Driving through West Virginia in the pitch dark on US-52 with no cell phone service for the final 30 minutes of the journey, I began to wonder if I’d ever actually make it to Tolsia High School. I was relieved when I finally arrived at a school with a parking lot filled to capacity. Once inside, the gym was completely packed with wild Tolsia students, die hard University of Kentucky fans, and a DJ blasting music. I could hardly believe that after driving about an hour into what seemed like nothingness I was suddenly in a gym filled with energy and excitement.
The fans at Tolsia High School treated Huntington Prep as their own, making it feel like a Huntington home game. Huntington’s Xavier Rathan Mayes described the crowd like this, “It was really special to be able to have a game that was like a home game for us. The fans were great, and they really supported us.” Huntington took an early lead against the physical WVU Parkersburg squad and never looked back.
The charge was led by Xavier Rathan Mayes’ ability to create for himself and others. “I was just taking what the defense gave me. Being aggressive involves guys double teaming me, so that made it easier to find open teammates and they finished around the rim,” said Rathan Mayes. Known for his ability to score the ball, Xavier showed that he could also distribute as well as anyone we’ve seen this season.
One of Xavier’s favorite targets was teammate and close friend, Andrew Wiggins. Xavier Rathan Mayes explained his effort to get the ball to Wiggins as follows, “When he’s playing at a high level it brings everybody’s game up, so I look to get him the ball early and often. I know him so well that I can get him the ball in spots that I know he’s comfortable in. So I definitely try to get him the ball as often as possible.” Florida State fans are no doubt hoping that the bond between Xavier Rathan Mayes and Wiggins will help bring the #1 player in the country to FSU next season.