8 area players named all-state
Both Jahad Thomas and Isaiah Washington were a little confused on Wednesday when their teachers handed them a pass and told them their basketball coach wanted to speak with them.
Their confusion deepened when Williamsport basketball coach Allen Taylor simply told them, “You got it”. The 10-year coach then broke down and explained he meant they both received all-state honors.
“I knew there was a chance, but I really didn’t know what he was talking about,” Washington said.
Thomas (Class AAAA, first team) and Washington (second team) were part of a memorable run throughout the postseason. And all of the Williamsport area teams received all-state nods, including Loyalsock’s Roger Wilson (Class AA, first team) and Kyle Datres (third team), and St. John Neumann’s Alize Johnson (Class A, second team).
“It really means a lot to be in an area with such a good group of basketball players,” Washington said. “We all have been achieving great things.”
Lewisburg’s Travis Conrad (Class AA, third team), Wellsboro’s Jordan Jackson (Class AA, third team) and Central Mountain’s Cole Renninger (Class AAAA, second team) were also named all-state.
Thomas and Washington helped Williamsport continue to build toward another state championship, earning their second consecutive district title this year. The pair is the first all-state duo at Williamsport this century, with Thomas’ firstteam selection being Williamsport’s first since Darrell Blackman in 2002.
“I’ve really been blessed,” Thomas said. “I could not have done without the help of coach Taylor. I’m really thankful and blessed to have had a coach like him.”
“Jahad is fearless and that held true throughout his career,” Taylor said. “He really developed into an all-around player. He was a leader and could take over games.”
Wilson was the other first-team member in the area. But, unlike Thomas and Washington, who received their notice outside of class, Wilson was texted during class.
“I was in class when I got the message and my heart dropped,” Wilson said. “It was just an ideal year.”
Wilson dominated the paint for Loyalsock, while developing into the team’s unquestioned leader. He also played a key role in Loyalsock’s run to the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AA postseason.
Datres, who received all-state honors for baseball as a freshman, was another crucial part of Loyalsock’s run. Datres, who is a sophomore, has received all-state honors in each of his two years at Loyalsock.
Johnson became the second consecutive player on Neumann to be named all-state.
“He just encourages everyone and really helps with the younger guys,” St. John Neumann coach Paul Petcavage said. “I’m really proud of the guys.”
The eight area all-staters are the most in a single season this century.