William Monroe High School and Team Energy 2017 Guard Kamron McCain named Schewel's Athlete of the Week
BY DREW GOODMAN
Throughout his athletic career, William Monroe point guard Kamron McCain has done just about everything on the basketball court.
As his body has changed over the years, McCain has been tasked with playing in both the frontcourt and backcourt while performing a variety of different roles for his teams.
First-year William Monroe coach Brett Maynard, who needed to replace three of the top scorers from last year’s squad, has tasked the unselfish floor general with a new objective in 2015-16.
After a long summer of hard work on his jump shot, McCain appeared to be primed for a breakout campaign on offense this winter.
So far, so good.
With his team sitting at 4-0 on the young season and starring at two road games in three days, McCain took his offensive game to another level.
On Tuesday, McCain scored a career-high 29 points against Warren County in a 61-53 victory over the Wildcats. Two nights later, McCain again led the Greene Dragons with 17 points in a 52-47 win at Strasburg.
After notching 46 points in 48 hours and helping Monroe improve to 6-0 on the season, McCain has been recognized at this week’s Schewels Athlete of the Week.
The Dragons needed McCain to raise his game against Cam Ford and Warren County.
Ford opened Tuesday’s contests with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Wildcats the early advantage. The junior guard ended up leading all scorers with 31 points, and was particularly effective from beyond the arc.
McCain, who had scored the first two of his eventual 29 points off of a reverse layup, grew frustrated with Ford’s early triples, and elected to test his own shooting range.
The decision paid off.
Staring at Warren County’s 3-2 zone, McCain made the Wildcats pay for packing everything inside the lane. Looking to one-up Ford and create some momentum for his team, McCain knocked down two consecutive three-pointers, and the home team quickly realized that the junior floor general was a different player than they had faced last winter.
“[Warren County] underestimated our shooting big time,” McCain said. “They were underestimating me, I guess, because I didn’t shoot it much last year, so I had to show them what I had been working on over the summer.
“I just wanted to go out there and get my teammates the ball, distributing the ball the best I could. I just started getting open shots and they started falling.”
McCain added two more triples in the second half, but the versatile ball-handler did the bulk of his damage inside the lane and from the charity stripe in the final two quarters.
Warren County abandoned the zone and switched to a traditional man-to-man defense down the stretch. Once again, McCain made the Wildcats pay.
McCain, who played on and off the ball when fellow point guard David Smith was in the game, used his underrated quickness to slash into the paint in the second half. Smith and McCain orchestrated a number of backdoor-cutting plays, allowing the latter to finish in the lane for several and-one opportunities.
The Greene Dragons seized control of the game in the fourth quarter thanks to a methodical 10-2 run. McCain notched four of Monroe’s 10 points during the surge, and the Greene Dragons walked away with hard-fought eight-point victory on the road.
As fired up as McCain was with the win, the junior’s excitement reached an entirely new level when the William Monroe coaching staff informed him that he had tallied a career-high 29 points.
“I was so excited and a little surprised, actually,” McCain said of the moment in which he discovered his new career mark. “My teammates were hype and they were a little surprised, too, honestly. It was like a quiet 29, and I didn’t realize that I had that many points.”
The 29-point outing shattered McCain’s previous career-high of 18 points, which occurred in last year’s win over Rappahannock. McCain also had six rebounds, and three assists.
Though he was thrilled with setting a new career mark, McCain knew that there was another long bus trip and an even tougher opponent on the horizon less than 48 hours later.
McCain carried the momentum from Tuesday night’s win into Thursday’s showdown with Bull Run District rival Strasburg. The Rams had been a thorn in Monroe’s side in recent years, but McCain showed tremendous balance as both a distributor and a scorer in the first of two meetings with Strasburg.
The junior spread the floor nicely, scoring off of an outside shot, and three-point play, and another reverse layup as a part of a steady first half for William Monroe. McCain grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists in addition to his team-high 17 points, while getting seemingly everyone on the court involved in the offense.
The majority of McCain’s points in the second half came from the free-throw line as the Rams attempted to extend the game late. McCain knocked down several crucial foul shots down the stretch to help the Greene Dragons gain a measure of revenge against Strasburg.
McCain had began the week with the reputation around the Bull Run District as a ‘game-manager’ at point, and not much of a threat to shoot the ball from the outside.
Three days and 46 combined points later, McCain had put the entire district on notice, while helping vault his team to the top of the league standings in the process.
“Like I said, it was really really, really surprising; I didn’t expect it at all,” said McCain of the big week offensively. “I think a lot of teams are underestimating us. Going into this Daily Progress tournament next week, we’re 6-0, and everyone is really excited about it.”
McCain’s evolution from primarily a pass-first point guard into a reliable scorer has taken nearly an entire year to fully blossom.
Last season, McCain had the benefit of a rugged 6-foot-5 big in the post and a lights-out shooter on the perimeter to feed the ball to, making his life as a point guard much easier.
Having a pair of All-District performers locking down both inside and outside the arc, the first-year starter at point guard could mainly yield the spotlight to his veteran teammates, while putting them in position to score.
McCain led the Greene Dragons in assists in his first year in the varsity program, while getting an up close and personal look into how to be a top scorer in the Bull Run District.
“We had a lot of bigs last year, so I basically just passed the ball as much as I could and I wasn’t really looking to score,” McCain said. “I think AAU helped me a lot this past summer to become more of a scorer.”
Knowing that he had incredibly large shoes to fill his junior season, McCain went right to work on his offensive game following the conclusion of the 2014-15 campaign.
Using the instant feedback “Noah Shooting Machine” on his down time, and working out constantly with high school rival/AAU teammate Isiah Smith of Madison, McCain slowly, but surely became a feared outside shooter on the summer basketball circuit.
Though the consistent outside shot is brand new, McCain has always had a valuable weapon at his disposal; his body.
As a youth, McCain carried more weight and was bigger than almost everyone on the court. Due to his size, McCain spent much of his elementary and middle school basketball career in the post. While he was one of the larger members of his team, McCain worked on his handle beginning in sixth grade, making the up-and-coming talent more versatile on offense.
As he entered high school, however, McCain dropped much of his excess weight, and was no longer one of the biggest players on the floor. With the increased size around him, McCain shifted from the front to the backcourt, taking on the role of a point guard for the first time at the varsity level.
Though he became much more lean, McCain was still a difficult task for shorter opponents to handle. Throughout his time at William Monroe, McCain has used his 6-foot-plus frame to out muscle smaller point guards and create mismatches all over the floor.
“I’m 6-foot-1 and I’m around 190 pounds. There is no point guard around here in the area that is that big, so I can get in the post a lot,” McCain said. “I used my body against smaller players and back them down whenever possible.”
Now that he has a more complete offensive game, McCain is ready for the Bull Run District and Conference 28 gauntlets.
The competition will undoubtedly increase, beginning with a showdown with 5A Albemarle in the opening round of the Daily Progress/NBC 29 Holiday tournament on Dec. 28.
McCain is well aware of what lies ahead for the rest of the season, and is eager use his newfound skills and workman-like attitude to help put the William Monroe program on the map.
“Coach was telling us practice one day that they got us ranked fifth or sixth in the Bull Run,” McCain said. “We took that took heart. We started working hard in practice and then we come out in the game and do what we have to do to get the win.
“After that it’s just the next game, and it’s like, ‘Who’s next?”
Drew Goodman is a correspondent for The Daily Progress.
Central Woodstock High School and Lady Select 2017 Forward Tamra Scott named NV Daily Athlete of the Week
By Tommy Keeler
One of Tamra Scott’s goals this season was to improve her rebounding, and so far that has worked out perfectly.
The Central junior has had at least 10 rebounds in every game this season.
“I just want every rebound, so I just got to grab it all,” Scott said. “I’ve worked on my boxing out a lot better so that’s helped a lot.”
Scott said that she’s also worked on her jumping, and said that playing volleyball this fall for the first time really helped with her jumping ability as well.
Her rebounding was on full display last week in a 45-31 win over Stonewall Jackson. Scott finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. She scored the first 12 points of the game, most of which came off of rebounds. She had six rebounds in the first four minutes of the contest.
“I was just trying to grab every rebound I could get and just put it back up. I had a good night I guess,” Scott said. “It’s awesome doing it against a county rival like that. It makes it even better.”
Scott’s effort helped earn her The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Dec. 7-13.
Last year Scott averaged 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. She said a goal this season is to average a double-double.
Scott has only had one game this season in which she did not have a double-double. That one game was against Hampshire where she had eight points.
While she throws on the track team, and played volleyball this season, Scott said basketball has always been her main sport.
The 5-foot-9 center said that she’s played on Amateur Athletic Union teams over the years and that has helped her game.
“I like doing it. I like traveling and everything,” Scott said. “I like playing against teams I’ve never played before.”
As a freshman, Scott averaged 6.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. She helped lead the Falcons to the Group 3A state semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Spotswood.
In the loss to Spotswood, Scott had a big game leading the team in scoring.
“That was probably my favorite game I ever played, when we made it to the state semifinals,” Scott said. “That game I finally realized that I could actually play basketball.”
Last year the team won 17 games, but lost in the Conference 28 semifinals. The team didn’t have a senior on the roster and Scott said she felt the team didn’t play together as a team.
This season she said things are very different.
One big change is her father, Bryan, who is now the head coach. Tamra said that he has coached on her teams in the past.
“It’s definitely tougher, just because he’s going to be harder on me because I’m his daughter,” Scott said. “He’s coached me before so I’m used to it.”
The Falcons are 5-0 and Tamra Scott said that she loves how the team is playing together.
“This year we’re playing so much more as a team,” Scott said. “…We’re hard to beat, because everybody scores. It’s hard to beat a team where everybody scores. That’s what I love. Nobody’s selfish, nobody’s playing their own game. We all play as a team.”
Bryan Scott said that one thing that’s helped Tamra this season has been the return of senior Meredith Phillips. Last year Phillips did not play basketball, but he said having her in the post with Tamra Scott has helped a lot.
“A lot of teams can’t double and triple team Tamra, because Meredith’s another threat underneath the basket. She can step outside and shoot some jump shots too,” Bryan Scott said. “I think her coming out was a big advantage and I think it’s definitely helped Tamra a lot.”
The Falcons have two big games this week against Bull Run District and Conference 35 rivals George Mason and Clarke County.
Tamra Scott said she thinks the Falcons have a chance to challenge for the district and conference titles.
She said the ultimate goal is to get back to the state tournament.
“(Being in the state tournament)was awesome. I’d like to do it again, but this time bring home a ring,” Tamra Scott said. “So hopefully we’ll do it this year. I think we’re pretty good.”
Lady Select Destiny Harper Signs National Letter of Intent to DII Goldey Beacom
SQBA is looking for coaches for the 2016 season:
Girls 6th Grade/11U - Assistant Coach Girls 11th Grade/16U - Assistant Coach Boys 8th Grade/14U - Head & Assistant Coach Boys 9th Grade Head & Assistant Coach Boys 10th Grade/16U - Head & Assistant Coach Boys 11th Grade/17U - Assistant Coach
Candidates must be willing to recruit, fundraise and most importantly be willing to impact the lives of young men and women on and off the court. Interested coaches should complete a coach profile: www.sqba.org/joinourteam/coaches.html or call 540-718-0190 for more info.