Woodbridge graduate Daniel Fountain acknowledges that he is not a great fan of all-star games, in which most participants are allergic to defense. He might look at them differently now, however, after pouring in 24 points for the West team in the Virginia High School Coaches Association boys' basketball senior all-star game Tuesday night in Hampton.
The 6-foot-5 forward drained six three-pointers and hauled in seven rebounds and was named the MVP for the West, which lost, 103-93.
No player from Prince William County had ever won MVP honors in the 14 years the award has been handed out.
"I felt like I could make anything," Fountain said Thursday from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where he has already started classes and begun preparing for his college basketball career. "It just so happened that I got a lot of shots that I liked. You just try to get everyone involved, and it just so happened I was on that night."
Shaking initial nervousness -- he credited hugs from his parents during the pregame ceremony for calming him -- Fountain hit his first shot after a crossover move faked out the East defender.
"It was nothing but net, and the crowd got all into it and that got me motivated, and I was thinking, 'This isn't going to be a bad night after all,' " said Fountain, who left Woodbridge as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,275 points.
"That kid could shoot the lights out," Riverheads senior Josh LaPorte told the Daily News Leader of Staunton. "I couldn't play any tighter defense, and he still hit them. After the second one, I just said, 'Forget it.' "
Fountain's performance in such a star-studded game came as no surprise to Woodbridge Coach Chad Anderson.
"As an offensive player, we've only seen a little bit of his potential at this point," Anderson said. "At the college level, we'll really see some great things out of him. If he doesn't have to carry the load, that's going to help him quite a bit. All he has to do is make shots."
Potomac guard Bryan Butler -- whose college plans are incomplete -- scored 12 points for the West, and Potomac forward Jason Flagler (Hargrave Military Academy) added six. Gar-Field guard Chris Vann (Mount St. Mary's) and Hylton forward Jermaine Hill (college plans incomplete) were selected to the team but did not participate.
It was the 13th win in 14 games for the East, which improved to 25-8 in the series. The teams were tied entering the fourth quarter.
Although he had been working out in Wilmington for only a week, Fountain already felt a step ahead of some of the other all-star participants who are not yet in their college programs.
"I learned so much in that week that I thought I could take the stuff that I learned down there and bring it into the all-star game," he said. "College life and college basketball teaches you a whole new level . . . that you bring back to the high school level and you feel that you have an advantage.
"I'm just so excited with getting this whole college thing underway [and] I had one last game with the high school level. I guess it's time to say goodbye to that and start something new."
Bases for Teaching
Returning college baseball players Dwight Howell, Kevin Blaemire and Alan Compton not only play for the Euclid Diamond Dawgs, but coach them as well.
Howell (Osbourn Park), who made the Arizona State fall team last year but got cut for the spring, instructs the players in a variety of areas, and Blaemire (Brentsville/Mary Washington) and Compton (Osbourn Park/Christopher Newport) handle the pitchers.
"Oh, gosh, I don't have to do hardly anything," Diamond Dawgs Coach Dickie Dombrowsky said. "I pretty much just steer the boat. We have ex-players coming back and helping out and that's pretty nice, plus the [younger] guys know them [because] they were upperclassmen when these guys were playing. . . . These guys are telling them what they need to do to succeed [in college]."
Five Diamond Dawgs -- Bobby Anthony, Bobby Collier, Jasen Eberz, David Frelin and Sam Fullerton -- intend to play at Shenandoah University. Fred Duquette is going to Bridgewater and Adam Kearney to Liberty.
Euclid (8-6-1 through Wednesday) draws players from six high schools and a variety of levels -- Osbourn Park and Stonewall (both AAA), Brentsville (AA), Manassas Park (A) and Delaney Athletic Conference private schools Emmanuel Christian and Seton.
Standouts from the smaller schools, such as rising Manassas Park senior Zach Terrell, get the chance to show what they can do against AAA or small college-level pitching. Terrell is batting .441 with three homers.
"I think he can go Division I somewhere," Dombrowsky said. "I think it just shows that just because you play single-A ball doesn't mean anything. You can still be as good as the rest of them, and he knows that. I wouldn't be surprised if he got drafted, he hits that well. He reminds me of like Jeff Baker the way he hits the ball. Jeff had maybe a little stronger arm and was taller.
"But you have to be careful as third base coach if [Terrell's] hitting, otherwise you're going to get hurt. He's going to hit it that hard."
Gar-Field graduate Baker starred at Clemson and was a fourth-round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2002. Baker is batting .336 in the Class A California League.
Dumfries Post 28 Excels
Dumfries Post 28 is 16-5 despite not having any players from Potomac, the school most associated with the Dumfries area. The Panthers, who went 21-3 last spring, are playing on other non-Legion teams in the area.
"I was hoping some of those [players] would come over because I knew some of the kids," Post 28 Coach Ted Lyons said. "I'm hoping next year they try out. That's what the goal is, anyway."
Post 28 has done fine without them, with a host of capable pitchers, including Liberty University's Mike Solbach, who attended Heritage Christian in Woodbridge. Brett Lyons threw a six-inning no-hitter against Spotsylvania Post 320 earlier this summer. J.B. Blixt, Brad Howard and Ryan Wooley -- all returning Forest Park players -- and Gar-Field's Marcus Nalls are other top arms.
Virginia-Wise outfielder John Malene, a Gar-Field graduate, is the only other college player on the roster other than Solbach. Recent Forest Park graduate Ryan O'Donnell and rising Bruins senior Josh Rolfe have two home runs apiece.
The District 16 American Legion all-star game, originally set for today, has been canceled so teams can schedule makeup games. Front Royal Post 53 will host the league tournament, beginning July 24.
Winchester Post 21 is the state tournament host and is assured of a state berth. District 16 will qualify another of its 10 teams for the Aug. 3-6 event at James Wood High School.
A Busy Holiday Season
Cardinal and Cedar Run district basketball teams will play half their district schedules before Christmas this coming season, a break from past years, when many schools played only one league game or none at all before the new year.
For example, the Freedom High School boys' and girls' teams will face Cardinal foes Gar-Field, Hylton, Forest Park and Woodbridge between Dec. 10 and Dec. 21 and meet for the second time between Jan. 28 and Feb. 8.
"I think for us young teams it's going to be a challenge," said first-year Woodbridge coach Chad Anderson, who was promoted from assistant. "I don't necessarily think that it hurts. I just think everybody's starting anew this year. There's no clear-cut favorite in [the Cardinal]. Everyone's given the same menu. We all have to eat off it."
In addition, some Cardinal schools will play certain Cedar Run teams just once each, instead of twice. The opening in the fall of Freedom and Battlefield high schools have added mandatory games to all teams' schedules. Playing some nondistrict county opponents just once allows for more scheduling flexibility.
Football Schedules Released
The 2004 football schedules have been posted on the Virginia High School League's Web site. Manassas Park will open the season Sept. 3 at William Monroe. The area's AAA schools as well as AA Brentsville will open Sept. 10.
In that first week, the matchups are Osbourn Park at Forest Park, Gar-Field at Osbourn, Stonewall Jackson at Hylton, Woodbridge at Potomac and Brentsville at Battlefield's junior varsity.
First-year Haymarket school Battlefield will play a JV schedule, as will first-year Woodbridge school Freedom.
Battlefield and Freedom will meet twice, including Nov. 12 at Battlefield in a game that should have a varsity feel to it -- it's on a Friday night.