to win, to try and put a difficult end to the fall behind them with a strong start this winter. “We’ve got four guys who’ve only been with us for three days (before Thanksgiving),” Katstra said. “It’s been fun having them back from football but we’re definitely looking to build off of their run, their passion, their fire.” At the end of the day though, this team was and will continue to be defined by Katstra’s athleticism down low and Hahn’s ability to take over games with his shooting. So for these two seniors, the job is somewhat simple in that they just have to be who’ve they’ve always been. However, as seniors, they have new roles as vocal leaders. “We had six seniors last year, so it’s definitely up to us to take more of a leadership role,” Katstra said. “We have to step up, help the new guys learn what they need to, things like that. It’s really just about bringing the team closer.” There’s no doubt that this will be a different looking, different operating Albemarle team this year. But if Katstra and company can channel what they found last year in February and March, there’s no reasons the results should be any different in 2016-2017. For this team, a decent showing in the Region 5A North tournament isn’t going mean much. Those days are behind them for right now. ✖


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Charlottesville girls basketball coach Jim Daly likes to use an old saying when discussing freshmen -- that the best thing about them is that they become sophomores. But Kaniyah Key broke that mold. “She was so mature, we never felt she was a ninth grader, she carries herself with such poise, she takes coaching so well,” Daly said. “It’s just the way she carries herself.” Key is just a sophomore now but she already knows how to take care of business on and off the court. “She’s such an intelligent young lady and so hard working, there is no immaturity, which is such a nice thing,” Daly said. “She really gets after it in the classroom, she’s constantly on the honor roll.” The Black Knights’ power forward boasts a 3.7 GPA and has made honor roll each quarter since starting at CHS. Key is plugged into AVID andYoung Life at school while also working with younger students at the Boys and Girls Club during the summer. Key has clearly set the bar for CHS girls basketball freshmen going forward.

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brianna tinsley STAB, SR.

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i think we are actually better there than on offense which .. is good.

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HER QUICKNESS, HER PESKINESS on defense are the staples of any guard that’s suited up for St. Anne’s-Belfield under coach Phil Stinnie’s tenure. Brianna Tinsley is as complex an athlete as you’ll find in Central Virginia. She’s lightning fast, she’s creative and she’s fearless. And while she took a big step forward offensively last year, with sharpshooter Ashley Taylor now at William and Mary, the pressure in that department is increased. If you thought Tinsley had a great stat line last year — 17.4 points per game, 5.2 assists, 3.9 steals and 3.7 rebounds — wait until you see her numbers this year as Stinnie may lean on her more, particularly from an offensive standpoint because this team is young. Really young. With just Tinsley, and Jayla Davis as the only seniors, STAB will need everything it can get from them as leaders. “With a lot of young girls we need to show more leadership,” Tinsley said. “I have to score and all that, but it’s also about helping all the younger players learn. When you’re young you don’t fully understand the game, you have to get through different stages. So it’s going to be about us maturing as a team, shaking some rust off a little bit.” Here’s the thing though, even though seven sophomores are on this team, talents like Jovia Winkey and Vanessa Woodfolk contributed in large ways as freshmen. “That was really surprising and was exciting to watch — it helped so much,” Tinsley said. “I know they’re going to contribute a lot this year so obviously we’re even more excited now.” So yes this team is young, but it is loaded with talent and the Saints were already off to a great start with Tinsley, who’s headed to play for the University of Virginia and Davis, who will suit up for Sacred Heart next year. STAB has always thrived on overall team speed, but this group might be as quick as any that Stinnie has put together. With Tinsley, the Saints have a premiere point guard who’s a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor and everybit as a good as a passer. Her defense is as good as it gets and she obviously flies up and down the floor on both ends. Having Davis is almost like having another Tinsley. Davis averaged 9.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals last year. Throw in another quick guard in Winkey, who averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals and you’ve got a 3-headed monster of a backcourt, one that applies an insane amount of ball pressure. “We look really good on the defensive end,” Tinsley said. “I think we are actually better there


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four on the point Point guards are the engines that drive offense. They create, they distribute, they are the at the forefont of the offensive and defensive attack. And there some really good ones to keep an eye on this year. ISIAH SMITH, MADISON COUNTY BOYS The area’s assist leader is back this season ready to run the Mountaineers’ potentially high-powered offense that advanced to the region quarterfinals in 2016. If they’re going to build on that campaign this year, Smith will have to play a big role in a run, and he’s more than capable, having scored 14.0 points per game while dishing out 6.0 assists per contest. Look for him and teammates like the last year’s SP newcomer of the year Dalton Taylor to make the Mountaineers particularly tough right out of the gate. J’QUAN ANDERSON, ALBEMARLE BOYS There’s no question that Albemarle has the goods to build on last season’s state semifinal run, especially with Austin Katstra and Jake Hahn back, but Kennedy Brown graduated, and it’s going to take some different players stepping up to fill the point guard slot including J’Quan Anderson, who is coming off a breakout junior season on the gridiron. DESHAUN WADE, MILLER SCHOOL BOYS Miller’s new point guard DeShaun Wade is a 6-foot-2 transfer from Green Run in Virginia Beach, and with a couple of scholarship offers already under his belt, Wade has the potential to be a major leader for the Mavericks, who graduated a ton of talent from last year’s state quarterfinalist squad including four current collegiate players. Wade has been cutting his teeth in the challenging Beach District the last three years, so he’s no stranger to tough competition. SECRET BRYANT, MILLER SCHOOL GIRLS Last season, Secret Bryant’s emergence was a big reason that the Mavericks put together a strong late run to win the VISAA Division II state championship. Now she’ll look to power a new edition of the Mavericks that includes returners Aby Morrill, Hannah Woodards and Hannah Coles and some promising newcomers like Yasmine Taylor and Olivia Wagner. If Bryant (11 ppg and 5.0 apg last year) can get everyone involved, the Mavericks will be tough again.

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than on offense, which is good because our defense can create offense.” While the Saints are clearly set at guard, they also have an underrated talent in the post in Sierra Smith. She is the rebounding anchor for this team as she averaged 12.9 boards per game as a sophomore last season. Obviously her role offensively will increase this year, and considering that she averaged 5.3 points per contest last year, Smith seems poised to be a true breakout player for STAB this campaign. The other player to watch for the Saints is Woodfolk. The sophomore should help Smith out in the rebounding department and is a lengthy defender. Woodfolk should also aid the Saints offensively from the perimeter, something greatly needed with Taylor’s graduation. With a 21-4 campaign last year, STAB made a third-straight appearance in the VISAA Division 1 final four. The Saints obviously have the talent and depth to continue being a premier player at the state level, but clearly Tinsley would like to see her senior season end with that elusive championship trophy. If she takes just even the slightest step forward from the outstanding junior season she had, the Saints are in prime position to have another shot. ✖

ryan ingram WESTERN ALBEMARLE, SR. FOR THE FIRST TWO YEARS of Ryan Ingram’s time at Western Albemarle, the question was just how far his individual effort could carry the Warriors. Last year with Western’s incredible depth flexing its muscle, Ingram became the kind of guard teams are used to seeing under coach Darren Maynard — a defensive stalwart, a distributing artist but one still capable of pouring in double digits offensively when the time called for it. He was the engine that drove Western to a Group 3A quarterfinal showing, the first time the Warriors had been to the state tournament since the 2009-2010 season. There are some changes to this roster, but the overall core talent is back. And so look for Western to be right where it always seems to be, at the top of the Jefferson District standings duking it out with rivals Albemarle and Charlottesville. “We’ve got a great group of returning


players, we just need some different guys to step up here and there,” Ingram said. “Our starting five played a lot of minutes last year, and so with that experience, we are hoping to be as good or better than last year.” The biggest losses for the Warriors are in the frontcourt with the graduation of Mike Vale and Carrington Murphy. That senior duo led the way for Western down low, particularly on the glass. Last season Austin Cress shared minutes with Vale and Murphy and it will be up to him, at least very early on, to lead the way in the paint. And at 6-foot-9, he’s got the height advantage to do so. “Austin Cress is going to be really good this year,” Ingram said. “He’s worked so hard in the offseason and just gotten a lot better. He’s going make a difference for us.” Some new additions will add depth to that frontcourt as a power forward. And while Western’s strength is at guard and forward, the team’s overall height should be an advantage with seven of its 12 on the roster listed at 6-foot-3 or more. The Warriors have true scoring depth too, and when you pair that with Maynard’s ability to consistently put together a strong and fundamental defensive squad, that makes this team dangerous. Offensively, the Warriors can pick and chose what to do with Ingram. He’s a threat to spot up and shoot from anywhere on the floor and has serious range. He’s strong off the dribble and finds ways to draw contact underneath. He’s an exceptional free throw shooter. And last year we saw that he’s quite an unselfish player and more than capable of distributing to the ball all over the floor. “The scheme is really similar for me, not too different from last year, just a few new plays,” Ingram said. “I think the big difference is having to be a vocal leader because last year we had Carrington and Mike who did that as seniors. That’s a big change for me.” And if that’s really all that changes for Ingram, the Warriors should be able to pick up from where they left off last year. Part of what made Western so interesting as a team was it’s ability to get a different leading scorer from night-to-night. With senior Josh Coffman and junior Chris McGahren back in the mix, the Warriors have a trio of lights-out shooters that can connect from beyond the arc. Those two also figure to be critical in the rebounding department and finishing down low off the wing when that extra pass gets made. So with Ingram running the show once again, expect business as usual at Western. This program is consistently one of the best in Central Virginia yearafter-year and perhaps no team is responsible for more big gates, home or away. That’s a pretty serious sign of respect from the rest of the JD. But of course, it does also mean that the other seven schools are frothing at the mouth for a win over Western. If you’ve seen the Warriors play over the years, you’ll know that they like it that way. ✖

..

so with that experience. we are hoping to be as good or .. better than last year. www.scrimmageplay.com ::

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sam brunelle WILLIAM MONROE, SO.

..

all the guards are better. they worked hard ... our patience with pressure is .. better.

17 :: @scrimmageplay

HER FRESHMAN YEAR was as good as any senior could have asked for. When you’re Sam Brunelle and you average 23.8 points per game, 17.5 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, you didn’t just have a breakout season, you over-acheived the collegiate level expectations that were there before you ever stepped on the court. Brunnelle’s summer? Try playing for Team USA’s U-17 squad, the only freshman on the roster. Last year before the season began, Brunelle drew headlines for getting an offer from Wake Forest nearly two years before she played in her first high school game. This year, she enters as the nation’s number one recruit for her class. In that sense, the cat is out of the bag, and opposing teams know what to expect from Brunelle. But then again, so does Brunelle, both from herself and what the competition plans to throw at her. Her approach? Keep it simple. “I’m just going to play my game and see where it goes from there,” Brunelle said. It’s more complicated if you’re trying to figure what that might mean as a coach. If a press needs breaking, Brunelle can be in the inbounding passer or the target for one of her fellow teammates. She can bring the ball up the court and run things like a shooting guard, or make a pass and head into the key and set up shop down low. A rebounding and shot blocking menace, she allows the Monroe defense to spread its tentacles outwards to create ball pressure. In all ways, shapes and forms, Brunelle is the swiss army knife of players, which is to say, it’s going to be those around her that define what the most decorated sophomore in the country does on the court this year. And with a smaller roster than last year, that means opportunities for a number of players to take big steps forward. “It’s a little different not having 15 girls but with the 10 we’ve got on the roster this year, nine of them are returning players from last year, so that’s good,” Brunelle said. “We’re looking forward to having a great season and hopefully making a nice run at the end.” For Brunelle, playing for Team USA was a bit of a departure from the AAU and high school circuit as it allowed her to continue to develop her game outside. Now back in the high school game, Brunelle and coach Jess Stafford can choose to establish the sophomore in the paint as most teams would expect, to let her take


advantage of a sagging defense by shooting from the perimeter, or some kind of mixed bag. Each game will be a little bit of a mystery when it comes to the Dragons and their execution. The big question for Monroe is how things will play out at guard. Kristin Manz, Grace Samuels and Kristin Shifflett are returning seniors and Lacey Beale adds depth as a sophomore. If the Dragons get strong play, particularly defensively from its backcourt, this team is poised to give George Mason a run for its money at the top of the Bull Run District standings. “All the guards are better this season,” Brunelle said. “They worked hard and came to all our preseason activities and you can just see their handles are better. Our patience with pressure is better. So it’s easy to see that every one of our guards has improved.” But perhaps nothing matters more for Monroe than the way that Brunelle and Da’Jour Strother play off of one another. Strother is a true post presence and her 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game made her a breakout player as well for the Dragons. Figuring out how to defend Monroe the first go around for most teams was just a guess. The second time around, things were pretty consistent.

“Towards the end of the year we saw a lot more double-teams and box-and-1’s on me so Dajour got the opportunity to play off that and did very well,” Brunelle said. “So we’re looking forward to seeing that all year from defenses and adjusting to it.” The combination of Brunelle and Strother gives Monroe the deepest frontcourt in the area. And since that duo commands so much attention, the opportunity should be there for senior forwards Lindsay Knights and Jazmin Freeman as well as freshman Daish Rae Wellons to finish on open looks. Last season wasn’t just a breakout season for Brunelle and Strother, it was for a Dragons team that had struggled since the 2010-2011 season. Qualifying for the Region 3A East tournament was a big step forward for this program, and the fact that Monroe was just one win away from making the Group 3A field should keep this team heavily motivated. Yes there’s pressure on this team, on Brunelle to take another giant leap forward. But that’s a two-way street, because there’s an equal amount of pressure on Monroe’s opposition to stop them from being dominant. ✖

eyes on the jefferson district There are a lot of teams capable of battling it out for the Jefferson District girls basketball title, but based on what they’re returning, Charlottesville has to be one of the early favorites. Don’t be surprised if this year is just like last year with upsets, parity and all the things make a tight race that much more entertaining. Seniors Alajiah Ragland and Destinee McDonald are back, giving the Black Knights one more season of the area’s best onetwo scoring punch. Both can create their own shot, Ragland never loses confidence and McDonald is flat our relentless at attacking the basket. While that would likely be enough to tilt things in favor of the Black Knights, they’ve also got Daeja Wade and Kajesha Taylor back, which is a combined 12.1 rebounds per game between the two forwards. Throw in Kaniyah Key (averaged 7.0 ppg in the final month of the season) and Zanequa Thomas’ return and things get interesting quickly. There are a lot of challengers though too. Western returns a lot in the post in forwards Eleri Hayden, Deja Newton-Grant and Shannon Moore, plus one of the area’s best freshmen last year Elisabeth Coffman is back after a breakout campaign at the point. Coffman’s scoring gives the Warriors one of their first fearless shooters in a few years. Orange County will lean on its guards, particularly Laine Harrington and Lindsey Slaughter. Harrington has been a force for years. Overcoming the loss of Kiani Hudgens, the four-year starter at point guard, is one of the Hornets’ early challenges. Fluvanna has to deal with the departure of Katie Stutz and Bri Harris, which means Chaniyah Brown, Darrah Martin, Jemicka Johnson and Alex Daniels have to step up. There’s also a potential youth movement afoot in Palmyra with five freshman as potential contributors. Albemarle, meanwhile, is slated to return the core of Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper, Anne Ridenhour and Aneesha Debruhl. With the right development around that group, Albemarle could be dangerous. Monticello lost Kiana Scott, but they return Kirstena Lilley, Mariah Brown and Hannah Shifflett to form an experienced front court. Monticello’s young guards will have to step up for them to be a factor. With Louisa County also showing they’d be in the fight last year with the emergence of point guard Tyi Skinner and DaNikqua Marshall underneath plus Powhatan bringing back Kylee Maiolo at point guard, the Jefferson District girls battle should be a wild one this year.

x

www.scrimmageplay.com ::

18 12


Game Time

Monroe 65, Orange 54 By Bart Isley

The Dragons opened up the year with a win over the Hornets and sit at 3-1 on the year. (Bart Isley)

19 :: @scrimmageplay

Anthony Terry knew that William Monroe need something, anything to slow down a methodical Orange County surge with just under six minutes to play. So Terry stepped up, hitting a hard bucket and drawing the foul for a 3-point play, energizing the crowd and the Dragons en route to a 65-54 victory. “They were coming back and we felt like they couldn’t run with us so we just turned up the tempo,” Terry said. Kam’ron McCain followed up with a bucket of his own right after Terry, extending what had become a precarious four-point lead back out to eight points. Orange quickly called a timeout but couldn’t bounce back from the Dragons’ spurt and Monroe kept them at arm’s length the rest of the way. “They were making a little bit of a run right there and it’s nice for our seniors to step up and just take it to the hole strong,” said Monroe coach Brett Maynard. “Orange has some really big guys, some strong players and (Terry and McCain) were finishing through that contact.” Those seniors got a lot of help from an explosive effort by junior Jalen Anderson who exploded for 20 points and got all 20 on an array of different shots. He hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter (he had 10 in that frame alone) and then attacked the rim relentlessly after that. “He’s been telling us he was going to be one of the stars on the team and he showed it tonight,” Terry said. Anderson backed up that talk in a big way, translating a serious commitment to getting better during the offseason into immediate results for Monroe.

“He’s been working really hard in the offseason, he’s come to about everything we’ve had and he’s very gifted offensively,” Maynard said. “He’s really improved defensively which has helped him get on the court for us and become a starter this year. He just has a knack for getting to the hole and knocking down some shots. I’m really pleased with how he’s developed and his hard work.” McCain finished with seven assists for the Dragons to go with his 10 points on the night while Terry notched 14 points. Malique Shackelford put together a 12-point performance for Monroe. It was the Hornets’ opener as well, and in Albemarle alum Adam Utz’ first game as the Hornets’ head coach, Orange had to bounce back from a frustrating first half where the Dragons built a 31-24 lead. The second half, however, gave Orange something to build on. “In the first half we were lackadaisical, we were slow to the ball, our defensive rotation was awful,” Utz said. “I think if we can keep our guys engaged and pressuring the ball for four quarters we can be pretty good. We’re still trying to identify who we are and once we do I think we can be pretty tough.” Shannon Mull’s 17 points led the Hornets’ offensive effort while Zachary Wiliby chipped in 12 and forward Chris Dickerson finished with nine. The Dragons and Hornets will go at it again on December 10 at Orange which will be Monroe’s first road trip of the season after five straight home games. It will be Orange’s first home game after five straight road trips. ✖


See a photograph you like? Defensive stand Warriors goalie has more than one trick | By Ryan Yemen

At Scrimmage Play we pride ourselves on offering the best possible graphics Two years ago the Western Albemarle boys to Shin, who doubles as a Junior National Judo soccer team get was fueled its underclassmen medalist, we can our byhands on, in both our but has developed into one of the with sophomores and freshman bearing the area’s most versatile goalkeepers. magazine as well as at our website at brunt of the work load. The netminder has shown he’s capable of Now two years later, forwards Aaron Myers making big saves, particularly in the team’s www.scrimmageplay.com and Alex Nolet, as well as senior defender two ties. In the first game of the season, Tom Rogers are all in their senior seasons and looking to earn a Region II bid, something that Orange County snatched away from them in the Jefferson District semifinals last season. After the first month of play, the Warriors seem to have the defensive side of the equation figured out and junior goalkeeper Kai Shin is a big part of that. Before Western went on its spring break, none of its four opponents were able to score more than once, a testament to the team’s play in the middle of the field, but also a nod

Shin endured wave after wave of Albemarle attack, but stood tall and showed no rust in the 1-1- tie. But while Shin’s on the field because he can make stops, his strong leg has also been of great use as he’s able to easily clear the zone but also spark fast breaks all by himself. The Warriors averaged a little over two goals per contest before the break, but if that average starts to increase, don’t be surprised if it’s because of Shin’s ability to contribute to the transition game. ✖

We want to make sure that our readers have the same opportunity to have these photos. If something catches your eye in either the magazine or on the web, you can order the photograph for yourself.

Whether it’s a 4x6 glossy print or a 13x11 mounted photo, we’ve got a full range of possibilities for you to choose from. Simply visit our smugmug website at

scrimmageplay.smugmug.com Covenant 1/2 page

Western Albemarle’s Kai Shin hauls in a shot during his team’s 1-1 tie with Albemarle that kicked off the soccer season for both squads. (Frank Crocker)


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Overtime

Tick, tock

It’s time, we need a shot clock in high school basketball

T

here’s really only one thing to call it — the slowest two minutes in sports. The ending of most high school basketball games are painful to watch. Obviously we’d live in a perfect world if every game came down to the wire, was decided by one possession, but even then, the high school game is flawed. And here’s why, and this is something that needs to be talked about more often among coaches and officials — the absence of a shot clock allows basketball to morph into a different sport if and when a team decides so. If I were a high school coach with a lead in the fourth quarter, whether I was up by one point or 20, I’d run Dean Smith’s four corners. I’ll take it a step further. If I were a high school coach and I thought that my team was more than likely to lose before tip-off, I’d run four corners and go to work on the clock, shorten the game. In 2013, I saw Loudoun Valley and Brunswick’s boys teams play in a Group AA Division 3 tournament quarterfinal to the tune of a 24-22 game. It was fascinating to watch. This spring, in Michigan, Utah and Georgia, stall-ball was the dominant force in their respective state tournaments. Deadspin.com became so interested with the number of teams executing this strategy it became a weekly deal to read about a different state tournament being impacted by one team deciding to dribble a basketball in the corner for seven straight minutes — and that literally happened in Michigan. It’s a strategy for teams that opens up a window against teams they feel like they can’t run up and down the court with. It’s also a strategy to close out a game. And while you can’t fault coaches or players for exploiting that part of the game, you can do something to curtail it by simply putting in a 35, 40, or 45-second shot clock. The easy argument against the shot clock is the implementation of it. Score boards would need replacing or specific units would have to be set up. Okay, I get that’s a pain in the neck. But that’s never stopped football from having a play clock. In lacrosse, when teams try and employ a similar stall-out tactic, the officials are able to call it, send a warning, keep the game flowing. There’s just no reason that high school basketball players can’t adapt to what the collegiate and professional players deal with. And if we know that improves the game and it’s good enough for those latter two, then why not just put one in place. Just about every player is going to excited about the idea of more shots in a game, I promise you that. I mean you don’t need a shot clock in the levels below high school. Have you ever seen a team of 13-year olds or younger take longer than 30 seconds to shoot? It’s never happened in the history of time unless it was coached. Still, while the stall-out tactic is the primary reason we need a shot clock rule in place, selfishly, I want it for an entirely different reason. That slowest two minutes in sports? A team dribbling out a clock? Nope. It’s the team that is down by 15 that decides it’s time to foul its way back into a game and winds up losing by 25. It’s insufferable. It’s not basketball, at that point, the sport becomes some other game — a truly awful free-throw shooting competition. Free throw shooting over the last 20 years has suffered greatly across the board, in college and the pros, but it’s particularly bad at the high school level.

22 :: @scrimmageplay

“That slowest two minutes in sports? A team dribbling out a clock? Nope.” So again, why wouldn’t you start fouling if you’re down by 20 with say, seven minutes to go. What’s to lose? I get it. It’s just that the people in the stands shouldn’t have to suffer through it. And the only way to get around that, is to force the team with the lead to keep scoring, or at least try to score and that’s exactly what a shot clock does. Washington added a shot clock for girls in 1974 and in 2010 for boys. Minnesota did so in 2007. A coaches poll conducted in 2013 in Idaho saw that 61 percent of coaches prefer playing with a shot clock in place. I’d expect that number is about the same, give or take a few points, across the country. If more than half the people teaching the game agree something should be done, then come on. And, at the end of the day, what kid doesn’t enjoy trying to beat a buzzer? What athlete won’t benefit at the next level from getting used to playing with a shot clock? None. And that’s why all of this is stupid. The high school game so obviously needs this done. ✖

Ryan Yemen,

CRE ATIVE EDITOR

back talk »

What are your thoughts about putting in a shot clock? ryan@scrimmageplay.com


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