Starmount put seven players and Forbush had four on the Mountain Valley 2A all-conference basketball team.
The conference announced its top performers after the tournament championship games, held Friday, Feb. 27.
The Starmount girls led the way in the county with four all-MVAC picks. Kelli Bonner, Julianna Prim and Jordan Raye made the first team, while teammate Olivia Gough was honorable mention.
The foursome helped lead the Rams to a 19-8 overall finish, 9-3 in the MVAC season standings — the best record for the program in several years. Starmount lost a heart-breaker in the first round of the state playoffs at West Stanly.
Bonner, a sophomore, directed the attack from the point guard spot. She was a stellar three-point shooter and excelled at driving to the basket. Prim, a senior, gave the Rams a huge inside presence, averaging a double-double in points and rebounds. Raye, a senior, usually played the two-guard, and had a sweet outside shooting touch.
Gough either started or was one of the first off the bench, playing on the wing — a nice resume for an incoming freshman.
According to Starmount coach Kyle Hutchens, Bonner made first-team all-district for the 2008-09 season, while Prim was a second-team all-district pick.
The Forbush girls had three all-conference players. Racheal Salmons made the first-team list, while Lindsey Williams and Leslie Long were honorable mention.
Salmons was one of just two seniors on the Lady Falcons’ roster and she developed into a team leader and solid offensive threat. She was often one of the top scorers and rebounders for the Falcons, who returned to the state playoffs. Salmons scored 30 points in a tough loss to Wilkes Central in January.
Long, a junior in her third year of varsity basketball, also proved a dependable scorer. One of her memorable outings came in the second half against Starmount, where she helped lead a valiant comeback attempt.
Williams, a freshman, has a bright future with the program. She’s a guard-type who began coming into her own with the start of conference play. She’s a scoring threat and a solid defender.
On the boys side, Starmount had three all-conference picks.
Shane Bryant, a senior who erupted for big points in the latter part of the season, made first team. Teammates Jake Barr and Tyler Jackson were honorable mention. Barr is a sophomore, while Jackson is a senior.
The threesome were a big part of why the Rams — in a rebuilding mode this season — managed to beat every other conference opponent at least once except for champion Ashe County.
Bryant scored 31 points in a huge overtime win over North Surry in the conference tournament. Barr wasn’t always a big-time scorer but he developed into a steady floor leader — continuing a trend he started as the football team’s starting quarterback.
Jackson, known more for his pitching in the spring, gave the Rams an inside presence in a year when they were replacing an ACC caliber forward.
The most prolific scorer in the conference may have been Forbush senior Matthew Smitherman. He could flat light it up when he got going, averaging close to 25 points per game — following in the footsteps of Jesse Hoots and Matthew Zachary the past two seasons.
Smitherman was the only Forbush boys pick for all-conference but that could change in the next few years. The JV Falcons earned a share of the conference title with Ashe County this winter.
Mountain Valley 2A
Player of the Year: Tommy Spagnolo (Ashe County)
Coach of the Year: Marc Payne (Ashe County)
All-Conference: Tatum Lemly, Tommy Spagnolo and Daniel Waln (Ashe County), Matthew Smitherman (Forbush), Blaize Brintle, J.B. Coram and Tanner Easter (North Surry), Ramone Andino and Dylan Johnson (North Wilkes), Shane Bryant (Starmount), Dave Wilmoth (Surry Central), Matt Abernathy, Roddie Bridges and Martin Hague (Wilkes Central)
Honorable Mention: Jordan Nichols (Ashe County), Timmy Johnson and Ty Johnson (North Wilkes), Jake Barr and Tyler Jackson (Starmount), Kareem Newkirk (Wilkes Central).
Varsity Conference Champion: Ashe County
JV Conference Champion: Ashe County and Forbush
Player of the Year: Kim McNeil (Ashe County)
Coach of the Year: Laura Foster (Ashe County)
All-Conference: Shelly Barker, Mallary Clay, Kim McNeil and Kendra Yearick (Ashe County), Racheal Salmons (Forbush), Courtney Campbell, Emily Culler, Morgan Midkiff and Nicole Rumplasch (North Surry), Kelli Bonner, Julianna Prim and Jordan Raye (Starmount), Katie Ryder and Haley Williams (Wilkes Central).
Honorable Mention: Caitlin Elliott and Mariah McVey (Ashe County), Leslie Long and Lindsey Williams (Forbush), Kara Hodges (North Surry), Leia Waller (North Wilkes), Olivia Gough (Starmount), Brittany Tolbert (Surry Central), Brittney Thomas (Wilkes Central).
Varsity Conference Champion: Ashe County
JV Conference Champion: Ashe County
Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler: Tommy McMillian (North Surry)
Coach of the Year: Eric Jessup (North Surry)
Wrestler of the Year: Aaron Scott (Ashe County)
All-Conference: Logan Orr, Aaron Scott, Joshua Wineberg and Zachery Caffey (Ashe County), Nick Kiter and Josh Howard (Forbush), Colby Bowman, Chris Murray, Blake East, Tyler Simmons, Mike Morgan and Tommy McMillian (North Surry), Chad Billings, Brian Baity, Zack Eller and Mike Prouty (North Wilkes), Dylan Floyd and Austin Sloan (Starmount), Jacob Longworth, Casey Felts, Cesar Pena, Josh Stover and Jared Salyers (Surry Central), Luke Richardson, Matt Mitchell, Dylan Adams, Leo Guevera and Vincent Beam (Wilkes Central).
Honorable Mention: Antonio Barrientos (Ashe County), Austin Groce (Forbush), Cody McMillian, Cody Byrd, Dustin Reynolds, Ethan Hazzard and Brett Doss (North Surry), Vincent Parker (North Wilkes), Nathan King, Matthew Walker and Wayne McCracken (Starmount), Austin Cooke and Austin Oakley (Surry Central), Scotty Royal (Wilkes Central).