Posted On: 03/10/18 7:36 AM
In an unprecedented, but in no way surprising turn of events, the Class 2 state championship between Gate City of Southwest VA and defending state champions Robert E. Lee of Staunton sold out the Siegel Center in Richmond, VA. So much that they even started to turn away media right after the game started.
The game featured viral sensation Mac McClung, who recently had surpassed Allen Iverson’s single season scoring record and had been selling out gyms across Virginia. But it wasn’t going to be an easy one, as Lee is one of the most prestigious programs in the state, and featured their own star in 6’8” ODU commit Jarvis Vaughan.
The game got off to a great start, as Lee went inside to Vaughan early and Gate City played to their strengths as they got out and ran in transition. After McClung banked in a three, Gate City took a 23-17 lead after the first. The second quarter was extremely competitive, as Lee battled back and took the lead with just over five minutes remaining. However, Gate City got hot, and they went on an 11-0 run to end the quarter, and went into halftime with a 10 point lead 39-29.
In the second half, it was all the Gate City show. While Lee kept the game close after junior Jalen Henderson banked in a half court shot to end the third quarter, the Blue Devils started to pull away late. The crowd got their moneys worth, as McClung threw down some of the big time dunks that made him a viral sensation. He ended the game with an eye popping 47 points, 25 of them coming in the first half, and his wing man Zac Ervin pitched in 26 points as Gate City cruised to their first state championship 80-65.
Here’s some takeaways from the game.
Mac McClung Makes History, Again and Again
A few weeks ago, McClung beat Allen Iverson’s single season scoring record which stood at 982 points, and after scoring 47 points in the state championship he ended his senior season with a ridiculous 1,153 points. But after his performance, that wasn’t the only state record that he ended the day with. He ends his high school career with 2,801 points, 30 more than current Radford junior Caleb Tanner, and he also broke JJ Redick’s state championship scoring record of 46 points.
So the question is, where does McClung’s senior season rank among the best in Virginia high school history? The Georgetown commit certainly took not only the state, but the country, by storm, and he backed it up at every possible turn. While the debate as to whether he’ll go down as one of the greatest in VA history will be up for debate, there isn’t much debate that he’s probably the best basketball player in SWVA history, and made the biggest impact on his community.
Jarvis Vaughan’s Double-Double Ends Great Career
Vaughan was visibly upset after the game, which is expected from such a competitive kid who’s only goal was to go out as back-to-back state champs, but he left it all on the floor. Vaughan finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds, battling in the paint on both ends of the floor. He has incredible hands as he made great catches in traffic, he finished around the basket and showed good touch from the free throw line extended. He also showed great tenacity on the glass and he pitched in two blocks and two steals as well.
Zac Ervin Shows He’s Ready to be the Man
While Mac got much of the attention this year, a lot of people saw Ervin on the highlight videos as well and realized that there was more than just one hooper on Gate City. With McClung graduating, the reigns will be handed over to the 6’5” Ervin, and he showed that he’s ready and willing to shoulder the load moving forward. He scored 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the field and he pitched in 8 rebounds on the night. He has good size, can put it on the deck and score from all three levels, making him a lethal option to shoulder the scoring load.
Siegel Center Looked Like Rupp Arena
I’ve been covering the state championships for the last four seasons, and between both public and private school I have never seen an atmosphere like the one I saw last night. Both Lee and Gate City have very loyal fanbases, and despite a two and five hour drive, respectively, they showed up in packs! They both have blue as their school colors, so my joke was that it looked like Rupp Arena at VCU. Throw in that many people around the area wanted to come and see the white kid from Gate City, it was the first time I’ve ever seen the Siegel Center legitimately sold out for anything other than a VCU game.
“This One’s For You Gate City”
With all of his success and stardom on social media, Mac McClung stayed true to his roots and wanted to stay at Gate City despite opportunities to go to bigger programs across the state or area, vowing to bring a state championship back to his home.
After the game, after taking pictures with all the fans, doing multiple interviews, signing autographs, McClung tweeted just one thing, the first thing he’s tweeted since January 26.
Gate City this is for you‼️‼️‼️💍
— mac mcclung (@McclungMac) March 10, 2018
For all the talk about kids transferring high schools too much, it feels truly special to watch a kid like him put on for his hometown of about 2,000 people. Congrats Mac, Zac and all of Gate City!