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Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup

by Bill Turner

Baseball is officially underway with the opening day of the major leagues last Thursday and our own Salem Red Sox playing their season opener tonight (Fri. Apr. 8th) at Lewis Gale Field. The Sox play a weekend series against Frederick followed by a Tuesday through Thursday three-game home set with a visit from Lynchburg.

The high school diamonds prepare for the start of district play as Salem, Hidden Valley and Patrick Henry hold on to their rankings in Wild Bill’s Baseball Top-3. On the girls softball side, Northside, William Byrd and Hidden Valley claim the early top-3 spots.

High school basketball held its final, albeit most prestigious, awards presentation Sunday night at the 43rd Annual Kiwanis Roanoke Metro Basketball Banquet. Thirteen area high schools participated with boys and girls teams honored. The five-man boys all-star team included player of the year Trey Smith (Northside), Marcus Banks and Cam Jones (PH), Carter Wright (Hidden Valley) and Chris Ware (James River). Hidden Valley’s Troy Wells was named coach of the year.

The girls all-star team was led by player of the year Sarah Williams (PH) along with Jade Lewis (Lord Botetourt), Tyler Evans (Hidden Valley), Jessi Strom (Glenvar) and Tay Taylor (Salem). Chuck Pound of Lord Botetourt was named girls coach of the year.

Picking up the team sportsmanship award was Jessica Ficarro’s Cave Spring girls team along with Billy Pope’s Northside boys squad.

The highlight of the evening is the presentation of the unsung hero award to a player from each of the girls and boys teams as selected by the respective head coach. The unsung hero is characterized as the player who makes a significant contribution, both on and off the court, while not being a headline-grabber in statistics. Being chosen is considered one of the highest compliments a player can receive for his or her dedication to the team. Congratulations to these 26 winners as Wild Bill’s players of the week. (See pics on page 7)

In college basketball, the amazing run by VCU ended in their semifinal loss to Butler, but the Rams clearly captured the attention of the state and nation with their series of stunning wins. VCU joined UVa and George Mason as the only three Virginia Division I teams to make the Final-Four. Mason accomplished the feat in 2006; the Hoos in ‘81 and ‘84.

The Roanoke Valley Sports Club will have University of Richmond head basketball coach Chris Mooney as its guest speaker for the Monday, April 18th meeting at the Salem Civic Center. The public is invited to attend the social and dinner beginning at 5:45. For information on attending and cost, contact club president Mac McCadden at 397-2119.

Now to the mailbox where numerous questions surfaced this week about the run by VCU and the college landscape.

Dear Mr. Bill: Do you think VCU making the Final-Four will be just a forgotten flash in the pan? After all, ACC basketball still rules. (Harold/Roanoke)

Answer: Don’t kid yourself, Harold. The ACC domination of old is long-gone. VCU, Richmond, ODU and George Mason have moved to a level playing field with Virginia’s two ACC members. The effect of the performances from these four will be seen in exposure, recruiting and TV contracts.

Dear Wild One: Can we expect the likes of Shaka Smart and Chris Mooney to bolt for a coaching vacancy such as NC State or Tennessee? (Sean/Salem)

Answer: Not going to happen. Smart just signed an eight-year deal to stay at VCU; Mooney a ten-year contract to stay with the Spiders. When you’ve got it made and exceed expectations, why take a demotion.

Dear Predictor: Will we see any coaching changes among our state college teams? (Steve/Lynchburg)

Answer: Yep, keep your eyes and ears open – this predictor says there’s one on its way for a team that is well known.

Quote of the week: “I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places” – Henny Youngman

Send your inquiries to: [email protected]

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