Tidewater Academy starts with strength

Published 8:33 am Friday, December 11, 2009

WAKEFIELD—The Tidewater Academy boys’ basketball program has had a tradition of strength. The 2009-10 squad is poised to keep that tradition alive.

Last year, Tidewater Academy won the Virginia Commonwealth Conference and was the No. 1 seed in the VISAA Division III state tournament before finally bowing out in the third round. The Warriors have opened the season at 5-0.

Starting for TA are guards Austin Westbrook, Park Parker, and Tommie Starkes, and forwards Casey Rickmond and Will Doyle. Mike Green has also seen time as a starter. Three players, Green, Starkes and Ferley Yerby, are from Petersburg. Doyle transferred in after playing for Southampton last season and Southampton Academy two years ago.

Martin Hellyer, a sixth man off the bench, has been sidelined with a knee injury and may or may not be able to play this year.

The Warriors run a motion offense called the “flex.” The team will run several different types of zone defense.

Longtime head coach Walter Westbrook said he hopes the team can overcome a height disadvantage, especially against schools like Steward School and Southampton Academy.

“I just hope our quickness negates the height,” he said.