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Big East Salutes Central Stars

RED OAK -- The three-mile stretch between Nash Central and Northern Nash featured an amazing array of basketball skills during the 2016-17 season.

In boys action, Northern Nash won the Big East Conference regular season championship and ended up making its best run in the postseason since 1995 by making the quarterfinals of the Class 3-A State Playoffs.

Just across US 64, Nash Central was a winner in the Big East Conference tournament in both boys and girls in back-to-back fashion.

NCHS' girls, coached by Terri Cash, would end up reaching the third round of the playoffs, while the boys also made it to the postseason under Renny Taylor -- in addition to earning conference tournament supremacy.

It was no surprise that both Central and Northern Nash were well-represented in the annual All-Big East Conference Basketball Teams.

Northern Nash's Henry Drake, who guided his Fighting Knights through their historic run, was tabbed as the Big East Boys Coach of the Year.

Nash Central's Cash shared Girls Coach of the Year honors with Rocky Mount's Pam Gainey, whose Lady Gryphons were the conference regular season title holders.

The Lady Bulldogs' third-round finish marked the second straight year that Cash's club has reached that plateau.

Central's Montre' Cash -- Terri's son -- closed out his prolific career by being tabbed as the Big East Boys Player of the Year.

The senior point guard averaged 20.6 points, five assists and 2.9 steals per game. Cash's season high came when he delivered 34 points as part of a home triumph against rival Rocky Mount.

Montre' Cash is currently entertaining several offers to continue his career on the collegiate level.

Michaela Nelms, another NCHS senior, was the pick as the Big East Girls Player of the Year.

Also a state champion runner in track and field, Nelms overcame a serious knee injury earlier in her career to compete at an elite level in two sports for Central.

During her senior hoops campaign, Nelms tallied 18.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.2 steals per outing while helping the Lady Bulldogs finish 18-9 overall.

Nelms is still undecided about her future as she has an offer to play basketball at the College of Central Florida -- but is also drawing plenty of interest to run track on the Division I level.

Nash Central's Myia Spivey, a four-year starter, also made the Girls All-Big East Team, while sophomore guard Kayla Mitchell was an honorable mention selection.

In addition to Montre' Cash, Nash Central's boys were also represented by Elijah Cole (All-Big East) and Dominick Dixon (honorable mention).

Drake was joined on the All-Big East roster by Fighting Knights Darius Spragley, Raymond Bullock, Undray Cherry and Devontae Wiggins (honorable mention).
Lady Knights on the list were all-league pick Kristian Johnson and honorable mention selection Kylar Wiggins.

Both of those players were freshmen for Coach Grover Battle's young squad.

Southern Nash's boys saw scoring machine Tyler Wilson make all-conference, while teammate Tavarus Brown made the honorable mention roster.

Jessy Lucas made the prestigious list from Southern Nash's girls, and Aaliyah Newkirk was an honorable mention pick.

Pictured (Above): ALL-AROUND EXCELLENCE. Nash Central High School's Michaela Nelms (left) has been outstanding in basketball and track and field during her career. The senior has been selected as the Big East Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the 2016-17 campaign. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)

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