Givens, Pan­thers hope last year’s grow­ing pains turn into wins

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

The pas­sion for coach­ing still burns for Char­lie Givens Sr.

The long­time Per­ryville boys’ bas­ket­ball head coach, who cap­tured his 400th ca­reer coach­ing vic­tory last win­ter, is cel­e­brat­ing his 41st sea­son on the side­lines. He re­turns fol­low­ing one of the finest coach­ing cam­paigns of his ca­reer, in which he earned All-County Coach of the Year honors after lead­ing a youth­ful Pan­thers squad with only one re­turn­ing starter to a 13-9 record and a win over ri­val Bo­hemia Manor in the open­ing round of the 1A North Re­gion Sec­tion I play­offs.

This year, Givens will guide a team hop­ing to turn last year’s grow­ing pains into more vic­to­ries. Re­turn­ing se­nior guards Nick Roberts and Do­minic Gugliotta (2016 hon­or­able men­tion re­cip­i­ent) join re­turn­ing ju­nior center Tre­shawn Warren to give the Pan­thers a vet­eran pres­ence in the lineup.

“The ma­ture kids who played last year are back. It’s just a mat­ter of get­ting the other kids, some new­com­ers, to mesh with them. That’s go­ing to be a dif­fi­culty early but hope­fully it will be bet­ter near the end,” Givens said. “There may be some grow­ing pains but hope­fully not as much [as last year].”

Warren, who emerged in the sec­ond half last year to rank sev­enth in the UCBAC in re­bounds per game (7.1) and 10th in blocked shots per game (1.1), gives Per­ryville a lengthy for­ward in the paint. He suits up after com­pet­ing on the Pan­thers foot­ball team as an of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive line­man.

“Well, hope­fully he’ll progress from where he was last year. I know he played foot­ball so that should be a bet­ter ben­e­fit to him as it may make him a lit­tle bit more ag­gres­sive un­der the bas­ket,” Givens said. “We have high ex­pec­ta­tions for him to an­chor the of­fense.”

Gugliotta and Roberts will also look to take the next step, as well.

“They drive the ball to the bas­ket, they shoot well. We re­ally look for them to take [the reins] of the pro­gram,” Givens said.

Ju­nior guard Dennis John­son, who started six games last year, will likely open the sea­son in the start­ing lineup, while Givens has pegged ju­nior guard Duane An­der­son as a key new­comer. Se­nior for­ward Wil­liard Hughes and ju­nior guard Dayvon Montz both re­turn to var­sity, as well, after suf­fer­ing in­juries last sea­son.

Givens will also look to ju­nior guards Billy Boyer, Caleb Robin­son and Austin Crouch to con­trib­ute after call­ing the thre play­ers up from JV.

While he hopes to see an im­prove­ment from his team’s fourth-place fin­ish in the Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion last win­ter, Givens’ goal isn’t nec­es­sar­ily to win the lower di­vi­sion.

“The goal is to have a good sea­son and to win as many games as you can,” Givens said. “With that, you hope you can win [the Susque­hanna].”

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Se­nior guard Do­minic Gugliotta, right, re­turns for the Per­ryville boys’ bas­ket­ball team after earn­ing hon­or­able men­tion honors last sea­son.

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