Williamstown senior Alex Irvin looks to drive into the paint during a game against Ritchie County. The Yellowjacket was named to the Class AA all-state first team.
(Photo by Jay W. Bennett)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sal Dean moved to Chapmanville for his final season of high school basketball with one goal in mind: To end his career with a state championship.
The electrifying 6-foot guard did just that as he guided the Tigers to their third state title with a 59-49 triumph over Charleston Catholic in the Class AA championship game.
Dean is now reaping the benefits from that tournament run, which also featured wins over Ravenswood and Bluefield, as he was voted the captain of the Class AA all-state first team by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“Sal is a super competitor. He doesn’t like to lose,” Chapmanville coach Brad Napier said. “He’s a very hard worker. You talk about a kid that brings it every day in practice. He plays with the same kind of energy that he played the state tournament with every day in practice. He’s just going to do whatever he can do to lead his team to a win.”
In the three state tournament wins, Dean filled up the stat sheet for the Tigers. He scored a combined 47 points, including nine 3-pointers, to go along with 25 rebounds and 14 assists.
Any time Chapmanville needed a big play to change the momentum of the game, Dean stepped up to the occasion, whether it be a clutch step-back 3 or a chase-down block on the defensive end.
“He just provides a huge spark when he’s in the game because he plays with so much emotion,” Napier sad. “And he gives his teammates a lot of confidence too. He kind of feeds off the emotion of the crowd, and a lot of the other guys feed off him and his energy.”
In his senior season, Dean, who scored 1,465 points during the first three years of his career at Belfry High School in Kentucky, averaged 21 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists a game.
Napier, who has coached several all-state players during his coaching career, including former Class AA captain and current Marshall starter Obinna Anochili-Killen, said Dean ranks right up there.
“Sal is going to have a great opportunity to play at the next level somewhere,” Napier said. “He’s going to find that out in a few weeks to a month. We look forward to helping him try to find a good fit for him at the next level, because we know he can play at that level and be very successful at the college level.”
Dean was joined on the first team by 6-foot-7 teammate Zion Blevins, who scored a game-high 19 points in the title game win. That matched his season average of 19.7 points per game. He also averaged 10.7 boards, 2.8 blocks and 3.4 assists a game.
“Zion is a very talented kid. He’s just very gifted offensively and can play every position on the floor,” Napier said. “Through his three years at Chapmanville so far, he’s played every position from center to point guard at various times. He can do it all. Sometimes Zion doesn’t know how good he can be. He’s just a very blessed and skilled guy with great size and strength. He’s everything you want out of a basketball player.”
Every member of the first team played in the Class AA state tournament.
Bluefield juniors R.J. Hairston and Kam’Ron Gore made the second set of teammates to garner a nod on the first team after they guided the Beavers to a Class AA semifinal appearance, where they lost a tight game to eventual champion Chapmanville.
Gore turned in averages of 13 points, two assists and two steals a game while shooting 39% from deep, while Hairston was a force on the inside with 12 points, 8.3 rebounds, two steals and 1.5 blocks a night.
Charleston Catholic’s Jayallen Turner, who helped guide the Irish to a runner-up finish, was voted to the first team for the second straight season. The 6-foot-4 junior finished the year with averages of 20 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and two steals a game.
Ravenswood senior Matt Carte and South Harrison senior Corey Boulden also both garnered a first-team nod for the second straight season.
Carte averaged 22.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and two steals a game and led the Red Devils to the Class AA quarterfinals, while Boulden also guided the Hawks to the quarterfinals and finished with 23.6 points per contest.
Six-foot-5 Williamstown senior Alex Irvin rounds out the first team after he averaged 16 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and one block per game for the Yellowjackets. He helped guide Williamstown to a 25-0 start to the season before they were defeated by Charleston Catholic in an exciting semifinal game.
Irvin’s teammate sophomore Parker Schramm was named captain of the second team. He was joined by Bluefield senior Caleb Fuller, South Harrison senior Noah Burnside, St. Marys senior Luke Powell, Ritchie County senior Ethan Haught, Wheeling Central Catholic junior Quinton Burlenski, Trinity junior Carter Hartsock and Charleston Catholic sophomore Max Wilcox.