Rowsey not returning to RCHS

RCHS students Jalyn Brown, a senior, Andrew Rowsey, a junior, and Jaron Cress, a senior, play around on the school’s basketball court. Photo by Katie Shelor.

By Katie Shelor

Junior point guard Andrew Rowsey, coming off a 34 point performance in the Group AA
Division 3 state semifinals, tells the Rockbridge Report that he will not
return to Rockbridge County High School next year.

The Wildcats’ leading scorer says he will spend his senior year at a private school, trying to hone his basketball skills and better his chances of playing Division I basketball. He has not yet decided which private school he will attend.

“He’s determined to play college basketball and he’s got a work ethic second to
none,” said RCHS Head Coach Darrell Plogger. “He knows how to get there and he’s going to get there.”

Rowsey says he is 100 percent certain he will be changing schools, but Plogger says he
thinks Rowsey is still on the fence. Plogger says if Rowsey returns, the team will have another shot at going to the state tournament, but without him, younger players will have to step up
and take on bigger roles for the team.

“If leaving means he can get more offers and get to a place where he wants to spend
his college career, I’m all for it,” said Plogger.  “I want what’s best for Andrew.”

Rowsey was named Blue Ridge District Player of the Year and Region Three Player of the
Year this season.  His strong ball-handling abilities and shooting skills also led the ‘Cats to their first time in the VHSL state semifinals.

In addition to Rowsey, Plogger is losing six seniors on the team, leaving him with
only six returning players.  He says all of his seniors have been instrumental to the team’s success this season.

“This kind of group is not going to come along every year or every other year,” Plogger said.  He expects that although
the team dynamic won’t be exactly the same next year, the RCHS basketball program will continue to build on this year’s success.

Seniors Joe Jones, Javon Cress and Jalyn Brown agree that the key to the ‘Cats success this season was their unmatched team chemistry.
The 13 players entered high school all around the same time and have been playing together for the last four years.

Next year, Jones plans to go to the University of Virginia, Brown will attend West Virginia University, and the other four are still undecided.  Cress received First Team All-Region honors
this year.  He and Rowsey were both named First Team All-District, and Brown received honorable mention for the All-Region team.

Plogger says he thinks Brown, Cress and Rowsey will all play college basketball.

Plogger is pleased with the way the season turned out. He says from now on, he thinks people will see Rockbridge County as a force to be reckoned with.

His goal, he says, was to “bring Rockbridge County to the top, and I kind of feel like that mission has been completed.” As for the future, he says, “When we get back in the gym, we’ve got to
get better.”

Although they finished the season on a high note, the boys say they are disappointed that their season is over.

“Our goal was to win the state championship, not come up short,” said Cress.

“Now we don’t have anything to do after school,” said Rowsey.

“I just go home after school, watch TV and think about basketball,” said Brown.

Still, the departing players agree that this season was full of excitement for them and they are looking forward to what the future holds.

Jones said, “It was a really cool way to go out after four years.”  Brown chimed in, “It was definitely a life-changing experience for me.”