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Magnolia’s Winters Returns to Class AA 1st Team

Shady Spring’s Connor captains annual team

March 29, 2012
By DAVE MORRISON Beckley Register-Herald , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BECKLEY - Shady Spring coach Steve Clark has always seen junior Chase Connor as an uncommon basketball player.

He can add another uncommon attribute to the Connor file.

The junior was named captain of the Class AA all-state team, released Thursday by the West Virginia Sportswriters Association.

Connor, who was runner-up for state player of the year, led the state in scoring at 28.3 points.

Seeing Connor score was a common sight, Clark said.

''But the thing that stood out is how he always tried to get everyone else involved,'' Clark said. ''A lot of times, when a guy is labeled a scorer, that's what he is, a scorer. But Chase went out of his way to get everyone in the game and at the same time scoring his points.''

''I didn't want people to think I'm a selfish player,'' said Connor, who also averaged more than four assists per game. ''I wanted to make sure everyone contributed and had fun.''

Connor was the only first team all-state selection who did not play in the state tournament earlier this month.

''That's all I ever wanted to do,'' Connor said. ''We play in a region (Region 3) that's really hard. I think we have the talent. But when you go up against teams like Wyoming East, Oak Hill, Bluefield, PikeView every night it's hard. If we were in a different region, I think we would have a better chance.''

With Shady Spring being bumped to Class AAA next season, the road will be paved with the likes of Woodrow Wilson, South Charleston and George Washington.

Connor went on a seven-game streak in the middle of the season where he scored at least 30 points, highlighted by a 48-point outburst against Raleigh County rival Liberty.

''It seemed like I could shoot from anywhere that night, and it was going in,'' Connor said.

Connor topped 1,000 points for his career against Wyoming East and now stands 250 points from Bruce Martin's school record.

Connor is joined on the all-state team by a pair of players from state champion Tug Valley, senior Mason Pack and junior Mikey Newsome.

Pack was a force inside for the Panthers, averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds on a team that lost just two games, and only one of those to a West Virginia school (Wyoming East in the Big Atlantic Classic in Beckley, a loss the Panthers avenged in the Class AA semifinals).

Newsome was Mr. Outside for Tug Valley, averaging a team-best 21.2 points. Deadly accurate from outside the three-point arc (he had nine 3s in the state tournament), Newsome also averaged four rebounds and three assists.

Also making the first team were Bluefield's Anthony Eades, Wyoming East's Marcus Schofield, Tolsia's Jacob Copley, Webster County's Brett Morris and Magnolia's Mark Winters.

Eades, a sophomore, was the third-leading scorer in Class AA this season, averaging 23.5 points. He finished the season with 55 3s, shooting 47-percent from beyond the arc and 54-percent overall. He also averaged 3.1 rebounds and 3 steals.

He led the Class AA state tournament in points (65) and averaged 21.7 points, including 24 in a Beavers' 58-52 state championship game loss to Tug Valley. He had 22 of Bluefield's 34 points in the second half.

Schofield was solid for semifinalist Wyoming East, averaging 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds.

Copley had a tour de force game in Tolsia's triple overtime quarterfinal victory against Magnolia with 40 points. The senior averaged 21 points.

Brett Morris was one of the best kept secrets in West Virginia. The junior averaged 23.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in leading the Highlanders to the state tournament.

Winters was a double-double machine, averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds and led the Blue Eagles to the state tournament in three straight seasons seasons.

Bluefield point guard Lykel Collier was named captain of the second team.

The jet-quick sophomore averaged 14.9 points, 9.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 steals.

Other future returnees include Oak Hill sophomore Rondale Watson (20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds), Chapmanville junior Mackenzie Martin (18.5 points, 10 rebounds), Point Pleasant junior Dillon McCarty (17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds), Scott junior Matt Dolan (20.4 points) and Liberty-Raleigh freshman Levi Cook (18.6 points, 15.4 rebounds).

The third team features a strange occurrence.

It has two players, who play in the same region, with the same name.

Tug Valley's Austin Brewer, the captain of the third-team all-state squad (15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists) is joined by Tolsia's Austin Brewer (10 ppg).

Westside sophomore Corey Bowles was a third-team pick, after leading the Renegades in scoring at 16 points per game. He also pulled down just over five rebounds from his shooting guard position.

Other third-team members were Braxton County's Jordan Lacy, Westside's Corey Bowles, Sissonville's Trent Stowers, Herbert Hoover's Charlton Gandee, Bluefield's K.J. Manns and Poca's Clinton Parsons.

First-team all-state players will be honored at the 66th annual Victory Awards Dinner April 29 at the Dils Center in Parkersburg.

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