Four area Class A players honored

PARKERSBURG -The Mid-Ohio Valley is well represented on the Class A boys all-state basketball team selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Area players are represented on the first team, second team and third team as well as the honorable mention list.

Named to the first team is Magnolia sophomore Preston Boswell, who averaged 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for coach Dave Tallman’s Blue Eagles.

Although he missed his first eight 3-point attempts of the season, Boswell ended up shooting 44 percent from behind the arc. He made 51 percent of his 2-point field goal tries and shot 77 percent from the free throw line.

The 6-foot-1 10th grader impressed Tallman by working to get bigger and stronger between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Tallman has no doubt that will happen again and the Boswell that takes the court next season will be even bigger and stronger.

“Preston is a great young man both on and off the court,” said Tallman. “He treats everybody well. He’s special.”

Boswell is driven to be the best. He spends a lot of time in the weight room, even working out on his own. Two seniors representing Little Kanawha Conference schools were named to the small school second team -Jake Ullman of Parkersburg Catholic and Austin Cunningham of Gilmer County.

Ullman was a first team selection last season but missed half of the Crusaders’ season with an injury. His return to the PC roster coincided with Catholic’s late-season surge, including a pair of 1-point wins in the sectional and regional finals that earned coach Rob Strcula’s team a trip to the state tournament in Charleston, where they took eventual state champion Wheeling Central into overtime.

“For Jake to enjoy all-state status while missing half the season is a tribute to him,” Strcula said. “Jake can shoot the 3, he’s got a mid-range jumper and he can drive to the basket. You won’t find a lot of players who can do all three.”

Ullman is attracting interest from several colleges including Division 1 Akron and Division 2 Davis & Elkins.

Cunningham is a four-sport standout at Gilmer. In addition to playing baseball, basketball and football, he also is a standout golfer for one who doesn’t spend much time at it.

“Austin isn’t just important to our basketball team,” said Gilmer coach Steve Shuff. “He is important to our entire athletic program. He is one of the best character kids I’ve ever coached in my life.”

Cunningham, a 4.0 student is looking at the highly-regarded Marietta College baseball program and also is getting interest from hometown Glenville State College.

He averaged 18 points and 8.8 rebounds for the regional Titans, who advanced to the regional finals.

Paden City junior Kennedy Cain was named to the third team.

“That is a well-deserved honor for Kennedy,” said Wildcats coach Fred King. “He made a lot of trips to the Elite Sports Center in Parkersburg to work on his game. In a year where there is a lot of good Class A players, to make third team is nice to be recognized.

Cain averaged 21.6 points and 7.3 rebounds while serving as one of the Wildcats co-captains.