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Terquavion Smith named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE North Carolina High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Terquavion Smith named 2020-21 MaxPreps North Carolina High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Terquavion Smith of Farmville Central (Farmville) is the 2020-21 North Carolina High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior led the Jaguars to a 15-0 record en route to their third consecutive state title.

Smith averaged 25.6 points per game this season, including a career-high 50 against Trinity Academy in early February. Farmville Central went 76-2 during his final three seasons with the program and 98-6 over the course of his four-year career.

In Farmville Central's 113-98 state championship game victory over Hendersonville, Smith tallied 33 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and five steals.

Signed with North Carolina State, Smith is regarded as the No. 85 prospect in the Class of 2021 according to 247Sports.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released April 13.
Farmville Central won 98 games in Terquavion Smith's four years in the program.
Photo by Matthew Plyler
Farmville Central won 98 games in Terquavion Smith's four years in the program.

Donovan Clingan named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Connecticut High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Donovan Clingan named 2020-21 MaxPreps Connecticut High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Donovan Clingan of Bristol Central (Bristol) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Connecticut High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 7-foot-1, 255-pound junior helped the Rams go 15-0 en route to the program's first Central Connecticut Conference championship since 2003.

Clingan averaged 27.3 points, 17.2 rebounds, 5.8 blocks and 3.1 assists per contest this season. He averaged 36 points and 26.3 rebounds in three CCC tournament games.

In Bristol Central's 69-68 overtime victory against East Catholic in the CCC title game, Clingan finished with 33 points, 26 rebounds, seven blocks and five assists. He capped that performance by knocking down the game-winning shot with four seconds remaining.

Regarded as the No. 45 prospect in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports, Clingan holds 18 college offers including Connecticut, Georgetown, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Syracuse among others.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released April 13.
Donovan Clingan named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Connecticut High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Donovan Clingan named 2020-21 MaxPreps Connecticut High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Donovan Clingan of Bristol Central (Bristol) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Connecticut High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 7-foot-1, 255-pound junior helped the Rams go 15-0 en route to the program's first Central Connecticut Conference championship since 2003.

Clingan averaged 27.3 points, 17.2 rebounds, 5.8 blocks and 3.1 assists per contest this season. He averaged 36 points and 26.3 rebounds in three CCC tournament games.

In Bristol Central's 69-68 overtime victory against East Catholic in the CCC title game, Clingan finished with 33 points, 26 rebounds, seven blocks and five assists. He capped that performance by knocking down the game-winning shot with four seconds remaining.

Regarded as the No. 45 prospect in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports, Clingan holds 18 college offers including Connecticut, Georgetown, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Syracuse among others.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released April 13.
High school girls basketball: No. 2 Westlake, No. 9 Paul VI advance to GEICO Nationals final - HIGHSCORE
High school girls basketball: No. 2 Westlake, No. 9 Paul VI advance to GEICO Nationals final
Fremont (Plain City, Utah) had all the momentum, cutting a 14-point deficit to three with a little over three minutes to go. But in a snap, like they had done all game, Raven Johnson and Ta'Niya Latson took it all away, lifting Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) to a stirring 64-54 GEICO Nationals semifinal victory Friday at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla.

Playing before a national ESPNU audience, Johnson and Latson were brilliant, combing for all but 13 of their team's points, lifting the second-ranked Lions into Saturday's 10 a.m. EST championship game against No. 9 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.), which stunned No. 1 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) 52-49 in overtime, ending the Highlanders' 35-game win streak.

Johnson, a 5-foot-10 South Carolina commit, had 25 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals, while 5-9 junior Latson scored a game-high 26 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and four steals as the Lions improved to 21-0.

"They did what they've been doing all season," Westlake coach Hilda Hankerson told ESPNU after the game. "They're good leaders and friends on and off the court. That chemistry between them is something you just can't coach. We're just so excited to have one more game."

All four teams in the event entered unbeaten, reigning state champions and ranked among the top 11 teams in the country. The two games didn't disappoint, each coming down to the wire.

Fremont (26-1), finally utilizing its height advantage, closed to within 53-50 on two free throws by 6-5 sophomore Maggie Mendelson (23 points, six rebounds) with 3:02 left.

In the next minute, Johnson and Latson combined for three steals and three breakaway layups. A short jumper by Misia McKinney made it 62-50 and just like that, this semifinal was over. Westlake, with superior quickness, forced 20 turnovers and turned them into 22 points. Latson and Johnson each played the entire 32 points and combined for only seven turnovers.

"Those two are definitely special in the open court," Hankerson said.

Emma Calvert, a 6-4 BYU commit, added 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for No. 11 Fremont, which was actually outrebounded 34-30.

Paul VI 52, Lake Highland Prep 49

It had been almost two months since the 14-time defending Virginia state champions had played a game — Feb. 9 — and with 21 turnovers and a 12 of 26 performance at the line, there were definitely signs of rust.

But the Panthers (11-0) made up for it with defense, forcing 28 turnovers and using balanced scoring, led by Jaelyn Talley (17 points), Duke signee Lee Volker (13 points, six rebounds, four steals) and Bella Perkins (10 points, five steals, four assists).

Alyssa Costigan scored all nine of her points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, leading a 10-2 run and giving the Panthers a 46-41 lead. Down 47-42 with 1:35 to go, Eleecia Carter (team-high 14 points) forced overtime for Lake Highland with a mid-range jumper than a 3-pointer.

In overtime a 3-pointer by Volker gave her team the lead for good. Paul VI completely locked down on the defensive end, not allowing a bucket in overtime, just two free throws by Alabama signee Kayla Blackshear (10 points, 12 rebounds).

Louisville commit Nyla Harris added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Central Florida-bound Stefanie Ingram contributed nine points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Highlanders, who hadn't lost since Dec. 28, 2019 — a 56-55 contest to Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).

In addition to the turnovers, cold shooting did in the nation's No. 1-ranked team. The Highlanders made just 16 of 52 from the field (31 percent), including 4 of 22 on 3-pointers (18.2 percent).

GEICO Nationals schedule

Saturday, April 3
Game on ESPN2
10 a.m. (ET) — Paul VI vs. Westlake
High school sports amid the pandemic: 10 things that look different this fall - HIGHSCORE
High school sports amid the pandemic: 10 things that look different this fall
American Fork (Utah) athletic director Jeremy Lewis was thrilled that high school sports were back, but he had an obligation to make sure all new protocols were followed. So, in the middle of the first half of his football team's varsity game with Timpview (Provo) last week, he halted play, got on a loudspeaker and told the estimated 1,000 fans in the stands to wear masks, get back to their assigned seats and practice general social distancing guidelines laid out by state and local officials.

Otherwise, the game wouldn't go on.

We're still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, after all.

For the most part, fans obliged immediately, the game went on a few minutes later, American Fork prevailed 31-21 to move to 2-0 and high school sports continues throughout the state of Utah and in many other parts of the country.

Heading into the final weekend of August, 16 of the 50 states have decided to wait until 2021 to partake in high school sports due to COVID-19. The other 34 have committed to play in the fall with seven already having kicked things off and 10 more scheduled to do so by Friday. All have written up new safety guidelines that have led to many new rules and new looks in and around respective playing fields.

An athletic director stopping a game is one of those new looks. Here are nine others we've seen over the past two weeks:
A Skyridge (Lehi, Utah) player is flanked by a pair of masked teammates.
Photo by Shae Goodwin
A Skyridge (Lehi, Utah) player is flanked by a pair of masked teammates.
• Masked attackers — Tall, athletic front-row players on the volleyball court can be intimidating enough. But many players are choosing to don masks — they are not required but recommended in many states — giving an even more ominous look from the other side of the net.

New handshake line — Instead of lining up on either side of the 50-yard-line to shake in football, the COVID-19 acknowledgement is to line up on the hashes, raise a helmet and shout out appropriate sentiments, whatever those may be.

Check, and double check, that schedule — The calendar is subject to change. Contests have been and likely will continue to change, many at the last moment. In Indiana last week, Center Grove (Greenwood) had its opener put in jeopardy because Warren Central (Indianapolis) was under quarantine. Center Grove quickly rescheduled, beat Decatur Central (56-14) and now plays a cleared Warren Central squad on Friday.

Buy those tickets — With limited seating capacities due social distancing measures, football games are selling out quickly. Fremont (Provo, Utah) posted on Twitter today that tickets to its home game Friday with Roy were all gone.

Friday night stream — With fan restrictions and games selling out, fans — even parents — might be confined to their home computers, laptops or phones to watch the action. Same goes for reporters, too. Standout performers might be doing some of their post-game interviews via phone. The University Interscholastic League, the governing body of public schools in Texas, recently announced it will lift a ban temporarily on live telecasts and streaming of football games to allow fans to at least watch games.

Spreading out — The tight shoulder-to-shoulder, player-on-top-of-player mob look on football sideline now looks more like a pre-game exercise line. Mandates to keep players at a distance stretches now 80 yards from the 10-yard-line to the 10. It used to be a 50-yard team box, from the 25 to the 25.

One-sided — The days of switching sides after each volleyball set is now done. Teams are required to stay on one side of the court for the entire match.

Temperature checks — Ready, aim, thermometer. Not only are players constantly asked to remove their helmets to test for fevers with new digital thermometers, but fans allowed into games in many places must go through the same testing, too.

• Air celebrations — It's difficult, almost sad, to squelch teens from celebrating any triumph on the field or court, but guidelines highly recommend they are done without physical contact. So, young athletes of today are inventing new touchless celebrations that are both inspirational and, of course, creative.

Despite all the precautions, masking and social distancing, once the players are on the field and the competition commences, it all looks and feels pretty much like it did before COVID-19.

And that's a very appealing picture.
Some volleyball players are choosing to wear masks.
Photo by Joe Calomeni
Some volleyball players are choosing to wear masks.