By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Four Cherokee varsity basketball seniors, two Lady Braves and two Braves, have been named to play in the upcoming West vs Midwest 1A All-Star games. Jacee Smith, Jamie Lossiah, Blake Smith, and Nate Crowe will play on the West teams in the games at Mitchell High School on Saturday, March 23.
Admission to the games is $7 with the girls game starting at 5 p.m. and the boys afterwards at 6:30 p.m. A total of four boys and four girls will be selected to receive $500 scholarships.
“It’s an honor to be selected to any post-season game,” commented Chris Mintz, Lady Braves head coach, who noted he’s very proud of his players. “Jamie is a four-year player who has done a lot for our program. This is a great way to top off her career. Jacee has been a blessing to have on our team. She brings so much joy and fun to our team and now she will get to share it. It should be a really good night.”
Aaron Hogner, Braves head coach, commented, “Blake is a tough competitor and is a really great teammate. He consistently was willing to do whatever was needed to help the team get better. Nate fit in well with the guys being it was his first year with the team. He had some key moments for us in games that helped the team’s success. Both he and Blake will represent Cherokee High School really well in the All-Star game.”
Ethan Clapsaddle, Braves assistant coach, has been selected to be an assistant coach for the West boys team. “It is a tremendous honor to be selected as one of the coaches for this game. Being able to help Coach Frank Maennle for this event is an awesome experience. I was blessed to be able to be his point guard in high school and he taught me how special being part of a team and basketball family can be. And then being able to work one more time with Nate Crowe and Blake Smith as members of this team is just icing on the cake. They are two tremendous student-athletes and first-class young men that represent the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians community and Cherokee High School so well. We are all looking forward to this great opportunity.”
The rest of the West Girls All-Stars roster includes: Paige Lindley, Andrews; Brooke Newton, Andrews; Jade Bryson, Blue Ridge; Makayla Anderson, Hayesville; Savanna Annis, Hayesville; Hailea Rickett, Hayesville; Hannah Holt, Highlands; Abby Olvera, Highlands; Brittany Davis, Hiwassee Dam; Ellie Martin, Murphy, Bree Moore, Murphy; and Mikayla Morgan, Robbinsville.
Chad McClure, Hayesville, will serve as head coach with Eric Duong, Andrews; Meghan McQuade, Hayesville; and Amy Trout, Hayesville, serving as assistants.
The rest of the West Boys All-Stars roster includes: Cody Mathis, Andrews; Zach Sheppard, Andrews; Dwain Cook, Hayesville; Jake Billingsley, Highlands; Hunter Collins, Highlands; Reese Howard, Hiwassee Dam; Tyler Simonds, Murphy; Ethan Passmore, Nantahala; Samuel Chappell, Rosman; Bradley Vestal, Swain County; Peyton Kreiger, Hayesville; Reid Beal, Murphy; AJ Ornelas, Robbinsville; and Gaige Southards, Swain County.
Frank Maennle, Andrews, will serve as head coach with Eric Duong, Andrews, and Clapsaddle serving as assistant coaches.
According to information from game officials, “The dream of having showcase games for small high school basketball players was born in 1982 when Bud Black, at the time head coach of the Cherryville Ironmen, developed a plan for the Southern District 7 Conference to play an all-star game for senior players.”
The first West vs Midwest 1A All-Star games were played on March 21, 2015.