Local athletes to compete in inaugural hoops all-star game

Don Burgess has long thought the Shenandoah Valley deserved an all-star game for high school basketball players. He’s now making that a reality.

Burgess, the head varsity boys basketball coach at Harrisonburg High School, announced earlier this week that the inaugural Shenandoah Valley All-Star Game will be held Saturday for select high school seniors. The event, held at Harrisonburg High and sponsored by Holtzman Oil Company, will begin with a girls game at 1 p.m., followed by the boys contest at 2:30 p.m.

Burgess, a former standout player at Radford University and longtime college coach prior to taking over at Harrisonburg at the start of the school year, said Thursday that he wanted to use the event as a way to “give back to the community and to the game of basketball” with two distinct goals.

“It’s an opportunity to bring the community together all up and down the Shenandoah Valley, and to get the community and the local fans to come out and support these senior student-athletes,” he said. “… And then two, provide an opportunity to play in front of college coaches.”

Athletes participating in Saturday’s inaugural all-star game include high school seniors from Frederick, Warren, Page, Rockingham and Albemarle counties.

Local boys participants include Sherando’s A.J. Outler – the Conference 21 West Player of the Year and a Group 4A second team all-state selection – Skyline’s Antwan Swain (first team all-Conference 28) and TrayQuan Diamond, and Warren County’s Clyde Ritchie (second team all-Bull Run District) and Darrell Mills. Millbrook’s Taryk Baylor, Donte Weaver and Nick Harrell will also participate.

The girls game will include Warren County’s Sam Schroyer (first team all-Conference 28) and Hayley Martin and Sherando’s Madison Leckie (second team all-Conference 21 West). Handley’s Joneisha Cain is also on the girls roster.

Burgess said players were selected by reaching out to area coaches. He added that he aimed for all-conference honorees but that “unselfishly I just wanted to give an opportunity to all seniors.”

The boys game will be coached by a pair of Virginia High School League Hall of Fame coaches – former Harrisonburg coach Roger Bergey and former Robert E. Lee mentor Paul Hatcher.

Burgess – who was an NCAA Division I assistant basketball coach at the University of Central Florida, Coastal Carolina University, Virginia Military Institute and High Point, and the head men’s basketball coach at Division III Bridgewater College for seven seasons before taking over at Harrisonburg – said in an email earlier this week that his intentions are to have coaches from the NCAA Division II and Division III, NAIA and junior college levels at the games Saturday.

He said Thursday that there will be at least 10 men’s college basketball coaches and five women’s coaches in attendance with the possibility of a few more.

Admission to the event will be $5 for adults, $2 for high school students and free to children younger than 12.

Burgess said he’s going to make the Shenandoah Valley All-Star Game an annual occurrence and hopes to expand the event in the future.

“Hopefully we get it to where we have a minimum of two games for both girls and boys,” he said.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com