Patton High 2020 graduate Jackson Vance will call Montreat College home for the next four years after recently signing with the NAIA program to continue playing basketball.
Vance attended Freedom as a freshman and sophomore, where he was a key member of two Patriots’ JV conference title squads in the sport. At Patton as a junior and senior, Vance excelled in both basketball and football en route to the PHS male athlete of the year award he claimed last month.
He was named all-county and all-conference twice on the hardwood, including first-team all-county this past season to go with his all-district selection. Vance was also named Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference tournament MVP as his Panthers collected their first-ever tourney title by rallying past top-seeded Hibriten in overtime.
He also helped Patton to its first two state playoff road wins in the sport, one apiece coming in each of the last two seasons. In the 2018-19 season, Vance drilled six 3-pointers and scored 23 points as the Panthers went to Valdese and upset Draughn in round one.
This past season in the NCHSAA 2A playoff opener at Madison, Vance scored a team-high 20 points and also led Patton with eight assists, adding four rebounds in a narrow triumph.
He averaged 12.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg and 1.4 spg as a senior after averages of 11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 2.6 apg as a junior.
Those statistics don’t fully measure Vance’s impact on the Panthers, however, 10th-year head coach Dennis Brittain said.
“He’s a very versatile player,” Brittain said. “He was so important for us because he can shoot it plus get to the rim, but he also always drew the defensive assignment on one of our opponents’ best players too.
“He’s that kid who is one of the first ones to practice and then you have to run him out of the gym afterward. He always had a ball in his hand working to get better. And he’s very coachable too. At the end of last season, he was playing as well as he ever has and was one of the keys to us winning the conference championship.”
In football, Vance was all-conference and second-team all-county last fall as a senior running back and defensive back when he totaled 427 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns with 56 solo tackles (two for loss) and a fumble recovery
Vance is the latest in a long line from Burke County to join Montreat. Freedom grads Jeron Hemphill and Austin Butler recently wrapped up their careers there, with Butler being named Appalachian Athletic Conference player of the year and an NAIA Division II All-American as he helped guide the Cavaliers to a 24-9 record and their second straight AAC runner-up finish and corresponding NAIA Division II Tournament berth.
Freedom grads Tekwan Price and Tobias Kanipe have played JV ball at Montreat over the last few years, and Montreat welcomes in transfer Alex Lineberger (Freedom H.S.; Caldwell CC&TI) this offseason as well.
“I’m super excited for Jackson,” Brittain said. “He just loves the sport, and it’s very important to him. For him to go on and play four more years, I think he’ll be an asset for Montreat for sure. He’s going to do whatever it takes to help the team win. And he’ll be close enough I’ll be able to go watch him play some, which I always love to do.”
Paul Schenkel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-432-8950.
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