Crews three-time all-county MVP

  • Jacob Crews in action at state for the Hilliard Flashes. The 6-foot-7 guard is the all-county boys basketball team’s most valuable player for the third year in a row. Brian LaCross/special
    Jacob Crews in action at state for the Hilliard Flashes. The 6-foot-7 guard is the all-county boys basketball team’s most valuable player for the third year in a row. Brian LaCross/special

The Hilliard Flashes dominated the basketball court in 2019-20, led by their 6-foot-7 shooting guard, Jacob Crews, who is now a three-time All-Nassau County Basketball Team MVP.

Crews scored 2,500 career points and owns Hilliard’s single-game record of 53 points. He was named to the All-First Coast First Team twice and was on the all-county team roster all four years of high school.

He is a proven leader on the court, known consistently for being the first player ready for practice and the last to leave. His dedication and his athletic traits were well-noticed by college scouts. He ultimately committed to the University of North Florida, a Division I program.

Crews and his teammates at Hilliard set a state championship goal prior to the season and came out strong, winning 10 games before their first loss, which came at a tournament in Orlando. A five-point loss followed against Charlton County in early January. But the Flashes got back on the winning streak again, losing just three more games.

They fell to West Nassau by five points in their final home game after previously defeating the Warriors by four points in their second game of the season. The Flashes fell to Class 4A Suwannee by 16 points to close the season. 

During playoffs, Hilliard defeated Fort White 68-36 and Trenton 78-50 to win the district championship. They then outscored Jefferson County 77-65 and Madison County 47-36 to win the regional championship.

The Final Four battle began against Vernon, a team that bested the Flashes when they last battled in the Final Four in 1979. Hilliard avenged that loss, dominating 80-59 to face Hawthorne in the state final.

But a technical foul with less than a minute left on the clock sealed the Flashes’ fate as the Hornets won the state title 42-38.

The 2020-21 season will look a little different in Hilliard, as Crews and fellow seniors Shemar Melton, Tre Rush, Jelan Jones, Cole Tilley, Gavin Wilson, Javion Jones, Major Sharpe and Dillon Hbaba graduated, leaving just three returners on the team — Tywuan Lee, Jaylen Jordan and Lincoln Seldomridge.

The 2019-20 All-Nassau County Team includes:

• Jacob Crews, senior shooting guard, Hilliard. This is Crews’ third all-county MVP award and his fourth appearance on the team. Crews led his team to second in the state in Class 1A basketball. He averaged 22.3 points per game, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, two steals and 2.1 blocks per game. He scored 557 points this season, including 62 three-point shots, and shot 84 percent from the free-throw line. Crews plays for the Ospreys at the University of North Florida.

• Dallan “Deebo” Coleman, junior point guard, West Nas-sau. Coleman led the Warriors with 25.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.9 steals per game. He scored 670 points this season, including 97 three-point shots and shot 73 percent from the free-throw line. This is his third appearance on the all-county team, sharing MVP honors in 2019.

• Ryan Anderson, junior guard, Fernandina Beach. The Pirate averaged 7.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and a steal per game last season.

• Shemar Melton, senior point guard, Hilliard. Melton scored 317 points for the Flashes and shot 50 percent from the free-throw line. He averaged 12.7 points per game, 6.2 rebound, 5.7 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks. This is his second appearance on the all-county team. Melton will play for the Hawks at South Georgia State College.

• Justin Hicks, junior point guard, West Nassau. He averaged 13.7 points per game and 6.5 rebounds with 4 assists and 2.4 steals. He scored 357 points for the Warriors, including 39 three-point shots and shot 60 percent at the free-throw line.

• Zack Drawdy, freshman forward, Yulee. He averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game for the Hornets in his first season. He had 17 blocks and averaged 37 percent from field goal range and 50 percent from the free-throw line.

• Jelan Jones, senior forward, Hilliard. Jones averaged 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 0.9 assists and 4.5 points per game. He shot a 68 percent average at the free-throw line.

Honorable mention: Tre Rush, Jaylen Jordan, Javion Jones, Dillon Hbaba, Hilliard; Garrett Hursey, Jamaree Spikes, West Nassau; Marcell White, Trey Davis and Jacob Cartrette, Yulee; Lukas Johns, Cam Miller, Jake Jackson and Dillon Coe, Fernandina Beach.

• Basnight returns to top all-county girls team

Cartaleyiah Basnight is making her second appearance on the 2019-20 All-Nassau County Girls Basketball Team. As a senior guard for Fernandina Beach High School last winter, she averaged 12.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals to lead the Lady Pirates in scoring and assists. She is the season’s most valuable player.

“Cartaleyiah was one of the most dedicated players I’ve had the honor of coaching and knowing,” said Karri Young, head coach at FBHS. “She pushed through injuries this season and still won MVP. She encouraged her underclassmen and was a great example of who to be on and off the court.”

Basnight led the Lady Pirates with 16 points and eight rebounds in the district semifinal matchup with Yulee in February. FBHS edged Yulee 39-37 to capture its seventh win in 11 games. The Lady Pirates lost to host Raines in the semifinal game.

In her junior season, Basnight averaged 13.3 points and 8.5 rebounds a game for the Lady Pirates and was named to the all-county team for her efforts.

This season she is joined on the team by teammate Riley Webber.

The All-Nassau County Girls Basketball Team includes:

• Cartaleyiah Basnight, senior point guard, Fernandina Beach. Basnight returns to the all-county girls basketball team. This year as the season’s most valuable player. She averaged 12.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game for the Lady Pirates in her final year.

• Amani Butler, junior point guard, Yulee. She averaged 11 points per game for the Lady Hornets.

• Anna O’Shields, junior power forward, West Nassau. O’Shields averaged 9.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds while scoring 243 points. She also averaged 1.5 steals and one block per game.

• Kaleigh Clay, junior point guard, West Nassau. Clay averaged 11.2 points per game with 32 three-point shots while earning 279 points for the Lady Warriors. She had 1.8 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals. She shot a 66 percent average from the free-throw line. This is Clay’s second appearance on the all-county team.

• Victoria Smith, senior forward, Hilliard. Smith averaged 10 points per game and eight offensive rebounds. She shot 60 percent from the free-throw line.

• Amaya Williams, senior point guard, Hilliard. Williams averaged eight points, two rebounds and three steals per game.

• Riley Webber, junior guard, Fernandina Beach. Webber averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

Honorable mention: Katelin Franklin, Destin Reliford, Sarah Smith, Hilliard; Jisela West, Kendell Poppell, Trinity Armstrong, Emily Lee, West Nassau; Ashley Hall, Yulee; Zada Freeman, Fernandina Beach.