ASHEBORO — Most high school basketball teams have scorers, rebounders and ball handlers. But if a team is going to have a level of success, they must also have players who are willing to do the things that don’t get mentioned in a box score.
Hustle, attitude, diving on the floor, being coachable and helping their team in any way possible are all traits of key personnel for any basketball team. They may not get the headlines, lead their team in scoring or rebounding, but their efforts and contributions have certainly not gone unnoticed.
I’d like to present the 2024 edition of the Randolph County All-Unsung Basketball Team.
Chenleigh Robinson (RHS) — Watching the way she has improved from the start of the season says a lot about her importance to the Tigers’ program. I never noticed how good of a shooter she is until midway through the season and that, I believe, is because of the confidence she has gained. A dynamic defensive player, she can handle the ball and gets her share of rebounds.
Mailey Way (PG) — She is loaded with energy and seems to enjoy defending the best player on the opposing team. It’s hard not to be a better player when she’s on the court when you see how hard she works. Her quickness is astounding and she truly ignites the Patriots.
Maddie Strider (SWR) — This will be the only year she makes this team simply because her role is going to increase over the next few seasons. And I expect her to excel. She is a solid ball handler and anticipates things very well on defense. And I doubt there’s a better free throw shooter in the county.
Maddie Nichols (WHS) — Every team needs a player who does what Nichols does for the Warriors. She contributes a lot in different areas and is very coachable. Her positive attitude is important in helping her teammates play their best.
Callie Craven (ER) — She appears to me like someone who loves the game of basketball and wants to be on the court every minute of every game. She isn’t the biggest player on the court, but she plays so much bigger than she is, giving the Wildcats a tough presence inside. She shows no fear.
Ava Nance (THS) — She was asked to take over the point guard position, something she has never done before. That in itself would be overwhelming for some, but she is showing steady improvement. A very coachable player, she is always positive with her teammates.
Abbie Gudino (UCA) — She never played basketball before her freshman season and her growth over her first three years is amazing. She is very athletic and has a motor that doesn’t quit. She is very strong on defense and will be a big part to the Eagles’ success.
Adalynn Scherer (AHS) — Only a freshman who was called up to the varsity level from the jayvee team after the season began, she provides the Blue Comets with inside play. She is strong and is only going to get better and more impressive in time.
Will Stalker (ER) — If there was a captain on the team, Stalker would be that person. Never in more than 30 years of writing this column has someone been more deserving. An incredible source of energy, he does everything possible to give the Wildcats a better chance to win that game. Rebounding, steals, beautiful inside assists, diving on the floor … this kid does it all.
Grayson Earls (THS) — A two-year starter, he really doesn’t get the notoriety he deserves. A bit undersized for the middle, he still gives the Bulldogs a very solid inside player on both ends of the floor. He has a solid work ethic and that rubs off on his teammates.
Chase Farlow (RHS) — There are a lot of games where he will be assigned the opposition’s best player and it doesn’t matter if that player is a guard or forward. He is very versatile and strong around the basket, has good passing skills, loves to take charges and he has a great knowledge for the game.
Grant Kirk (SWR) — He can play both inside and outside and gives the Cougars a jolt when he’s on the floor. He defends really well and is exceptional at blocking out under the boards. He shows a lot of toughness.
James Ellis (PG) — The quarterback for the football team has moved his strong leadership abilities to the basketball court. He has adapted from the point guard position from a year ago to the shooting guard slot and has excelled. No one is going to outwork him.
Colin Dodd (WHS) — After being called up to the varsity team around Christmas, he gives the Warriors a player who is in top gear from start to finish. No matter the score, he gives everything he has every minute. He has taken advantage of his opportunity and has become an important part for WHS.
Jaydon Denamur (UCA) — He gives the Eagles all-out hustle from the opening whistle. A strong defender, he does a lot of the things that go unnoticed but are so appreciated. He contributes inside and outside.
Amare Godwin (AHS) — The senior has provided good leadership and a player who can contribute in a lot of different areas. Like everyone on the team, he is quick and athletic and realizes his role on a team loaded with options. He’s a solid threat from 3-point range.
There are certainly other players in the county who meet this criteria and all deserve a hearty thank you for their efforts. They don’t go unnoticed.