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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Valley Springs' Isaac Ragland against Huntsville Jan. 8, 2019. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

Isaac Ragland needed to be pushed in order to take his game to the next level, and Valley Springs provided the kick he needed after transferring from another school.

Ragland moved from Marshall to basketball-crazed Valley Springs before his junior season. Two seasons and a 69-9 record proved that the move was an overwhelming success for both Ragland and Tigers' coach Blake Hanney.

"He challenged me every day," Ragland said of Hanney. "If I made 10 shots in a row and missed the next one, he would let me know about it. That's what I really needed to help me at the next level."

With Ragland providing the scoring leadership, Valley Springs went 36-4 and advanced to the second round of the Class 3A state tournament.Valley Springs won 3A-1 East Conference and 3A Region 1 titles as Ragland averaged 19.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game earning the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Division II Boys Player of the Year honors.

Ragland has verbally committed to the University of the Ozarks and was scheduled to sign in April before the covid-19 outbreak.

Ragland said playing his final two years at Valley Springs will be something he will carry with him.

"It was hard but it was fun, too," he said. "I enjoyed playing here and I will always remember the good games and my teammates."

Lavaca coach Renner Reed is the All-NWADG Division II Boys Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Arrows to a 34-5 mark and the Class 2A semifinals before losing to England. England went on to win the state title before the state tournament was canceled after one day because of the covid-19 outbreak.

Reed, who played at Winslow and graduated from Arkansas Tech, just completed his seventh season at Lavaca. The last four seasons have seen the Gold Arrows win 22 or more games four straight years, but Reed's first three seasons were a struggle as he worked to build the program.

"Back then, our kids worked so hard and they believed they could win and get better," Reed said of his early seasons. "These guys now they watched them and even though we didn't win a ton of games, we could see the improvement. It's all about getting over the hump and the last 3-4 years it's started to take off."

Lavaca returned four starters from last year's 22-6 team. The Golden Arrows also played with somewhat of a chip on their shoulder after getting upset the year before in the first round of the regional tournament, Reed said.

"We went into the offseason with some adversity," Reed said. "All the guys committed to working hard, so it was a good combination of work ethic and desire that led us this season."

Drake Grantham was the missing piece the Golden Arrows needed, and the 6-foot-2 sophomore provided a spark off the bench this season, averaging 8 points and 7 rebounds per game. Grantham led the team in charges taken and was the top scorer for the Arrows in regional tournament play, earning All-NWADG Newcomer of the Year honors in Division II.

Fitting into a senior-heavy team can be a challenge, but Grantham said the older players took him in.

"It was hard at first because those guys had been playing for three or four years together," Grantham said. "As the year went on, they saw that I just wanted to win as bad as they did."

Grantham will be the face of the program for the next two seasons, Reed said.

"We knew Drake was going to be good even at an early age," Reed said. "We knew that we were going to have to find ways to get him on the court this year. He does a lot of the things you talk about. He rebounds well, he's a great defender."

DII Boys Basketball

Player of the Year

Isaac Ragland;Valley Springs;Sr.;6-4

Averaged 19.1 points and 6.7 rebounds for 36-4 team that advanced to 3A semifinals.

Newcomer of the Year

Drake Grantham;Lavaca;So.;6-2

Averaged 8 points and 7 rebounds per game for team that advanced to 2A semifinals.

Coach of the Year

Renner Reed;Lavaca

Led Golden Arrows to a 34-5 record. Lost in 2A semis to state champion England.

FIRST TEAM

Chase Ammons;The New School;Sr.;6-0

Averaged 16.4 points per game for 36-2 team. Had 169 assists and 135 steals.

Paxton Barnett;Elkins;Sr.;6-4

Averaged 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for 29-5 Class 3A.

Payton Brown;Waldron;Sr.;6-1

Averaged 30 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for 3A-1 West Conference tri-champs.

Noah Peterson;Pea Ridge;Sr.;5-11

Averaged 16.5 points and 5.0 assists per game for 4A-1 Conference champs.

Seth Rosenfield;Shiloh Christian;Sr.;6-4

Averaged 23.1 points and 6.2 rebounds for 4A-1 East Conference champs.

SECOND TEAM

Ethan Darrough;Ozark;Sr.;6-0

Point guard and team leader for 23-9 4A-4 champs. Averaged 7.7 points, 4.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Matt Melton;Lavaca;Sr.;6-2

Averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game for 2A semifinalist team.

Brayden Ross;Charleston;Sr.;6-4

Averaged 23.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for 3A-1 West Conference tri-champions.

Elijah Royce;Bergman;Jr;6-4

Averaged 16.4 points, 11 rebounds for 32-9 team. Recorded 22 double-doubles and 1 triple-double.

Briley Saunier;Valley Springs;Sr.;5-10

Averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game for 36-4 3A semifinalists.

Class 4A

Sam Smith Arkadelphia

Max Chenault Bauxite

Tedrick Washington Blytheville

Garrett Waddill Clarksville

Jake Sanders eStem

Logan Landwehr Farmington

Derrian Ford Magnolia

Colby Garland Magnolia

Dakovon Blackmon Malvern

Caleb Allen Mills

Jakari Livingston Mills

Joseph Pinion Morrilton

Devonte Witherspoon Nashville

Ethan Darrough Ozark

Noah Peterson Pea Ridge

Wes Wales Pea Ridge

Kade Mainhart Pottsville

EJ Anderson Pulaski Academy

Seth Rosenfeld Shiloh Christian

Marvion Scott Star City

CJ Delancy Valley View

Travis Graf Valley View

Riley Felkins Jonesboro Westside

Class 3A

Lamar Wilkerson Ashdown

Mike Dunegan Atkins

Eli Roberson Atkins

Stetson Smithson Bald Knob

Hudson Likens Baptist Prep

Elijah Royce Bergman

Collier Robertson Bismarck

Trenton Bell Cave City

Brock Hendrix Central Ark. Christian

Brayden Ross Charleston

Kragen Bradley Clinton

Travaras Shead Drew Central

Chris Harris Dumas

Paxton Barnett Elkins

Kain Johnson Elkins

Che Smith Episcopal Collegiate

Colton McMullin Fountain Lake

Andrew Overton Fountain Lake

Jordan Lewis Gosnell

Connor McGaha Harding Academy

Malachi Azmour Lake Village

Daley Belew Manila

Matt Gregg Marshall

Braxtyn McCuien Mayflower

Cory Hill Prescott

Jacåobi Nolen Prescott

Shamer Jones Rivercrest

Ben Turner Trumann

Ben Keton Tuckerman

Isaac Ragland Valley Springs

Payton Brown Waldron

Class 2A

Damian Bohlman Acorn

Jesse Kinard Buffalo Island Central

Brandon Bonner Clarendon

Ryan Brown Cutter Morning Star

Aaron Stokes Dierks

Kevante Davis England

Tamarous Dodson England

Matthew Lester Eureka Springs

Lance May Flippin

Jahaad Junior Hampton

Caleb Profit Hector

Isaac Stanek Hector

Matt Melton Lavaca

Kelvin Bowers Marianna

Terran Williams Marianna

Layton Hennings Melbourne

Tramillion Henderson Murfreesboro

Luke Roland Pangburn

Terrell Malone Parkers Chapel

Zach Shue Quitman

Max Ford Rector

Ethan Jones White County Central

Cole Reynolds Woodlawn

David Derosier Yellville-Summit

Class 1A

AJ Taylor Bradley

Jacob Grady Bradford

Lamont Swanigan Brinkley

Connor Kincannon Caddo Hills

Braxton Cousins Concord

Mitchell Keezer County Line

Avery Young Deer

Zamar Ford Dermott

Jashon Smith Future School-FS

Colton Rose Hillcrest

Justus Cooper Izard County

Coby Everett Izard County

Caleb Faulkner Izard County

Caleb Carter Jasper

Cameron Gaither Kirby

Brody Tucker Kirby

Alex Mero Mammoth Spring

DeAndra Arnold Marvell

Wesley Booker Mount Våernon-Enola

Keyonte Coleman Nevada

Chase Ammons The New School

Garrett Finnicum Ridgefield Christian

Cesar Rodriguez Scranton

Travis Gentry Greers Ferry WS

Sports on 03/26/2020

Print Headline: Ragland, Valley Springs enjoy stellar season

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