VHSL State Quarterfinal Capsules
Eastside (24-4) vs. Auburn (20-8)
7:30 p.m., Christiansburg High School
The Skinny: Eastside is in the state tournament for the fourth straight year. … The Spartans lost in the state quarterfinals in 2016 and 2017, while finishing as state runner-up to Lancaster last season. … The Spartans lost four starters off last year’s squad, but have had no letdown. … Eastside’s losses have come to Class 1 quarterfinalist J.I. Burton (twice), Class 2 Union and Bullitt Central (Kentucky). … “Not many people thought we would be in this position,” said Eastside coach Patrick Damron. “This season has been a testament to our team’s heart, determination and will to win. These kids play with as much grit and heart as any team I’ve coached.” … Sharpshooter Ethan Powers is scoring 22 points per game for Eastside, one of four players averaging in double-digits for the team. Nick Livingston, Chris Swann, Connor Blevins and point guard John Robert “J.R.” Kilgore have also led the way for the Spartans. … Livingston’s dad, Jeff, was a star at now-defunct Coeburn High School and led the Blue Knights to the 1981 VHSL Group A state semifinals. … Taylor Newcome is the only senior starter for Auburn. Freshman Ethan Millirons and the sophomore trio of Austin Ford, Rusty Marshall and Michael Royal are the other starters for the Region 1C champions. In total, the Eagles have five sophomores and two ninth-graders on the roster. … “We are a young team that continues to grow and improve as the season goes along,” said Auburn coach Terry Millirons. “Early in the season, we had to constantly change our rotations due to injuries, but were still able to pick up some big wins. We are finally healthy and have been playing our best ball as of late.” … Auburn’s last trip to the state tournament came in 1999. The Eagles lost to Pound that year in the quarterfinals by a 54-49 count. Current Union coach Zack Moore had 27 points to lead Pound in that contest played at Lebanon High School. … Nineteen years later, another Wise County team will look to eliminate the Eagles from the state tournament. “Auburn presents many challenges for us,” Damron said. “They have extremely good guard play. Ethan Millirons is a super talented freshman that can fill it up.”
Up Next: The winner plays either J.I. Burton or George Wythe in Tuesday’s state semifinals.
J.I. Burton (21-7) vs. George Wythe (23-4)
8 p.m., UVa-Wise’s Prior Center
The Skinny: The only game on tonight’s docket featuring one local team against another local squad is intriguing. … J.I. Burton is in the state tournament for the first time since 2013, when the Raiders reached the semifinals. … Caleb Williams (18.5 points, 6.0 rebounds per game), Houston Thacker (14.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Zac Campbell (11.2 ppg) and Trevor Culbertson (8.5 points, 6.0 assists per game) are the top scorers, while Mikey Culbertson is shooting 58 percent from the field. … “We have played well throughout this season,” said J.I. Burton coach Aaron Williams. “Collectively, this team has a lot of good pieces that has allowed us to be competitive with every team we have played. When all those pieces are playing well, we feel we can beat anybody. Our defense is the cornerstone of our program. This team plays very hard and is very determined and focused.” … George Wythe is in the state tournament for the fourth straight season under the direction of veteran head coach Pat Burns. The Maroons lost to Eastside in last year’s semifinals, finished as state runner-up to Radford in 2017 and suffered a semifinal loss in 2016. … Josh Reeves, Ty Farrow, Dorrien McMillian, Avery Mabe, Peyton Coe, Daniel Goode, Dayson McMillian and Samajhe Floyd form George Wythe’s nucleus. Reeves has scored more than 1,000 career points, Farrow is a fine point guard and Mabe has committed to play baseball at the University of Virginia. … “After losing over 2,5000 career points from two graduating seniors [Noah Atwood and Jake Martin] last year, I don’t think our local fans expected us to have as good of a season as our players have had,” Burns said. “Our players have worked hard to continue the success we’ve enjoyed over the last several years.” … This is a rare matchup between the schools in any athletic contest. “George Wythe has a strong tradition and it seems like every year they are playing this time of year in the state tournament,” Williams said. “We know Coach Burns will have them prepared and ready for Friday's game. GW has some talented players and I expect a very good contest.”
Up Next: Either Auburn or Eastside will play the winner on Tuesday in a state semifinal clash.
Gate City (24-3) vs. Martinsville (23-6)
8 p.m., Virginia High’s Bearcat Den
The Skinny: Gate City won the first state championship in program history last season. Meanwhile, the Martinsville Bulldogs have won 15 VHSL state hoops titles. … Martinsville’s last state crown came in 2016 and the run included a 78-39 state semifinal win over Gate City. … Gate City has not lost to a VHSL opponent this season. The Blue Devils were defeated by Dobyns-Bennett, Cleveland (Tennessee) and Wenonah (Birmingham, Alabama). D-B (Region 1-AAA) and Cleveland (Region 3-AAA) were both TSSAA regional tournament finalists, while Wenonah plays for a Class 5A state title on Saturday. … Zac Ervin and Bradley Dean have combined to score 1,299 points this season. Ervin, who missed eight games with a knee injury, has scored 49 points in a game on two occasions. Dean’s season-high was a 50-point performance against John Battle. … Martinsville guards Khalil Travis, Troy Brandon, Nigal Davis and Terrell Price are all shooting better than 33 percent from 3-point range. Brandon (11.6 points per game) leads the team in scoring, while Jahiem Niblett (9.2 points, 10.7 rebounds per game) is a beast of a post player. … Class 4 state tournament participant George Washington-Danville (twice), Class 5 qualifier Halifax County, Region 3D champion Northside, Region 2C champion Radford and Morehead (North Carolina) are responsible for Martinsville’s losses.
Up Next: Either Radford or Graham will play the winner in Tuesday’s state semifinals.
Graham (21-6) vs. Radford (27-0)
8 p.m., Pulaski County High School
The Skinny: Radford rolled to a 64-42 win over Graham on Dec. 28 in a tournament at Fort Chiswell. “We played them early and the final score was no indication of how good they are,” said Radford coach Rick Cormany. “They had only been out of football [for a short time] with three or four days worth of practice time. Graham is really good. Tons of respect for them.” …. Radford has earned plenty of respect with the way it has steamrolled the opposition. Radford has only had one game decided by single digits and that was a 59-56 triumph over Region 3D champion Northside. … Senior point guard Quinton Morton-Robertson (17.1 points, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds per game) and Miles Jones (11.3 ppg, 5.9 prg) have both signed with Radford University … Radford won state titles in 1949, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017. Morton-Robertson, Jones and 6-foot-6 Thor Sproule were members of Radford’s back-to-back championship teams in 2016 and 2017 … Drew Baker (13 ppg, 7 rpg, 7 apg) and Cam Allen (17 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg) are the playmakers for Graham. The G-Men last won a state championship in 1956. … Graham beat Radford, 57-13, in the state football semifinals. … “We have a tremendous challenge with Radford,” said Graham coach Todd Baker. “They are undefeated for several reasons. Radford has talent from the top to the bottom of their roster, they have a great coaching staff that prepares the team for each game and they expect to win the 2A state championship every year.” … Radford will also have plenty of motivation. The Bobcats were undefeated last season before suffering a state quarterfinal loss to Gate City.
Up Next: Gate City or Martinsville will play the winner on Tuesday in the state semifinals.
Honaker (25-2) vs. Galax (22-5)
6:30 p.m., Virginia High’s Bearcat Den
The Skinny: Two of the top players in the state’s smallest classification will do battle down low in this matchup …. Honaker sophomore LeeAnna McNulty is averaging 25 points, 14 rebounds, four steals, three blocks and three assists per game and dominated as the Tigers topped Chilhowie, Eastside and Patrick Henry to win the Region 1D tournament. … Meanwhile, 5-foot-11 Galax senior Essence Brown is a George Washington University signee who is averaging 17.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3.0 assists per game. … Honaker has established a school record for victories in a season. The Tigers made the state semifinals in 2017, while finishing as state runner-up in 2014 under the direction of head coach Misty Davis Miller. … Tazewell and Lebanon of the Class 2 Southwest District are responsible for Honaker’s only losses. … Making Honaker’s run to the state tournament even more impressive is the fact the Tigers do not have a single senior on the roster. Akilah Boyd (11 ppg) and Halle Hilton (10 ppg) have also carried the scoring load for Honaker, which is on a 17-game winning streak. “I’m very proud of this team,” Miller said. “They have worked extremely hard this season. To be a young team, I feel they have truly excelled.” … A 5-foot-9 junior, Shea Foxx (16.5 points, 10.4 rebounds per game) is the other star for Galax. The Maroon Tide lost to Eastside in last year’s state quarterfinals. “We have played a tough schedule with three different Class 4 teams,” said Galax coach Howard Mayo. “We have had to battle the injury bug all year with only Shea Foxx and Ivett Carlos playing in every game. We have developed some depth because of this.”
Up Next: Either Parry McCluer or Patrick Henry awaits the winner in Tuesday’s state semifinals.
Patrick Henry (24-3) vs. Parry McCluer (23-4)
6 p.m., Christiansburg High School
The Skinny: Parry McCluer is in pursuit of its third consecutive state championship and the Blues are certainly battle-tested. … Parry McCluer has wins over Region 2D champion Wise County Central and Region 3C runner-up Western Albemarle, while the team’s losses have come to Region 3C champion Spotswood (twice), Region 3D champion Lord Botetourt and Region 5D champion William Fleming. … Peyton Mohler, Madison Dunlap, Emma Camden, Hailey Huffman, Makenna Smith, Maggie Patterson, Tristen Clark, Allison Coleman, Jayla Baker and Katie Claytor all play valuable roles for Parry McCluer, which has depth and plays an aggressive style of defense. … Patrick Henry saw its 16-game winning streak snapped with a 51-42 loss to Honaker in the Region 1D title game. … PH sophomore Breanna Yarber is closing in on 1,000 career points and is averaging 11 rebounds per game. Guards Payton Monahan and Kaycee Deskins are having stellar seasons as well … “Patrick Henry is a young team that is very good,” said PM coach Adam Gilbert. “They play extremely hard on both ends of the floor. Yarber gets a great deal of attention and rightfully so as she is a tremendous talent, but they have many other players that can hurt you on the offensive end of the floor. We have to be ready to defend everyone they put out on the floor on Friday night. We have got to be ready to play.” … PH is in the state tournament for the first time since 2013. Current assistant coach Kasey Uecker of the Rebels was the star point guard on that team. … “We have to take care of the ball and play good defense,” said Patrick Henry coach Tommy Thomas. “Parry McCluer is very skilled and has a deep bench.”
Up Next: The winner plays either Honaker or Galax on Tuesday night in the state semifinals.
Wise County Central (23-4) vs. Martinsville (18-8)
6:30 p.m., UVa-Wise’s Prior Center
Wise County Central is in the state tournament for the sixth time in the eight-year history of the school, which was born from the consolidation of J.J. Kelly and Pound. The Warriors finished as state runner-up in 2013, while winning it all in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 …This will be the fourth meeting in three years between these schools. Martinsville beat Central, 48-33, in the semifinals of the 2017 Region 2A West tournament. The Warriors then beat Martinsville, 45-29, in the 2017 2A state championship game and rolled to a 53-34 win over the Bulldogs in the 2018 Class 2 state quarterfinals. … Martinsville will try to slow down Central senior center Dee Cvetnich. Cvetnich had 13 points and four rebounds against the Bulldogs in the 2017 state finals and then put together a 17-point, 15-rebound masterpiece against them last year. …Cvetnich is averaging 12.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Brook Porter (13.5 ppg), Olivia Mullins (8.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists per game), Hannah Carter (9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Brittany Mullins (7.6 ppg) also lead a balanced attack for the Warriors. … Central’s losses have come to Shelby Valley (Kentucky), Gatlinburg-Pittman (Tennessee), Parry McCluer and Abingdon. Shelby Valley is still alive in the KHSAA playoffs, Gatlinburg-Pittman was the TSSAA Region 2-AA runner-up and Parry McCluer won the Region 1C title. … Martinsville is led by four four-year starters in LaTroya Gravely, Destinee Jones, JaNydia Taylor and Taylar Brown. Gravely is averaging 10.8 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game and earned Region 2C player of the year honors. … Both teams are dedicated to defense. Central has allowed opponents to score 50 or more points on just six occasions, while Martinsville’s opponents have cracked the 50-point mark just seven times.
Up Next: The winner will play either Floyd County or Ridgeview in Tuesday’s state semifinals.
Ridgeview (20-7) vs. Floyd County (18-9)
6:30 p.m., Auburn High School
The Skinny: Ridgeview is in the state tournament for the third time in the four-year existence of the school. The Wolfpack won the state title in 2016, while losing in the 2017 state quarterfinals. … Bailey Frazier (16.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 steals per game), Nikole Counts (13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Brooklyn Frazier (8.9 ppg) and Amber Taylor (5.5 ppg) are the leaders for Ridgeview. … The Wolfpack navigated the rugged Mountain 7 District to reach this point. “One of our main goals was to get back to the state tournament and hope we are playing at our best during that time,” said Ridgeview coach Donnie Frazier. “It’s a long season and we have managed to stay on an even keel, not getting too high or too low. Our seniors have been great leaders and our entire team has contributed along the way.” … Floyd County won state titles in 2013, 2008, 1994 and 1993. Longtime assistant coach Ross Snead now leads the program after the successful tandem of Alan Cantrell and Travis Cantrell stepped down. … Alexis Kiser, Peyton Grim and Abby Spence have been the leaders for Floyd County. The Buffaloes beat Radford (50-31), Nelson County (67-37) and Martinsville (62-51) in winning the Region 2C tournament. “These young ladies have pulled together and had a great season, despite the season-ending injuries of three of our players,” Snead said. “Leaving us only eight players on the roster.” … Ridgeview beat Floyd County in the regional semifinals and state semifinals en route to winning the 2016 VHSL 2A state championship. Floyd County beat Ridgeview in the 2017 regional semifinals.
Up Next: Wise County Central or Martinsville plays the victor in Tuesday’s state semifinals.