Up & Coming Weekly

February 25, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 28 of 36

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 28 UCW FEBRUARY 26- MARCH 3, 2020 HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Westover's Willis-Shaw picked for Carolina Classic by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Westover High School's Traymond Willis-Shaw has been named to the North Carolina roster for this year's Carolinas Classic All-Star basketball game. The contest pits the top senior basketball players from North Carolina and South Carolina. It will be played at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington on Saturday, March 28. Willis-Shaw, a 6-foot-6 wing player for the Wolverines, is a major reason the team rolled to the Patriot Athletic Conference regular-season title and carried a 24-0 record into the opening round of last week's conference tournament. Westover head coach George Stackhouse said Willis- Shaw has been with the Wolverine basketball program since his freshman year at the school. He began to occupy a central role on the team after another Wolverine who played in the Carolina Classic, Damani Applewhite, graduated. Applewhite is currently a senior on the basketball team at South Carolina State. Through Feb. 17, Willis-Shaw averaged 13.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for Westover. He's made 13 3-point baskets and is hitting 71% of his free throws. Stackhouse said Willis-Shaw is a major contributor for the Wolverines on the defensive end of the floor. "When he's active, our defense is so much better,'' Stackhouse said. "He's a very good finisher in transiti- on. Our crowd gets going when he throws down a slam or two. It does a lot as far as giving our guys energy and our crowd energy as well.'' Willis-Shaw said he's looking forward to playing in the game and hoping it will increase the looks he's been getting from colleges. So far he's had interest from such schools as South Carolina State, Queens, Radford, Mount Olive, UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina Central and Lincoln Memorial. "I want to stay closer to home,'' Willis-Shaw said of his pending college choice. "My parents want to make some games.'' Stackhouse said having Willis-Shaw picked for the all-star team give the school a lot of positive publicity. "Traymond goes out and represents himself and the school well,'' Stackhouse said. As far as Westover's season is concerned, Stackhouse said neither he nor the team is focusing on the unbeaten record and don't see it as a distraction as they prepare for the conference tournament and state playoffs to follow. "We've been focusing on each day at practice, trying to get better,'' Stackhouse said. "We try not to look at any game as a big game. All of them are important.'' Stackhouse thinks the regular season has prepared Westover well for the games ahead. "We played some tough non-conference teams,'' he said. "I think we play in one of the toughest confe- rences, just having to go through that conference and see different styles. "If we continue to win, we'll have a lot of home games and hopefully it will give us an advantage.'' Willis-Shaw said the Wolverines have made it where they are with teamwork. "We help each other with everything,'' he said. "We play together as a team. We get the work done by everybody playing their role and playing hard.'' He hopes to do the same in the all-star game. "I just want to play hard, get rebounds and finish in the paint,'' he said. EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWSports@gmail. com. 910-364-6638. George Stackhouse Nobody's cranking up heavy machinery and clearing land just yet, but the Cumberland County Commissioners recently addressed the idea of some day having to relocate E.E. Smith High School. Board Vice-Chairman Glenn Adams is closer than any of his fellow commissioners to the importance of the issue. A Smith graduate, Adams has spent the last 16 years as the color commentator for E.E. Smith high school football games aired on local radio station WIDU. Adams said the final decision on closing E.E. Smith and moving it to a new location rests in the hands of the Cumberland County Board of Education. But because of declining enrollment at the school, Smith said the commissioners need to con- sider what the school's future is before serious deci- sions have to be made on coming up with money for a new building if it has to move from the current one. According to the 2019-20 average daily mem- bership figures compiled for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Smith's enroll- ment of 1,153 students made it one of the smallest public senior high schools with athletic teams in Cumberland County. Adams suggested the current enrollment at Smith is closer to 900 students. While the existing E.E. Smith school building on Seabrook Road has been home to the school for many years, it wouldn't be the first time the campus has relocated Adams said. Adams believes the school has moved twice pre- viously in its history, once from Washington Drive and a second time probably from a location on Orange Street. What's causing the concern, Adams said, is there aren't enough people living near the current Seabrook Road location to continue providing stu- dents to attend the existing school. "You've got to have some kind of alternative and you can't wait until the end to decide where that is,'' he said. Even if the school does have to move, Adams stressed it's not the building that makes a school. It's the people who walked the halls and competed on its athletic fields and in its gymnasium. "That heart will go wherever the building is,'' he said. "They (the alumni and faculty) are forever going to be there.'' The big question would be where to put a new building, and Adams said that decision is in the hands of the Board of Education. "You don't want to go into someone else's district,'' he said, noting that Smith is bounded by the Pine Forest, Westover and Terry Sanford districts. "You have to be cognizant of those other schools,'' he said. Adams stressed that any plan to relocate E.E. Smith is years down the road, but now is the time to begin the discussion so as many people as possible who will be affected by the move can offer their opi- nions on what to do. "There are always going to be those who are nos- talgic and say don't move it,'' Adams said. "There are others of the opinion that the school is not the buil- ding. I think it goes both ways. People are probably hearing this for the first time.'' Adams said he has spoken with Dr. Marvin Connelly, superintendent of the Cumberland County Schools, and said the superintendent is open to all options available. "He hasn't put anything off the table,'' Adams said. While the school board will make the final deci- sion on what happens with E.E. Smith, Adams said it's the task of the county commissioners to give the school board as many viable options for what to do with E.E. Smith as possible. "It's the county commissioners that fund the schools,'' Adams said. That's why he wants to start the conversation now, to provide for as many opti- ons as possible to make sure whatever alternatives are on the table will be positive. Long-range talks about possible E.E. Smith move begin by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Traymond Willis-Shaw Commissioners recently discussed relocating E.E. Smith High School.

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