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