Players earn hardwood honors
Published 9:00 pm Saturday, March 1, 2014
Nansemond River High School’s boys’ basketball team received extra attention for its strong performers in the regular season when conference awards were recently handed out.
While all five Suffolk schools drew all-conference honors, the Warriors led the way with three first team representatives: senior Devon Oakley, junior Scott Spencer and senior Daniel Wallace.
NR head coach Ed Young said he “didn’t think all three would make it, but I’m glad they did.”
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It was the first time any of them had made the first team, but a panel of opposing coaches judged them worthy.
Young had been pushing hard for Oakley to be named Ironclad Conference Player of the Year, though that award ended up going to Heritage High School junior Romello Anderson, a talented scorer. Young suspects Heritage being in first place at the time of the voting aided Anderson’s case.
But Oakley was a big part of why the Warriors ended the regular season in first.
“I just thought his all-around game was as solid — if not better — than everybody in the league,” Young said. “I still think he’s Player of the Year in the conference.”
Oakley averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds 3.6 assists, three steals and one block per game. He was among his team’s top two scorers in most games and was out of double figures in only one out of 21 contests. He scored more than 20 points eight times, and once put up a career-high of 30.
Young said Scott Spencer has to be among the top two or three juniors in the conference.
“He showed that he can score,” Young said. “He really improved from last year.”
As a sophomore, Spencer averaged nine points per game. This year, it was 16.3 points to go with 6.1 rebounds and two blocks.
Young said he still thinks Spencer is an unfinished product, by far, but “he got enough votes to be pushed up onto first team, so that was kind of good to see that happen.”
The coach summarized Daniel Wallace’s turbulent season.
“He started out good, and then he really went on a tailspin in the middle of the year where he actually got benched,” he said. But when Wallace returned to the starting lineup, “those last five games, he averaged nearly 18 points, 12 rebounds.”
For the season, Wallace averaged 10.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, four blocks and 2.3 assists per game.
Senior Marvin Branch made the second team, and senior Jalen Warren earned honorable mention.
King’s Fork High School sophomore Deshaun Wethington drew his first basketball honor by making the all-conference first team.
“I thought he deserved being on first team because I think he is the best point guard in the conference,” Bulldogs head coach Josh Worrell said.
Worrell added that opposing coaches could see how fast Wethington was defensively and how King’s Fork played like a totally different team with him on the court.
Wethington averaged 13.5 points, four assists and two steals per game.
Bulldogs junior Dale Roscoe was selected to the second team and sophomore Keith Stagg drew honorable mention.
Lakeland High School sophomore Deonta Knight improved from second team all-district as a freshman to first team all-conference this year.
“I was very excited,” Cavaliers head coach Clint Wright said. “I think that he did enough work to capture the coaches’ attentions.”
Knight averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds a game, he handled the ball well and Wright said that in the majority of big games the Cavs won, he always came up with impact plays or baskets.
Lakeland sophomore Jaquan Yulee received honorable mention.
For Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools, sophomore Morgan Wentz was named to the second team along with a talented field that included last year’s Southeastern District Player of the Year, Marcus Evans, now with Cape Henry Collegiate School.
For Suffolk Christian Academy in the Hampton Roads Athletic Conference, junior Nathan Leiter drew second team honors.