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H.S. Notebook: Parry McCluer big man Hamilton to face 'big' challenge

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Parry McCluer’s Spencer Hamilton (left) bumps teammate Will Dunlap while celebrating winning the state title against Altavista last year.

The Pioneer District to date admittedly has not provided 6-foot-11 Parry McCluer senior Spencer Hamilton with a “big” challenge.

And for almost all of his boys basketball career in Buena Vista, Hamilton has not faced a quality player even close to his size.

That figures to change Saturday night.

Parry McCluer, the reigning VHSL Class 1 champion, will take on West Point at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Rock the Ribbon Roundball Shootout at Rockbridge County High School.

West Point brings 6-foot-7 senior Cade McCulloch to the event, and Parry McCluer coach Mike Cartolaro is anxious to see how Hamilton handles the assignment.

Hamilton, who is an excellent shooter and ballhandler for a prep player his size, is averaging 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.2 blocked shots for the Fighting Blues and is closing in on 1,000 career points in just 47 games.

He will have a height advantage over McCulloch, who is the son of former Pulaski County boys head coach Geoff McCulloch.

“Their big kid runs the floor, handles the ball, can shoot it on the perimeter,” Cartolaro said.

Hamilton’s biggest obstacle to date was a state quarterfinal matchup two years ago against Grundy’s Cade Looney, who is now playing at Emory & Henry.

“He hasn’t been matched up a lot with bigger kids,” Cartolaro said.

Hamilton, whose lone Division I scholarship offer is from Radford, chose to play on a Parry McCluer-based travel team rather than hook up with a higher-level club at a national level.

“For that reason, some people think that’s why he might be a diamond in the rough,” Cartolaro said.

Others might think that by not being exposed to stronger offseason competition, Hamilton has been slowed in his development.

“They can think that if they want, but if you ask the Wake Forest assistant who’s coming Saturday, he watched him in open gym in October and said, ‘He’s not there yet, but he’s going to be a high-major player,’” Cartolaro said.

“He made the choice to play with his teammates, and everybody’s got an opinion and that’s fine.”

Cartolaro’s main focus Saturday will be on his entire team.

West Point, which lost in the Region 1A tournament to Mathews, will be one of the better teams the Fighting Blues face all season.

“They could have easily been the team out of the East last year other than Altavista,” Cartolaro said. “They’re very solid. Their guards are really good.”

This year’s Rock the Ribbon event, which raises funds for breast cancer research, has an 11-game schedule over two days.

The marquee game Friday is an 8:30 p.m. rematch of last year’s Class 2 state championship game between Union High of Big Stone Gap and East Rockingham.

East Rockingham is led by 6-foot-7 North Carolina signee Tyler Nickel, who scored 43 points in last Saturday’s 81-77 overtime win over Floyd County in the Chance Harman Classic in Floyd.

Saturday’s schedule has five boys games: Lord Botetourt vs. Spotswood (1 p.m.), Liberty vs. Union (2:30 p.m.), Alleghany vs. Page County (4 p.m.), Martinsville vs. Staunton (5:30 p.m.) and the Parry McCluer-West Point game.

Saturday’s three girls games are Rockbridge County vs. Liberty (10 a.m.), Pulaski County vs. Spotswood (11:30 a.m.) and Parry McCluer vs. James River (8:30 p.m.).

LB lineman casts lot with Keydets

Lord Botetourt offensive lineman Trey Reiter has committed to play football at VMI.

Reiter, a 6-foot, 275-pound senior who began his career as a center at Northside, played guard for Botetourt and might move back to his old position with the Keydets.

“He’ll probably play center for them,” Botetourt coach Jamie Harless said. “I think he may end up starting for them soon.

“He’s a 400-pound-plus bench-presser. He’s a heck of a player.”

PH’s Fiddler nominated for McDonald’s game

Patrick Henry senior Shelby Fiddler will not play for the Patriots the rest of the 2021-22 girls basketball season, but has been nominated for selection to the McDonald’s All-American game.

Fiddler, a VHSL Class 5 first-team guard as a junior and a Niagara signee, recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL.

The rosters for the McDonald’s boys and girls games will be announced Jan. 25.

The games are scheduled for March 29 in Chicago.

Softball players sign with D-II Concord

Two Timesland softball players have signed to play at Division II Concord (W.Va.).

First baseman Lily Lawson of Salem and left-side infielder Josie Quesenberry of Carroll County will join the Mountain Lions program.

Roanoke Catholic boys ranked 5th in poll

Roanoke Catholic has been ranked No. 5 in the first VISAA Division III boys basketball poll.

North Cross is No. 12 in the Division II rankings.

The top-ranked teams in each division are Paul VI (Division I), Blue Ridge (Division II) and Fairfax Christian (Division III).

Contact Robert Anderson at or 981-3123


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