Welcome to the “Best of … “
As in, the best of the 2021 boys basketball state tournament.
Man’s irrepressible T.J. Blevins.
After a 108-year drought, the Hillbillies finally won a state championship and nobody was happier than Blevins.
“We’ll probably have a parade in town tomorrow,” said Blevins. “I may break out a Ric Flair robe.”
It doesn’t take a WWE fan to appreciate that remark. Besides, Blevins in one of the “Nature Boy’s” robes definitely would be a must-see moment.
Veteran Poca coach Allen Osborne was still sitting at the interview table in the Charleston Coliseum Friday morning after the Dots had defeated Charleston Catholic 42-40.
The media session had ended when a thought suddenly crossed his mind.
“Hey, what time do we play tomorrow?” asked Osborne, referring to the Class AA state championship game. “This having four classes has me all messed up.”
Join the club, coach.
Alex Yoakum, George Washington: The 6-foot-2 senior guard was a lights-out shooter. He averaged 24.0 points on 53.6% shooting, including 63.6% on 3-pointers.
Aiden Satterfield, Charleston Catholic: The Irish’s 6-7 senior wing put on a shooting show. The long, lean Satterfield shot 50.0% from the field (19 of 38), including 7 of 16 (43.8%) from behind the 3-point arc. He also averaged 7.0 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Austin Ball, Man: The 6-7 junior turned the state tournament into his coming-out party. Besides averaging 24.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists, Ball shot 53.3% from the floor and 88.9% from the foul line.
The most interesting part of Ball’s game is he plays center, but he doesn’t play like a center. Instead, he plays on the perimeter, handles the ball well and is adept at driving to the basket and finishing.
He needs weight on his lean frame, but Ball plays smart and utilizes his height well.
So, is it any wonder major-college coaches are noticing?
“College offers are starting to roll in real well,” said Ball. “I want to make it to the next level for sure.”
According to Ball, he has heard from Marshall University’s hoops program.
Braden Chapman, Shady Spring: The Tigers precocious 6-1 sophomore continued his high-scoring season in the state tournament. After averaging 18.1 points during the regular season, he poured in 17.5 points per game in the state tourney on torrid 61.9% shooting.
He also averaged 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Isaac McKneely, Poca: Despite his struggles in the state tournament, the 6-4 junior is still the best player in West Virginia. McKneely averaged 17.0 points and 5.0 assists despite shooting only 30.1% from the floor (16 of 53), including just 9 of 30 from the 3-point line (30%).
And don’t forget McKneely swished a 3-pointer from about 24 feet with only two seconds remaining to give Poca a 42-40 win over Charleston Catholic.
Overall, it was as good as it could be, considering it was May Madness.