By Cody Nespor, The Dominion Post
MORGANTOWN — When junior standout Sharron Young went down at the end of January with a broken shooting hand, his Morgantown teammates weren’t sure what to think.
“I think the initial shock of Sharron breaking his hand in the first practice was a little weird,” MHS coach Dave Tallman said. “Everything was basically predicated on what he does as a player, and he makes everybody around him so much better. It forced other guys to step up.”
The best player on the state’s best team going down came as a shock, and put serious doubt into the Mohigans’ ability to defend their 2022 state championship. Though he knew he would be out for multiple weeks, Young made his teammates a promise; if they held things down while he was out, he would come back and lead them to a second state championship.
“I couldn’t even believe it myself,” Young said of getting a cast on his right hand. “I texted my teammates that day and promised them that if they have my back, as soon as I got out of this thing, we’re going to get it done and go back-to-back.”
His teammates more than held their own, going 7-1 in Young’s absence, and Young upheld his end of the promise, putting together a fabulous state tournament as the Mohigans repeated as Class AAAA state champions with a 65-58 win over Parkersburg South.
For his efforts, Young has been named captain of the boys Class AAAA all-state first team by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
A repeat first-teamer from last season, Young averaged 21 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.7 steals per game this season. His first game back was Morgantown’s Region I co-final against Buckhannon-Upshur and he didn’t miss a beat.
“I give him a lot of credit, he attacked his rehab as much as anybody possibly could,” Tallman said. “He did everything he possibly could so he could come back and hit the ground running.
“He would do mental reps (in practice). We would do shooting drills and he would stand out with his cast on and go through the same motion as much as he could do.”
“The number one thing was definitely my mind, I had to work on my mind,” Young said. “Being out for that long of a period can mess with your mind and I just wanted to make sure that my mind was right.”
Joining Young on the all-state first team is teammate Brody Davis. The senior played his best on the biggest stage, leading the Class AAAA state tournament in scoring with 19.3 points per game.
“Brody’s one of the greatest kids I’ve ever been around,” Tallman said. “Going into the tournament he was shooting 47% from three, I’ve never seen anything like that.”
The team Morgantown beat in the state championship the last two years, Parkersburg South, also landed two on the first team in seniors Nate Plotner and Cyrus Traugh. Traugh, a second-teamer last season, led the Patriots with 16 points in the state championship. Plotner scored 12 in the title game, including his one and only three-pointer of the season.
Other 2023 first-teamers include repeat selection Ben Nicol from 22-4 George Washington and Bridgeport senior Anthony Spatafore, whose game-winning shot in the region co-final sent the Indians to Charleston. Huntington junior Mikey Johnson was selected after averaging a double-double with 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season and Jefferson sophomore Jamari Jenkins made it by averaging 15.7 points and 4.1 assists.
George Washington’s Brendan Hoffman captains the all-state second team, joined by Elijah Redfern (Beckley), Duane Harris (Huntington), Goose Gabbert (Greenbrier East), Dominic Schmidt (Cabell Midland), Aiden Davis (Wheeling Park), Caleb Thomas (Spring Mills) and Cam Danser (Morgantown).
All-State honorees can obtain state-shaped, wood plaques with name, school, year and honor at wvswa.org or bearwoodcompany.com.
Sha-Ron Young, Morgantown, Jr. (Captain), 6-0, 19.4
Ben Nicol, GW, Sr. 6-6, 16.3
Nate Plotner, Parkersburg South, Sr. 6-8 14.0
Anthony Spatafore, Bridgeport, Sr. 6-3 17.1
Mikey Johnson, Huntington, Jr. 6-3, 17.3
Brody Davis, Morgantown, Sr. 6-5. 14.6
Cyrus Traugh, Parkersburg South, Sr. 6-2 15.5
Jamari Jenkins, Jefferson, Soph. 5-8, 15.7
Elijah Redfern, Beckley, Jr. 6-2, 18.1
Brendan Hoffman, GW, Sr. (Captain) 6-2, 18.2
Duane Harris, Huntington, Jr. 17.5
Goose Gabbert, Greenbrier East, Sr. 17.4
Dominic Schmidt, Cabell Midland, Sr. 22.2
Aiden Davis, Wheeling Park, Soph. 20.3
Caleb Thomas, Spring Mills, Soph.
Cam Danser, Morgantown, Sr. 6-6. 10.5