When Tabb lost to eventual repeat state champion Potomac Falls 46-44 — on a buzzer-beating layup that denied the Tigers one of the biggest upsets in state tournament history — it marked almost 20 years to the day since the end of the first Bay Rivers District boys basketball season.
So we figured it's as good a time as any to make a list of 20 of the greatest players in district history. Are they the 20 greatest?
All players listed must have played the BRD, which began play with the 1990-91 season. Each player's final season in the district is listed in parenthesis.
Steven Allen, New Kent (2010): He averaged 21 points, six assists and five steals for a New Kent team that became the first in 10 years to finish unbeaten in the Bay Rivers regular season. Led the Trojans to the first state semifinal appearance by a district team in 10 years.
Pierre Brown, Jamestown (2007): Currently at Mount St. Mary's, the 6-5 Brown is a rare player from the district to go to Division I on scholarship in the past decade. Averaged 18.1 points in leading Jamestown to its only district title in 2007.
Derrick Bryant, Nansemond River (1992): An amazing all-around player, Bryant averaged 22.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists in leading the Warriors to a 27-1 mark and the '92 AA state title. Earned Division II All-American status in leading Norfolk State to the Final Four.
Ace Custis, Northampton (1992): One of only four players ever to have his jersey retired at Virginia Tech, the 6-7 Custis had a monster senior season for an otherwise weak Northampton team. Averaged 24.4 points despite being slowed by injuries as a senior.
Percy Ellsworth, Southampton (1992): Before playing defensive back at Virginia and then in the NFL, Ellsworth was twice the BRD hoops Player of the Year. Averaged 28 points as a senior, scoring 47 against eventual state champ Nansemond River.
Howard Frier, Nansemond River (1994): One of the district's best-ever defenders, Frier played in the '92 state championship game victory and in the'94 state semis. Played in the NCAA tournament for Colorado and professionally for more than 10 years in Europe.
Marvin Graves, Lakeland (1993): Only 5-foot-9, Graves carried Lakeland to its only Bay Rivers District title in 1993, when he averaged nearly 18 points, distributed the ball better than any point guard in the district and was one of its best defenders.
Justin Melton, Tabb (2005): Tabb coach Doug Baggett considered "Mouse" one of the program's best guards since Terry Kirby. Before going on to a successful college career at Mt. Olive (N.C.), he averaged 17.1 points to lead the Tigers to the 2005 district title.
Ross Mitchell, York (2002): From acorn to mighty oak, Mitchell grew from one of the district's smallest players as a freshman to a 6-1 star for the only York team ever to make a state tournament. Future Shepherd College standout averaged 15.3 points and seven assists (with a 7-1 assist/turnover ratio) for '02 Falcons.
Brandon Moyler, Lafayette (2007): During an era when the Rams produced numerous high-scoring guards — including Art Crew (21.7 ppg as a senior) and Deon Brown (18.8 ppg) — Moyler outshot them all and earned AA All-State honors.
Aaron Morris, Grafton (1998): After starting his career at Tabb, Morris helped Grafton finish second in the district in only its second year of existence. A 6-1 guard, he averaged 19.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists, while hitting 39-percent of his 3s as a senior.
Jason Outlaw, York (1994): The 6-3 guard, who played at Longwood in college, had a monster senior season in leading York to a regional tournament berth. Averaged 20.5 points, with a season high of 40, as well as 6.4 rebounds. Was also one of the district's best-ever defenders.
Brandon Randall, Bruton (2000): A star with brother Bryan on the Bruton team that won the 2000 AA state title, Brandon averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds that year for the 26-3 Panthers. He averaged 20 points in three state tournament games, notching 25 points in 12 rebounds in the 61-41 rout of Gretna in the final, before playing at Hampden-Sydney.
Bryan Randall, Bruton (2001): A great defender and point guard, he averaged 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 4.8 steals on the 2000 AA state title team. Starred on four district championship teams, averaging 21.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists as a senior.
Gregg Scott, Southampton (1998): One of only two athletes to make our 20-year football and basketball teams, Scott, who played several seasons in the NFL, was a baller, too. He helped Southampton tie for the district title as a junior, then averaged 18.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.2 blocks as a senior for the Indians' district tournament titlists.
Steve Sherwood, Tabb (2009): Sherwood, a two-time district Player of the Year, is the only BRD player ever named Daily Press All-Stars Player of the Year. A long-range bomber, he averaged 17.8 points as a junior and a district-high 19.1 as a senior, when he helped the Tigers reach the state tournament.
Damon Tillery, Lakeland (1996): As a forward his junior season, Tillery averaged 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in leading the Cavaliers to the AA state final. He scored 19 points in the final but Lakeland lost 53-50 to Liberty-Bedford on a missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Montoria Valentine, Nansemond River (1996): Nicknamed "The Worm" for his ability to rebound like Dennis Rodman, Valentine averaged 18 points and 17 rebounds in helping the Warriors win a third straight Region I title in 1996. Scored 23 points in the 84-57 win over Northside in the 1995 state title game.
Benji Webb, Tabb (1992): The 6-6 forward was a four-year standout for Tabb before playing at Longwood. He averaged 20 points as a senior, scoring 38 in a Bay Rivers District tournament win over York. Helped the Tigers reach the 1989 state semifinals.
Antoine Willie, Nansemond River (1996): Before playing at VCU, where he averaged 10 points in two seasons, Willie was a Bay Rivers scoring machine, averaging 28 and 25 points in consecutive seasons. Scored 43 points in a game as a freshman and 91 points in three games in the 1995 Group AA state tournament in leading the Warriors to the title.
The 20 greatest players of the Bay Rivers District first 20 years of boys basketball
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