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Williamsburg Academy High School
Kingstree

Fall sports complete at Williamsburg as focus turns to basketball

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Kingstree – The fall sports season has come to an official end at Williamsburg Academy and the focus now turns to basketball.

The basketball programs are making final cuts and preparing for the start of the 2017-18 season. The season begins on November 20th at Wilson Hall, followed by the home opener on November 21st against Clarendon Hall.

After the Thanksgiving break, the Stallions will travel to Clarendon Hall on November 28th. Ken Kellahan will return as the girls varsity coach while John Floyd returns as the boys varsity coach.

Key returners for the boys team this season include John Addison Floyd and Chase Murray.

In wrapping up the fall sports season, no team from Williamsburg Academy was able to climb their way into a state playoff berth this fall.

However, a few athletes from the cross country program were able to qualify to compete in the SCISA Class AA state meet on October 28th.

From the boys’ team, sixth-grader Billy Godwin qualified and competed in his first state championship event and the future looks bright for the young runner.

On the girls side, three athletes qualified and participated in the state meet. Sophomore Blakely Owens was the top finisher, placing 27th overall with a time of 22:52.

Eighth-grader Sarah Kellahan ran the course in 26:27 to finish as the 61st runner to cross the line. Sophomore Catherine Boyd placed 70th overall in the field, running the course in 28:36.

The volleyball team, coached by Anna Taylor, was in contention for a state tournament berth but struggled to gain the necessary wins down the stretch. The Stallions won four games in a competitive region.

Taylor feels the progress made this season will lead to better days ahead, especially with a junior varsity program that posted double-digit wins this fall.\

“We have a good group of girls,” said Taylor. “They are playing hard. We’re pretty equal in terms of talent. We don’t have any star players. All of them are about the same and I just ask that they give a good effort.”

Taylor’s varsity roster had six seniors and five underclassmen. Three seniors – Marti Easler, Madeline Heathcott and Hannah Morris - were regular starters and played consistent minutes. Easler and Morris are outside hitters along the net while Heathcott was a setter. Junior Madison Lamb was the other setter.

Juniors Madi Watford and Allie Brown also worked in the starting lineup this season, along with sophomore Kendall McKenzie. The other three seniors that came off the bench were Ragin Huckabee, Madison Strong and Emily Smith. Junior Skyler Graham also came in off the bench.

Taylor sees great potential in the program in the future. She says 28 players attended tryouts for the junior varsity program. She also has a b-team program this fall.

Among the key performers on the junior varsity team were seventh-grade setter Neely Lamb, eighth-graders Billie Easler and Billie Anne Patrick, and freshman Hannah Miles.

“The jayvee team is competing really well and there is some good young talent that should be helping the varsity pretty soon,” Taylor said earlier this season. “There is good interest in the sport right now. We are really excited about the future. Hopefully we can build the program up and continue to grow.”

The girls tennis team was unable to secure a spot in the playoffs but continues to show signs of positive growth and the sport takes hold.

Jeana Faye Reynolds played number one singles this fall. Milli Brown played two singles and Olivia Didonato worked in the number three singles and teaming up with Reynolds at number one doubles.

Kayla Arnau playede four singles and joined Brown as the number two doubles team. Caty Osean worked at number five singles and Liz McKenzie was the sixth-seeded team in the ladder. McKenzie and Claire Kellahan were the number three doubles team.

In football, the Stallions struggled through an 0-10 season. The Stallions were in several games deep into the second-half but could not overcome late mistakes to win the close games. Among the close losses were games to Colleton Prep (26-14), Dorchester Academy (12-6, overtime), and Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach (34-33).

 The other losses came to Robert E. Lee (35-14), Pee Dee Academy (35-7), Dillon Christian (28-0), The King’s Academy (27-7), Thomas Heyward (35-12), Greenwood Christian (35-14), Thomas Sumter (58-27) and Carolina Academy (27-7). Eight of the 11 teams on the 2017 schedule made the state playoffs this season.

Senior Jesse Gaymon ended up the team’s leading rusher with 697 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Connor Moore threw for 463 yards and four touchdowns this season while picking off four passes as a starter in the secondary.

Chase Murray was the team’s leading receiver this fall, grabbing 18 catches for 331 yards.

The defensive leader was senior linebacker Mack Ard, who finished the season with 162 total tackles. John Addison Floyd was a leader in the secondary with six interceptions.

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