Basketball season begins

Published 12:33 pm Saturday, November 30, 2013

COURTLAND—Most of the Western Tidewater boy’s basketball teams are gearing up to begin their seasons this upcoming week.

On Dec. 2, Southampton High School tips off in Charles City. Windsor begins its season on Dec. 3 at Nandua.

For Franklin, the start of the season depends on when the football season ends, with the Broncos football team still in a playoff run. Many student athletes play for both teams.

For the local academies, Tidewater got started early and next tips off at home against Nansemond-Suffolk. Southampton tips off Dec. 2 at Ridgecroft High School. Isle of Wight has already played one game, a loss to Brunswick Academy on Nov. 26. The Chargers face Portsmouth Christian on Dec. 3 next.


Southampton Indians

Head Coach Sharone Bailey, who’s in his first year, is looking to get the Indians back on the map.

“We need to get them to understand what we are doing,” he said. “We need to get the guys motivated. We also need to get them used to the competition in the conference.

“But our guys are bright, they want to learn and they get better every day.”

Bailey said he’s looking for some big things out of Southampton Academy transfer Russell Ballance, a junior shooting guard.

“I look for him to step up and be a leader,” he said.

The Indians have two 6’4 guys on the inside, Junior Cedric Parham and senior Marqui Eaton.

“I’m looking for them to solidify the middle for us and be a defensive presence,” he said.

Junior Shane Agunzo, who was the leader of the JV squad last year, is stepping up to the varsity team to play some with junior Daron Lundy at forward and guard.

“I’m looking for them to get out on the break and run the floor,” Bailey said.

At the point guard position, he’s looking at LaSale Beale and Joshua Jones.

Bailey said he’s watching for a few things out of game one.

“We’re going to put it all together, see who is going to step up to be the leader,” he said. “We’ll see who steps up and gets the job done.”

He is starting the season off facing his former team, the Charles City Panthers.

“It’s going to be an emotional game,” he said.


Windsor Dukes

The Dukes did a lot of work over the offseason, competing against bigger teams in summer and fall camps, said Head Coach Brandon Bossick, who is in his second year at Windsor.

“We did a lot of work in the offseason, and it showed last night,” Bossick said Wednesday. “We had a scrimmage and we won three of the four quarters.

“We are looking for some of our players to step up and do well.”

One player is senior Justice Chapman, who was the leading scoring from last year, playing some small forward and some shooting guard.

Bossick also expects junior center Malcolm Greene to make a mark on the team.

Junior Quentin Winnegan, the point guard, averaged eight assists per game in the fall league, which lacked football players. The fall league consisted of opponents in divisions 4A and above.

Senior Austin McCafkey shot 35 percent from 3-point land this past year, and Bossick expects him to improve.

“We also have a lot of young guys — freshmen and sophomores stepping up,” he said. “I could highlight the whole team. They are all stepping up. The whole team has really worked in the offseason. We’re trying to turn the program around, and I’m very proud with their work.”

Bossick said the team will support a few charities this year, including Isle of Wight Make a Wish, and there will be a clothing drive at its games.


Franklin Broncos

Head Coach Danny Dillon said the Broncos are excited about getting started, once the football team finishes up.

“With our new district, we’ve got a tough road ahead of us,” he said. “We are in a rebuilding phase.

“We are going to be a young team, but we have most of our guys back from last season, and we are adding a freshman.”

He said the team will be small, but quick, so he’s hoping to use that speed.

“We look to press a lot and play some man to man, as far as defense,” he said. “Because we are small, we are hoping to get up and down the court as fast as possible, and get the guys gelling.”

“Our future is super bright. We will learn from a lot of mistakes from last year.”

Junior Quintin Lowe will play the point guard. Marcus Stephens, who led the team in scoring last year, will play shooting guard. Corey Porter, who is in his second year of playing basketball, will play some at both forward positions. Dominique Gainey and Terry Warren will both play some at the power forward and center positions.

Dillon said he is expecting freshman Fred Lassiter to contribute. Lassiter will play a little of every position.

“He’s one of the most impressive freshmen that I’ve coached,” he said. “I coached his brother, and he ended up 6’7. Fred has a gift. I’m going to ride him over the next four years.”

The start date of Franklin’s season is still in fluctuation, due to the football team making a postseason run.


Southampton AcademyRaiders

Second-year Head Coach Jim Tribbett returns four of his starters from the previous year.

“We have 87 percent of our offense coming back,” he said. “Obviously, the four returning are our core players, in addition to three or four more.”

Those players are Matt Rose, junior center, Tonee Hill, senior guard/wing forward, Cam Hines, senior guard/wing forward, and Johnny Tribbett, senior point guard. Johnny is Coach Tribbett’s son.

Hill and Hines were all-conference players. Hill averaged more than 18 points a game, and Hines more than 14.

“That is nice to have those two scorers returning,” he said. “We’re off to a good season, just with practice. We’ve had eight practices, and they’ve been very spirited, very competitive.”

Currently, Tribbett said he is looking for who will step up and be the final starter and be the first two off the bench.

He said junior Brynner Porter, who is a three-point shooter, junior Paul Parker, who is a defensive specialist, and sophomore Harrison Pope could be those three players.

“It is up to them, which one starts, and which ones come off the bench,” he said. “Some times it will depend on the match ups.”

Southampton Academy will start off its season in a tournament in Ahoskie.


Tidewater Academy

Head Coach Walter Westbrook said with only nine total players, that he expects this to be something of a rebuilding year for the Warriors.

“I have four returning players,” he said. “Hopefully they are going to provide good leadership and guidance for our newer players.

“This is definitely a rebuilding year for us. We’ve had a couple of really good seasons over the last 4 to 5 years. We’re looking to continue that, but this is a young and inexperienced team.”

The four returning players are senior Danny McKenney, a 5’10 point guard, senior Reid Holdsworth, who is 6’, and junior 6’2 forwards Elante Drew and Payton Holdsworth.

“So far through practices and a few games they are setting good examples. They are good mentors, and have provided outstanding leadership.”

Tidewater Academy has started off the season 3-0, and next plays Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in Wakefield.


Isle of Wight Academy

The team is currently 0-1, having lost to Brunswick Academy 46-37. They take on Portsmouth Christian at home Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“We lost all five starters from last year’s team, so we are looking for our seniors to take over leadership roles on this year’s group,” said Coach Benjamin Vaughan. “We’ve got two seniors out, Gage Rogers and Brandon Saxby. They were injured in the shoulders late in the football season. Gage played a few minutes the other day, and Saxby will be out for another week.

“The seniors we’re going to depend on are Justice Fuller, Josh Darden and Jonathan Lilley,” he continued.

The coach said he also hopes to get help from the JV team, specifically Bryce Casey, a sophomore at 6’3 and the JV’s most valuable player, and junior Adam Webb, a 6’7, center up from the JV.

“We hope our new players will gain experience in a hurry,” Vaughan said. “And I feel like we have a chance to develop into a good team, but will have to be patient until they gain game exposure.”