Givens, Panthers hope last year’s growing pains turn into wins
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].”
Senior guard Dominic Gugliotta, right, returns for the Perryville boys’ basketball team after earning honorable mention honors last season.