Thompson tops in NCAC
PHS star Player of the Year
The Dominion Post

Preston High junior T.J. Thompson was named the NCAC boys’ basketball Player of the Year when the all-conference team was announced Thursday.
“I thought he deserved it. He’s very deserving,” PHS head coach Barry Sanders said. “With his stats and his attitude and his leadership, he made sure everyone was always involved. Really, it was an easy choice.”
The Dominion Post’s Player of the Year two years running, Thompson averaged 20.4 points, five rebounds and four assists per game this season, while shooting 50 percent from the floor.
“He was the leading scorer in the conference, and he was our leader. He led us to 12-2 in the conference,” Sanders said. “It was unanimous among the coaches voting and it’s a really great thing for him.”
Hard work paved the way to Thompson’s success.
“I’ve worked at it and have gotten more consistent shooting,” he said. “I practice all kinds of shots and do all kinds of drills so that I can do it in games, too.”
However, for being such a prolific scorer, Thompson rarely shoots. Then again, when you’re as accurate as Thompson is, you don’t have to take too many shots.
“There were times where he’d score 25 points and only shoot nine times,” Sanders said. “That’s pretty hard to do.”
Joining Thompson on the NCAC first team are his brother, PHS sophomore Cody Thompson, and PHS senior Kelvin Fike.
“Its nice to get Kelvin [Fike] on in his senior year,” Sanders said. “He’s a good outside shooter, he averaged double figures, so I’m happy about that. And Cody [Thompson], he really came on at the end of the year and probably averaged 16 points per game in his last 10 games.”
Preston was the only NCAC school to place three players on the first team.
Rounding out the first team were Seth Quirk and Andrew Saiko (East Fairmont), Kyle Raikes and Ty Garrison (Fairmont Senior), Demetrius Cunningham (University) and Sam Runner (Morgantown).
Runner made the team in just his first season of varsity competition with the Mohigans.
“He was our most consistent player all year and was our leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said. “He showed a lot of improvement this year and could really be a force to be reckoned with next year if he continues to improve and puts some weight on.”
With height on his side, Yester believes the 6-foot-7 Runner could be the conference’s Player of the Year next season.
“I think Sam has a shot at it,” Yester said. “Of course, Thompson is coming back so it won’t be easy, but I’m optimistic.”
Earning second-team all-NCAC honors were Ryan Moore and Nate Hnoun (North Marion), Nick Hammond and Ryan Ware (Elkins), Nick Bonnett (East Fairmont), Tanner Collins and Jordan Westfall (Buckhannon-Upshur), Tyler Anderson and Chase Wilson (Morgantown), and Tyler Hostetler (University).
Anderson and Wilson earned their spots after a solid year in which they helped keep the Mohigans as the dominant physical team in the NCAC.
“Wilson and Anderson are two seniors and are our strong guys,” Yester said. “They played with some muscle around the basket and really did a lot of good things for us.”
NCAC Coach of the Year was East Fairmont’s Ty Asterino, who led the Bees on an improbable run to the state tournament.