07/20/08 — Area athletes to play in annual East-West All-Star games

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Area athletes to play in annual East-West All-Star games

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on July 20, 2008 1:32 PM

GREENSBORO -- Three area athletes will get a chance to show off their skills on one of the state's biggest stages this week when they participate in the annual N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-star games.

Eastern Wayne product Brittani Billups will take the court Monday night for the women's basketball game. Rosewood standout Holt Rains and James Kenan gridder Stedman Mathis will suit up for the East football squad on Wednesday.

Rains' invitation is a result of season-long, hard work.

"When I got hired and I met Holt last summer, the first thing I thought was about working him into a tight end," said Rosewood head football coach Robert Britt. "He had the prototypical tight end body at six foot five, 230 pounds."

The defensive standout, who had already made a name for himself as a prolific tackler, accepted the challenge of playing offense as a senior.

"We knew that if he could catch at all he would be a good fit," said Britt. "And as it turned out he had very good hands and he caught pretty much anything near him."

In an Eagle offense which boasted 1,000-yard passer Sean Cornman, Rains emerged the team's top receiver. Rains' stellar senior campaign helped him earn a scholarship to Catawba College.

Mathis' prep career culminated with a state championship.

"Stedman is a kid that led by example on our team, even more so last season," said Tiger assistant coach John Avent. "In the weight room, on the field at practice and during games ... he would do whatever we needed him to do."

With physical attributes that give him the ability to standout among any competition, Mathis made his mark on both the offensive and defensive squads at James Kenan.

"We knew we needed to have him at running back, and on defense he was so strong and so fast that it was easy to find a spot for him," said Avent. "We asked him to play outside linebacker and he did, then we moved him inside last year and he even worked out at safety some when we asked him to."

Kicking off the 60th edition of the East-West showdown will be the women's basketball game at 6 p.m. Monday. At the center of that matchup will be Brittani Billups.

After a senior season that rocketed her name to the top of the recruiting list, Billups will continue her career at Division I member Longwood (Va.) University.

The crafty scorer averaged 27.7 points per game for the Warriors last season, and also showed off an unmatched tenacity on the glass by grabbing 14.7 rebounds per outing.

Billups was named the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association female player of the year. She helped lead Eastern Wayne to its first-ever Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament championship.

A scholastic tradition, the East-West All-star games began in 1949 as the brainchild of high school coach Bob Jamieson. The basketball games will be played at the Greensboro Coliseum. The football game will be played at the 11,500-seat Jamieson Stadium at Grimsley High School.